American Dreamer was my return to New York. And no, not the part in the beginning that takes place in The Bronx. No, this book returned me to Upstate New York, even if it was in Central NY a few hours west of where I grew up. That’s just one of the things that grabbed me with this book, the setting. Setting description wasn’t a huge part of the book, but there was a still an atmosphere of familiarity throughout.
It also helped that Herrera can write characters that you can’t help but want to befriend. Nesto, along with his friends and family, made me want to join in with them, eat their food, and help out when things got hard. And they’re fictional characters. But I still wanted to jump in and help out. And Jude was amazing too. A small-town librarian who just wants to make sure kids had access to books. Who can’t get behind that? (This small-town library worker definitely felt for this character and his struggles to get a project off the ground.)
While there definitely wasn’t an easy romance between the characters, I also felt that the level of angst was just right. Meaning there really wasn’t any. After reading through the whole thing and understanding where the characters came from in their respective pasts, I think that other authors may have taken these details and focused on them more. Made the book darker than necessary. But Herrera put just the right amount of it all in there to build her characters and drive the tensions.
And now I’m going to go back to the food for a second. Where can I find a food truck like Nesto’s OuNYe? I was craving the food from the descriptions the entire time I was reading. So remember, don’t go into this one hungry. Not that it’ll matter. I think anyone would find room in their stomach to get hungry no matter what.
I devoured this book in a day, barely hitting pause on my audiobook app once. I could not put this down. There are major struggles with bigots and the things life generally throws at us. But also great food, great characters, and two characters who need something right to happen to them. It’s all in here and I can’t recommend this book enough.
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About the Author:
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.
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.
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