I loved Get a Life, Chloe Brown. I swooned, I laughed, I commiserated. Hibbert delivered on all fronts.
This is my first Talia Hibbert book (I’ve followed her on Twitter for quiet awhile and enjoy her greatly there), and it lives up to the hype. In broad strokes, it’s a relatively slow burn romance that slips right past enemies to lovers tropes and instead lands in the “you annoy me but once I actually get to know you I’m enamored of you” zone which isn’t nearly as fun to say.
In interviews Hibbert explains why she is writing diversely representative characters, and its simply that these type of characters deserve to be seen. I appreciate the hell out of that. Our romantic leads in Get a Life, Chloe Brown are the titular Chloe and her building’s superintendent, Red Morgan. The book opens with Chloe having a (hysterical) near death experience and not liking what her mind comes up with as her eulogy should she have in fact died. With that universal kick in the rump Chloe decides to get a life, and develops a seven step plan to do so. Chloe doesn’t have a life at the beginning of the book due to a series of choices and experiences related to her fibromyalgia. She has in many ways closed herself off from the larger world, using her family’s wealth and their emotional support to live a productive life, but not necessarily have a life. Step one is to move out, which brings her into direct contact with Red, building superintendent.
Red is himself at a crossroads. His friend set him up with the superintendent job two years ago as a place to land and regroup following a toxic relationship and its destruction of his life as he knew it, but in the meantime he hasn’t so much regrouped as turned inward, refusing to let people see the art he is still compelled to make. As the book unfolds we learn more about Red’s trauma and how his empathetic nature allow him to see Chloe as is, and see his ability to fill the gaps for her when he can, and to allow her to do the same for him.
This story builds steadily over time – the characters (and the reader) get to know each other, get to live in the reality of their lives. Hibbert has written a pair of good people who drop their facades and let the other in. The final act break up and get back together is focused on coping mechanisms that have turned rancid, and the getting past them, which is just so spot on to the story Hibbert is after here. Seriously, this was a great reading experience and I immediately requested the next book, Take a Hint, Dani Brown from my library.
4.5 rounding up because reasons.