Book Review: “Get a Life, Chloe Brown” by Talia Hibbert

Blurb & Info

(via Goodreads)

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life” and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

  • Enjoy a drunken night out.
  • Ride a motorcycle.
  • Go camping.
  • Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
  • Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
  • And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

Publication Date: November 5, 2019

Publisher: Avon

Pages: 373

Series: The Brown Sisters #1

Review

I was surprised that I liked this book as much as I did. I knew that this and the second installment of The Brown Sisters series were getting praise wherever I looked, but the romance book I read previously (my first ever adult romance novel) didn’t exactly blow me out of the water with how amazing it was.

The character development in Get a Life, Chloe Brown is very strong, and the characters feel unique. Red and Chloe aren’t cookie-cutter collections of stereotypes; they have families, hobbies, jobs, and concerns outside of their burgeoning romantic relationship with each other. I really enjoyed their banter, and how they had very distinct ways of speaking and thinking that made their alternating POV sections easy to differentiate.

The style of writing is very casual and conversational, and once I settled into it I found it easy to follow, bouncy, and fun. I was reading Get a Life, Chloe Brown as part of a buddy read with a friend who isn’t on WordPress, and while waiting for him to catch up I started reading the sequel, which is Take a Hint, Dani Brown. The Brown Sisters books are like potato chips — incredibly easy to consume, supremely tasty, and it’s hard to have just one! Unlike potato chips, however, these books actually have substance to them, since Hibbert is dedicated to representing groups that don’t get their fair share of the spotlight in fiction. Chloe Brown is a chronically ill Black woman, which is a combination of traits I have never seen before, especially for a protagonist. More than that, she’s a chronically ill Black woman who finds love — and Red isn’t shown as “saving” Chloe from her illness, but instead just helps her realize her dreams and enjoy her life more.

A few other things I really enjoyed were Red’s relationship with his employer and friend, Vik, as well as Chloe’s relationships with her sisters, Dani and Eve. Vik and Red have a friendship that feels very bro-y without straying into the realm of toxic masculinity, which I really enjoyed. Chloe and her sisters are obviously close and definitely support each other, but Hibbert adds complexity by discussing how Chloe, though she does love them dearly, sometimes feels smothered and unnecessarily coddled by their attentiveness.

One thing that I wish had been developed more was Red’s family; his mother and stepfather were introduced in one scene, and I kept feeling as though they were important enough that Chloe would eventually get to meet them… but that never happened. Chloe’s family, on the other hand, were frequent visitors in her story. (I especially loved Gigi, the grandmother, who plays on the archetype of “wealthy, eccentric matriarch whose multitude of husbands have all died of obviously indisputable natural causes”).

The ending of this book was a severe letdown for me, however. Red and Chloe having a huge falling out, and then get back together in a clichéd way that I found cheap and boring. It really cut short my enjoyment of the novel. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the majority of it, and I am going to continue reading Take a Hint, Dani Brown.

⭐⭐⭐/5


Discussion Point: I’ve noticed that, through the romance novels I’ve read and am reading, the characters always feel an instant spark and are immediately sexually attracted to the other person. I’ve never felt this way in my life. I’m not letting this affect my review or rating of the book, since I think this immediate sexual attraction is a convention of the adult romance genre, but in some respects it felt very alienating to me. My own sexuality is still a murky gray area full of nothing but question marks, but I am curious how other people feel about this. What do you think of the immediate attraction between characters that occurs in romance novels? Does that feel similar or alienating in regards to how you are attracted to other people? If you’re asexual or demi-sexual, what is it like to read this type of attraction between fictional characters?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

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