Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: October 7, 2019
Received From: NetGalley
No one should have to choose between love and justice.
Haitian-born professor and activist Patrice Denis is not here for anything that will veer him off the path he’s worked so hard for. One particularly dangerous distraction: Easton Archer, the assistant district attorney who last summer gave Patrice some of the most intense nights of his life, and still makes him all but forget they’re from two completely different worlds.
All-around golden boy Easton forged his own path to success, choosing public service over the comforts of his family’s wealth. With local law enforcement unfairly targeting young men of color, and his career—and conscience—on the line, now is hardly the time to be thirsting after Patrice again. Even if their nights together have turned into so much more.
For the first time, Patrice is tempted to open up and embrace the happiness he’s always denied himself. But as tensions between the community and the sheriff’s office grow by the day, Easton’s personal and professional lives collide. And when the issue at hand hits closer to home than either could imagine, they’ll have to work to forge a path forward…together.
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: homoromantic
TROPES: second chance romance, class disparity, opposites attract, mutual pining, grumpy x sunshine
TAGS: adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters, Haitian characters, Afro-Latinx characters, Black characters, immigrant characters, interracial romance
WARNINGS: ableism, racism, law enforcement, police brutality, racial microaggressions, sexual assault/rape, domestic violence, cheating, slurs, gendered slurs, nonconsensual outing, anti-queer, anti-queer family, vomiting, classism
Adriana Herrera’s DREAMERS series gets better with each new book, and she hits all the right buttons with AMERICAN LOVE STORY.
In ALS, we finally get the story of Patrice and Easton, two characters who’ve circled each other and intrigued since their meeting in the first book of the series. They’re opposites in lots of ways–race, class disparity, upbringing, white criminal prosecutor and Black man fighting against the American criminal justice system, and more. Herrera really does a wonderful job of creating a romance around their personalities, while also hitting the fact that they are seemingly so different and reconciling how to make that work without having to compromise themselves. Patrice and Easton are able to be their true selves with each other, and as a result, realize that they have far more in common than they may have initially though, as well as learning that they are stronger together and can work together to make life better for themselves and for others.
Also, I love the continuing theme of friendship and family within the series! The group of four friends that the series follows is just as present in this book as in the previous too, featuring several great scenes with Nesto, and a few brief appearances by Camilo and Juanpa. The undying love and devotion the four of them have for each other continues to be a source of joy for me. Additionally, I enjoyed the few scenes with Priscilla, Easton’s best friend and Nesto’s cousin, and I am so much looking forward to reading more about her in AMERICAN SWEETHEARTS as she finally gets her HEA with Juanpa. Finally, Herrera writes another great family in Patrice and his mother, in the love they have for each other and the closeness borne of what they’ve gone through together over the years. Herrera writes some amazing mothers and families, no matter the form they take, and it’s really wonderful to read.
In this novel, as with the two before it, Herrera focuses on an aspect of everyday life that is a real issue for at least one of the main characters, and real people, and this time, the topic on hand is police brutality, implicit bias, and the disproportionate amount of traffic stops target Black and Brown people (particularly men) in America. The specter of the stops and potential for violence made this book so anxiety inducing as I waited for the inevitable, because while I didn’t know when it would happen, I knew that, eventually, Patrice, our beautiful, big, Black main character, was going to be stopped and it could be horrible. And, of course, he was. The sheer panic and fear in that scene is incredibly poignant, and I truly can only imagine how much more terrifying that scene, and the descriptions of the other stops, is for Black and Latinx readers. And on the other side of the scene, when it flips to Easton’s point of view, Herrera further does an incredible job in illustrating how he, the white main character, finally takes action regarding the stops because it’s happening to someone he loves. It’s the perfect, and expected, summation of prior events where Easton, and other white characters, privately condemn the officers and their actions but ultimately do nothing publicly. It’s going to be a hard read for white readers, because like Easton, we must force ourselves to face our impotency and do something, anything we can to help, because this is a very real problem and extremely real and valid fear that is held by the Black and Brown people in this world.
As I said, this series just gets better and better with every book, and ALS very possibly edges out AMERICAN FAIRYTALE as my favorite. But I can’t wait to see what’s to come with the next and final book in the series, and I look forward to more from Herrera in the future!
Adriana 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 she’s 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.
Her debut novel, American Dreamer, has been featured on Entertainment Weekly, NPR and was one of the TODAY Show on NBC’s Hot Beach Reads picks. She’s one of the co-creators of the Queer Romance PoC Collective and serves as the VP of Programs for the Romance Writers of America New York City Chapter.
Represented by Linda Camacho, Gallt & Zacker.