I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Nesto has decided to take a big chance and take his Afro-Carribean food truck from New York City to Ithaca. His mother and sister live up there but he'll be leaving behind a bunch of friends who provide a great support system.
Growing up, books were important to Jude, it's no wonder he became a librarian. He's been dreaming of getting a mobile book van going but funding is tight.
Nesto and Jude both have dreams and when they meet, their chemistry can't be denied. Nesto is outgoing but a workaholic, Jude is shy and reserved, and not everyone in Ithaca wants change.
Getting the rundown of a burrito menu should not be this erotic.
First in the Dreamers series, American Dreamer, introduces us to a Nesto, Jude, and their friends and family. There were a lot of characters to keep track of, I felt a little overwhelmed at times but Nesto's friends play such a important role in his life, they had to be there supporting him. The contrast of how supportive Nesto's family was with Jude's intolerant religious one was sad and maddening. I did think the drama with Jude's family at the end felt rushed in; it was introduced and over with before I could get a big emotional reaction from it. Jude simply talking to Nesto about his family had me feeling more.
Nesto's family couldn't have been more different from Jude's and even though there were a lot of characters to keep track of, it did fill out the story and create a sense of community for the setting, along with some series baiting characters. I feel like I got a fuller and better understanding of Nesto's character through his interactions with his friends and family. Jude being a more self-contained person, he does have a bestfriend he works with that give us an insight to him, he didn't pop off the pages as much to me. I occasionally did have problems remembering who was speaking at times, this is first person pov with switching povs, when Nesto and Jude were together as their written voice tended to blend together every so often.
The attraction between the two is pretty immediate and even though they don't jump into bed right away, their sexual relationship is ramped up pretty quickly. I missed a more gradual getting to know, instead of this insta, but with later on two wrenches thrown in to create some angst. There was also some time jumps that I thought kept us from getting those relationship building blocks, we're told they've spent every night of the week together but don't get any scenes of them bonding. The story gives you a sense that they are just in love and even though I'm told that, I'm not sure I felt it or was given enough evidence for it.
I looked for a reason to be afraid of what I was feeling, but the only thing I felt was peace.
Along with Nesto's workaholic ways, which by the way, I would have given the guy more slack with how hard it is to try and start a business and Jude's reserved emotional issues and late in the story family ones, there was a “villain” causing some problems for these two. Misty, the wannabe town matriarch, described as “wearing one of those workout outfits people don't actually workout in” (we all know this person) and trying to shut down Nesto's food truck so her son's truck would have a better chance to succeed. She's a bit of a pencil sketch character as she only pops up to spew her hatred, I think getting some scenes with her son with the food truck would have helped this a little bit, but while the danger of her lingers throughout the story, we don't actually see her a lot. Her character works to show how racism and bigotry from even one person can have the power to use and influence societal structures to continuously keep some down.
As I mentioned, I thought Nesto was the stronger character, he had so many wonderful little details, like the name of his food truck was OuNYe. This was worked from the Yoruba word “ounje”, which means nourishment and of course to include New York, love details like this. The friendships were written great in this and helped to create a community and framework I believed in. The romance was a little too insta for me and I missed some relationship building blocks but Nesto's outgoing personality that Jude couldn't help but be drawn to and Jude's shy, cute, and funny personality that Nesto couldn't help but want to get to know more was a sweet romance to read.