ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: American Fairytale by Adriana Herrera


43198519Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: May 20, 2019
Received From: NetGalley

Fairy-tale endings don’t just happen; they have to be fought for.

New York City social worker Camilo Santiago Briggs grew up surrounded by survivors who taught him to never rely on anything you didn’t earn yourself. He’s always dreamed of his own happily-ever-after, but he lives in the real world. Men who seem too good to be true…usually are. And Milo never ever mixes business with pleasure…until the mysterious man he had an unforgettable hookup with turns out to be the wealthy donor behind his agency’s new, next-level funding.

Thomas Hughes built a billion-dollar business from nothing: he knows what he wants and isn’t shy about going after it. When the enthralling stranger who blew his mind at a black-tie gala reappears, Tom’s more than ready to be his Prince Charming. Showering Milo with the very best of everything is how Tom shows his affection.

Trouble is, Milo’s not interested in any of it. The only thing Milo wants is Tom.

Fairy-tale endings take work as well as love. For Milo, that means learning to let someone take care of him, for a change. And for Tom, it’s figuring out that real love is the one thing you can’t buy.


GENDER: cisgender
SEXUALITY: homosexual


TROPES: class disparity, age gap, single parenthood
TAGS: adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters, POC characters, biracial characters, Dominican characters, Cuban characters, Jamaican characters, interracial relationship, immigrant characters
WARNINGS: alcohol, cissexism/anti-trans language, ableism, slurs, gendered slurs, domestic violence, cheating mention, mental illness (depression), parental death mention, cancer mention, therapy mention, anti-native language (“savage”), suicide mention, suicide joke


This book is the Cinderella-esque romance that the title and blurb promises, as beloved Camilo gets swept off his feet by a rich, older man who would do anything for him, and who is the first man who has truly understood him. Meanwhile, in Camilo, Tom has finally found someone who challenges him on all fronts and doesn’t let him slide by on monetary coattails.

With this novel, I fell even further in love with Camilo! I adored him and his extra ass from the first book of the series and was so excited to find out that his story was going to be next. I was definitely not disappointed. He’s such a strong character in all ways! He’s still the extra, mess of a man we met in AMERICAN DREAMER, but in AMERICAN FAIRYTALE, we get to see so many more sides to him. Camilo is also an empathetic, sincere person who is dedicated to his job and making life better for the people he serves, as well as his loved ones. He’s a caring and supportive son who would do anything for his mother, and he’s someone who deeply craves love and a relationship, even as he fears the connection that would entail. Camilo is such a vibrant character, who is unafraid to be vulnerable and express himself, but who is also firm in his beliefs and his desires, wants, and needs. His passion and drive are admirable and intoxicating, making him a thrilling character to read about.

Additionally, I also really enjoyed Tom as a character! He’s (understandably) taken by Camilo since the moment they meet and is desperate to spend more time with him. He’s a single father taking time off from working in an effort to be a good parent to his daughter, as well as trying to achieve a better balance between work life and personal life as having a bad balance there has messed up relationships for him before. He’s a really good guy who is down-to-earth and very aware of his privilege and the space that he takes up as a broad, white passing biracial man, but his downfall is in thinking that most anything can be fixed by throwing money at it. He struggles with compromise and not getting his way when it could benefit someone he cares about, but is genuinely willing to learn and apologize and do whatever he can to fix things.

The plot, as a whole, was really wonderful. I enjoyed reading about Camilo and Tom connecting and getting to know one another, but I also appreciated the aspect that brought them together: Camilo’s work as a social worker and Tom’s monetary donation to help renovate a safe house for people of color escaping domestic violence. It’s something they’re both intensely passionate about and are determined to help in any way they can. It’s such a worthy cause and an intense backdrop to the overall plot, but Herrera treats the characters and situations with the love and care that they deserve, creating a space where these people are safe. It was intense and heart wrenching.

The one thing that frustrated me with this book, and also similarly frustrated me with the first, is the fact that huge betrayals of trust are used as the catalyst for saving the relationships in the last few chapters. In AMERICAN DREAMER, Jude is attacked by his family in an effort to make him pray the gay away and that affects the relationship until Nesto makes his big gesture, and in AMERICAN FAIRYTALE, Tom goes behind Camilo’s back and uses his money when Camilo has made it very clear that he does not want Tom involved in the situation, let alone using his money to take care of it. I understand that there’s generally always some kind of issue that the main characters need to overcome, but these are just…such huge ones. And while Tom very quickly realizes that he messed up and needs to fix it, I wouldn’t have blamed Camilo at all if he decided he really couldn’t trust Tom again because of the catastrophic attack on his autonomy.

Despite this, though, I still loved the book and characters as a whole and would recommend both this book and the series, and I am looking forward to seeing what comes with Patrice’s story next!


18639202Adriana Herrera was born and raised in the Caribbean, but for the last 15 years has let her job (and her spouse) take her all over the world. She loves writing stories about people who look and sound like her people, getting unapologetic happy endings. When’s she not dreaming up love stories, planning logistically complex vacations with her family or hunting for discount Broadway tickets, she’s a social worker in New York City, working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence.


Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

review by nicky tyler

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