Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: March 30, 2020
Received From: NetGalley
Juan Pablo Campos doesn’t do regrets. He’s living the dream as a physical therapist with his beloved New York Yankees. He has the best friends and family in the world and simply no time to dwell on what could’ve been.
Except when it comes to Priscilla, the childhood friend he’s loved for what seems like forever.
New York City police detective Priscilla Gutierrez has never been afraid to go after what she wants. Second guessing herself isn’t a thing she does. But lately, the once-clear vision she had for herself—her career, her relationships, her life—is no longer what she wants.
What she especially doesn’t want is to be stuck on a private jet to the Dominican Republic with JuanPa, the one person who knows her better than anyone else.
By the end of a single week in paradise, the love/hate thing JuanPa and Pris have been doing for sixteen years has risen to epic proportions. No one can argue their connection is still there. And they can both finally admit—if only to themselves—they’ve always been a perfect match. The future they dreamed of together is still within reach…if they can just accept each other as they are.
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: queer
TROPES: hate to love, childhood friends to lovers, friends to lovers, second chance romance, found family
TAGS: adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters, Dominican characters, Puerto Rican characters, Latinx characters, Afro-Latinx characters, biracial characters, Latinx author, Dominican author, law enforcement
WARNINGS: alcohol, slurs, gendered slurs, anti-native language, racism, menstruation, cissexism/anti-trans language, rape/sexual assault, child sexual assault, child abuse, ableism, child pregnancy, miscarriage, colorism
Oh my, what a wonderful conclusion to Adriana Herrera’s DREAMERS series!
With AMERICAN SWEETHEARTS, we finally get to read about Juan Pablo and Priscilla, who’ve brought a layer of sexual tension to every interaction, and mention of them and any relationship, throughout the course of the series. And at long lost, we get to see them together and learn about the long history of up’s and down’s in all aspects of their relationship with each other. I loved getting to finally see what has been going on between Juanpa and Pris this whole time, and to see just how clearly they’re meant for each other, if only they’d just talk to each other. With the benefit of occasional flashbacks, we’re able to see the progress that both have made over the years to be different, and better, people for the benefit of themselves and each other. It was both lovely and frustrating to watch how much they truly wanted to help each other, and cared about the other, but often couldn’t quite achieve what they were attempting without messing up somehow. But in the end, the two of them are able to reach the pinnacle of their character arcs and are able to be the best they can individually and together.
One of the aspects I continue to love about the series is the found family aspect. All the characters we’ve met before, both the main characters and secondary, are found within the pages of this novel and come together for some extremely heartwarming moments. One of my favorite sequences, other than the wedding scenes with all them, were when the crew and their partners all went up to the cabin Easton’s family owns for a quick holiday getaway. It was great to see them all happy and comfortable, able to talk about serious topics, express their vulnerabilities and worries, while also being able to joke around and dunk on each other in good fun. It reminded me a lot of when my friends and I get together, so it was really wonderful to read.
One of the most difficult aspects of the story to read were the parts pertaining to Priscilla’s job as a detective. Herrera routinely focuses on, and gives the needed page time, to issues that we all know exist and need to actively work to correct. Not only the horrific case that her task force was working on, but the juxtaposition of the events in AMERICAN LOVE STORY and AMERICAN SWEETHEARTS. AMERICAN SWEETHEARTS is fresh off the plot line of police brutality and the trials of being Black in America, found in AMERICAN LOVE STORY, and then carries on into further disenfranchisement with the police force, but this time from the inside. This final book gives a focus to the racism and misogyny that POC, and especially WOC, face daily even when they’re “part of the team.” Priscilla is incredible in how she faces it all head on, but as a reader, one can’t help but want to step inside to help how they can, which is something we could all do to carry into real life.
All in all, this story was really enjoyable and a great read. I’m sad to see this series come to an end, but I’ve loved every book and I’m so excited to see what comes next from Adriana Herrera!
Adriana 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.
Her debut novel, American Dreamer, has been featured on Entertainment Weekly, NPR, the TODAY Show on NBC and was selected as one ALA Booklist’s Top Ten Debut Romances of 2019.
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.