Release Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Series: 2B Trilogy #2
Review Source: Netgalley
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Most people dream about getting out of Sharon, Nebraska, but after three years away, Lauren Barrett is coming home. There are the justifications she gives to everyone else—missing her family, losing her college scholarship. And then there’s the reason Lauren can’t admit to anyone: Rob Conrad, her best friend’s older brother.
Football prowess and jaw-dropping good looks made Rob a star in high school. Out in the real world, his job and his relationships are going nowhere. He can’t pinpoint exactly what’s missing until Lauren comes back to town, bringing old feelings and new dreams with her. But he’s the guy that women love and leave—not the one who makes them think of forever.
Though she’s terrified of opening up, Lauren’s ready to take that chance. Because the only thing more important than figuring out where you truly belong is finding the person you were meant to be with.
I loved Ann Aguirre’s first New Adult romance, I Want It That Way, so I was very excited to read As Long As You Love Me. I also adore the “best friend’s older brother” type of romance, so that automatically made excited for this one. I have to say, the book really lived up to the total swoon I was expecting.
Lauren has loved Rob for forever, basically, and it’s easy to see why. He’s gorgeoussssss and muscular from working with his hands for a living, but -- most importantly -- he is incredibly sweet. I loved getting to know him, and I loved the rapport between him and Lauren. The beginning part of the book was actually my favourite because it’s so much about Lauren letting Rob see himself for who he truly is. It was pretty amazing to see the hero as the one with the vulnerabilities and insecurity, since it’s usually the heroine who’s like that. I loved how Lauren helped Rob’s self esteem, teaching him to ignore how people have treated him (pretty but dumb) and to embrace the smarts and talent that he has.
Before beginning this book I had read on Twitter that Ann tried to subvert the “evil ex” trope. When we first meet Avery I had a hard time believing that. You definitely hate that she’s with Rob and wonder why on earth he would put up with her, etc. But then there’s a turning point, and I don’t think it’s too spoilery to say that Avery becomes this cool character who changes a lot. You get to see her back story and why she’s acted the way she has. It doesn't make her actions right, but it explains them, and you get to know the real her who is pretty amazing.
Even if the general story line fits New Adult and Romance tropes, I like that Ann is telling different kinds of stories. Most NA books are about college away from home, about branching out and moving away. Lauren’s story, on the other hand, is about coming home and moving back with her mom in her small hometown. I really liked that difference, how Lauren wasn't afraid to claim her home and realize that it was where she wanted to be.
There’s another turning point in the book, a twist of sorts, that I think I can talk about in (somewhat) vague terms without spoiling too much. I’m really not a fan of the hero or heroine sacrificing themselves for the good of their partner, by which I mean they push the person away for “their own good”. I was really MEH on this part of the book, which is the only reason it’s not another five star read.
For the most part, though, As Long As You Love Me is just as swoony and lovely as the first book. As I’ve said, Ann is great at taking things and turning them upside down, taking the cliches or tropes of the genre and making them different. She’s amazingly talented at making her characters feel like real people. If you’re looking for an emotionally honest New Adult romance, I would definitely recommend Ann’s books to you.
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