Published by Jennifer Acres on November 25th 2016
Dakota Ames had everything under control, or so she thought. Ever since her father's accident on duty as a fireman, she promised herself she would always have a plan. Life couldn't throw her a curve anymore. That is until her best friend Alex enlisted in the Navy. This couldn't happen. It wasn't part of her plan. She hadn't even worked up the nerve to tell him she loved him. Alex was wrong to go and she was going to prove it. But when she meets Will, one of Alex's fellow recruits, she finds that things aren't always so simple.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion of the book.
I quite enjoyed reading about Dakota and Will in ON THE WAY TO SIMPLE. I thought that there were a lot of good aspects to the story and some things I could have done without but overall I enjoyed it. If Dani hadn’t already read it, I would suggest she pick it up next. Alas, I guess I will give my mom my copy so she can read it.
I really liked Dakota. She tried to plan for everything and was very much trying to keep control. I liked that she had such high expectations for herself and everyone else around her but some of those were swept away when she met Will. I definitely think that she was still herself but she definitely became a better version of herself because of meeting Will. I thought Dakota was a really well fleshed out and rounded character. She had interests, passions, and was dedicated to her life and school work and that was really nice to see. I thought her relationships mostly felt real but I thought some of the issues she had with people were a bit superficial and not explained beyond the surface and could have used a bit more depth. I would have liked her to make a decision and stick to it rather than flipflopping on some things. She was portrayed as this strong, decisive, stubborn person but I felt like sometimes that wasn’t always the case. Also, can we not with the virgin thing anymore? That’s really played out.
I adored Will. He was so kind and willing to listen and treated everyone with respect and kindness. He was genuinely a nice guy and that made me really happy. It made me really sad when View Spoiler »HE FUCKING DIED « Hide Spoiler. I felt like his arc was meant to serve a separate purpose than what he should have been given and it was a little meh to me (that was really vague because spoilers). I think that he was a good character and a great love interest for this one. I really enjoyed having him in this one.
The other characters were all a bit meh. Kaylee was basically Dakota but more of a hopeless romantic, we barely saw her interact with Daniel and their relationship evolved SO quickly that I felt like I got mental whiplash. They went from hooking up to married with kids in basically the blink of an eye. I would have liked that to be fleshed out a bit more so I could be invested in their relationship just as much as with Dakota and Will. For the OGLI, Alex was a bore. I didn’t care about him and his problems and the journal entries he wrote just made me dislike him more tbh. I think the problem is you are constantly comparing him to Will when you read them and about him which means he’s a -10 to Will’s 1000000000. But alas. I think the secondary characters needed more screentime and more agency.
There is a quote on page 141 where Dakota offhandedly refers to her dad, who is in a wheelchair, as broken, which is not okay. Just because someone is in a wheelchair does not make them into a lesser being. I thought the rest of the interactions with him and dealing with his wheelchair were alright but it would have been nice to see more than JUST that when we saw him. I understand that for Dakota that is all she saw because of the traumatic aspects of it, but the reader should have seen him as more than The Wheelchair and I felt like that wasn’t necessarily the case. He was a great father and very supportive but I felt like that was overshadowed.
I had some issues with this one, including some ableist terms and a big spoiler thing, but I did enjoy my reading of it as well. It was quick and easy and the perfect book to get me back into reading after a semester from hell at grad school. If you are looking for a good book to get into the NA genre, I would suggest this one. It has all the good romance portions without the over the top graphic sex that makes me shy away from NA.