WHAT YOU ALWAYS WANTED
By Kristin Rae
Series: If Only #8
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury (March 29, 2016)
If Only . . . he was the boy she's been dreaming of. The If Only line continues in this fun high school theater-themed romance!
Drama girl Maddie Brooks has always had high standards for guys. But she has yet to find one who can live up to the romantic, classic Hollywood heartthrobs, especially the dreamy song-and-dance man Gene Kelly. When Maddie begins to carpool with Jesse Morales, her new neighbor and star pitcher of the baseball team, she's struck by his wit, good looks, and love for his family--but a guy so into sports is definitely not her style. Then Maddie discovers that Jesse was raised as a dancer and still practices in the community theater dance studio to keep in shape. Perhaps her perfect dream guy exists after all! But when it becomes clear that baseball--not dance--is Jessie's passion, can Maddie find a way to let her dream guy go and appreciate the charms of the amazing guy in front of her?
What an adorable, swoony read! I loved every minute of this book. Kristin Rae has done it again with this one.
What You Always Wanted is the story of Maddie, a high school theater junkie that has been uprooted from Chicago and planted in the rolling hills of Texas. Maddie has always had incredibly high standards for any potential love interest because of her deep love for classical movies of old Hollywood. Maddie starts to wonder if she hasn't found Mr. Wonderful in her next door neighbor, Jesse. They start carpooling shortly after Maddie moves in to town and she discovers that Jesse has a strong theater background, especially in song and dance, just like her dream guy, Gene Kelly. Jesse has given up all things theater to play baseball but Maddie can see that a little bit of Jesse's heart is still with the theater. Can Maddie help Jesse remember why he loved song and dance to begin with AND get the man of her dreams, or can she settle for Mr. Amazing that is right in front of her?
I'm not sure I can say enough good things about this book. I enjoyed it so much that I finished it in one day. Maddie is a headstrong female who knows what she wants and likes and sticks to her guns. I like that in a female MC. Yes, she did come across incredibly selfish and self centered at times, especially when it comes to her home life, but I think that was one of the intentional character flaws. Jesse is one of the most swoon worthy males I have read in a while. He is sweet, charming, thoughtful, and confident - things every girl swoons after.
I really like how part of this story focused on friendship and family. There were several times in the story where Maddie had to rely on her friends to get her through rough patches. I wish more stories would remind readers that friends and family are just as important as a boyfriend/girlfriend.
Overall, this is one of the better If Only... books written. I was so excited when I received a copy to review. I recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a good, fun read. That is why I gave this story 4 out of 5 stars.