Alright, y’all, another romance novel with a cartoon cover, which means some of us have questions. I’m going to try and address those first:
1) Yes, this is absolutely a romance. It has a central love story, that truly is the main focus of the book, and an HEA.
2) Steam Factor: Explicit on page sex, no fade to black here; on par in my opinion with the books in Hibbert’s Ravenswood series!
And now, onto an actual review.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown follows our titular Chloe Brown, a black woman who has fibromyalgia and adjusted to the early adulthood onset by trying to be very scheduled and also maybe playing it very safe. When she has a near death experience, she decides she’s been playing it too safe and makes a list to her her “get a life.” We encounter her next in her new apartment, not getting along well with her building super, Red, who has seen Chloe responding to slights against her (for being black in one-like, trying to touch her hair, and then a normal shared laundry situation) without actually witnessing the slight against her. Anyway, this has resulted in Red determining that Chloe is a snob. Meanwhile, Chloe is annoyed because she finds Red, so named for his hair color, very attractive in a bad boy kind of way.
Red, for his part, is essentially hiding from his former life of being an up and coming artist by taking this position as building super at his friend’s apartment complex. He’s been pretty badly wounded by his ex-girlfriend. And before you roll your eyes at the evil ex trope, know that this one is more than that. Red’s ex was actually abusive and it was really great seeing a man dealing with his trauma. He actually starts going to therapy later in the book, which was great. Therapy representation is always good.
Chloe and Red start out pretty incapable of seeing each other for who they are and Red, for his part, keeps attributing personality traits from his ex onto Chloe based solely on the fact that Chloe clearly comes from money. But Chloe is also the kind of person who climbs a tree to rescue a cat, so she can’t be all that bad. The two of them come together in a pretty slow burn kind of way. You know they’re attracted to one another pretty immediately, but it takes them a long while to act on it.
All in all, this book was great and for me, one of the things I loved the most was watching how the two balanced their needs with the other and how they worked together to figure things out. The mental health representation in this book was really, really incredible. So I’ll leave you with this line that I adore and think it a great representation of what the book kind of stands for:
“You were hurt, and you reacted. You were in an unhealthy situation in more ways that one and you panicked and cleansed everything with fire. Don’t dismiss you emotions and your self-protection as just a fucked-up decision. Don’t reduce something so complex and real and important to nothing.”
(Note: This quote was taken from an advanced readers copy so the actual quote could change before publication. Also, this was an ARC! Thanks Netgalley and Avon for blessing me with this. I already loved Talia Hibbert so any bias is because of that and not the advanced copy thing. Okay, great, thanks, bye!)