Aria Rivera is a Maiden City swimming champion. After taking out the State competition, her father is hungry for more accolades, but Aria is amid an identity crisis. The reminder of a hidden talent and the torment of her mundane life plagues her with insomnia. Aria needs an out, but her lack of education and basic skills shackle her to swimming.
When a curious boy steals her attention from an adjacent swimming lane, Aria begins dreaming. A life without the rivalry for attention and medals with her sister Valeria. A life away from her father’s strict rules. A life with a spark of romance.
But the dreams don’t help when her home life is a threat to her physical and mental well-being. Doomed to stay under her parents’ roof and deal with Valeria’s anger issues, Aria is riddled with sorrow and stress. The boy of her dreams is cursed with the same affliction. When their paths cross, will they be the key to each other’s freedom and happiness?
The Happily After When series is inspired by fairytales. Each book is based on a different fairytale, and Aria is a modern transformation of The Little Mermaid. The Happily After When series looks at the dangerous lessons fairytales teach young people, including: a woman waiting for a man to rescue her, or young men kissing women without their permission. These books deal with young adult social issues, including: class differences, bullying and racism, lgbt issues, runaways, mental health issues, and domestic violence. They are also contemporary romance stories about beating the odds, with a wholesomeness in an unsettling and dark world.