Title: American Sweetheart
Series: Dreamers #4
Author: Adriana Herrera
Published by:Karina Press
Publishing date: March 30th 2020
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.
After loving the first three books in the Dreamers series, America Sweethearts was my most anticipated release of 2020 and I was really excited when I found out I was getting an eARC of it, so obviously as soon as I got my copy I read it and I’m happy to say that I was not disappointed.
American Sweethearts is part of a series of companion novels, which means that it can be read as a standalone if you don’t mind being spoiled for the previous books. In this book, the story centers around a second chance romance with just one small change because it’s not the second time the main characters – Juan Pablo and Priscilla- give their relationship a try, they actually have a long history of failed relationship attempts. Watching them become closer again, decide to work in their unresolved issues and choose to give their relationship another chance was so beautiful.
I do wish that there was a bit more about their history together in this book, there’s a few flashback but I think it would have been cool to know more as a way to understand their feelings and reservations about their relationship. There was a lot of “we both said things we didn’t mean or thing we regret” in this book, which is really vague. Also, it would have been interesting to know more because early on in the book, it’s clear that after the last failed relationship attempt, Juna Pablo started going to therapy to try to deal with his issues and be better, so when this book starts Juan Pablo is an incredibly swoon-worthy protagonist, who is constantly working on being more open and honest and listening more. Which is amazing, but the problem is that it was hard to appreaciate his character development because it happened before the book started. Also, not knowing more about his history with Priscilla, it was hard to understand why she had so many reservations about their relationship.
But honestly that’s my only really small complain about the book, because everything else was brilliant. I actually spent the whole book fangirling over Juan Pablo. And then there’s Priscilla, who is badass, smart and sassy, but who also lets herself be vulnerable and open when she is with Juan Pablo. I think my favorite part about this book were those moments when Priscilla and Juan Pablo talked about their fears, their dreams, their pasts in a very sincere way, when they were vulnerable with each other and were there when the other needed them.
Despite the main couple being Priscilla and Juan Pablo, American Sweethearts is still very much a queer book. It’s very clear that Juan Pablo has had relationships with men in the past and there are friendly interactions between him and one of his ex’s included in the book. This book is also incredibly sex positive. First of all, the main characters have so much chemistry and there’s enough trust between them to be open about what they want in bed, so the sex scenes are really steamy and there is even a pegging scene, which I had never read in a book before. Second of all, Priscilla actually has a podcast and a blog and she gives workshops about the right of enby folx and black and brown bodies to pleasure and, at one point in the book, she gives a workshop about pleasure after sixty. I think the way this book incorporates discussions about the importance of pleasure for people of different ages, races and gender identities is really important and meaningful.
Lastly, this book has something that I have missed in the last two books in the series and it’s the presence of the group of friends. It was amazing to see them show up in this book trying to push Priscilla and Juan Pablo to be together because they knew that’s whay they wanted but also seeing them be ready to have their backs in case it doesn’t work out (again). Also, their families are very much invested in the relationship and they are rooting for them, especially their moms, which is a bit annoying for them, but it’s actually very fun to read about. The constant presence of their families in the book allows it to explore themes like family and the immigrant experience and its impact on first generation Americans, and like with the previous books in the series, the inclusion of Latinx culture is abundant in this book. Reading about the food, the words, the traditions is wonderful.