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 glamourous family’s mansion. The next items?
Enjoy a drunken night out.
Ride a motorcycle.
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…
I was given an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) via Edelweiss. This did not influence my review.
If you’ve been following us for a while, you may have seen proof of my love for Talia Hibbert in the form of this post where I shouted my love for her and her works. Long story short, I became an instant fan after reading A Girl Like Her, and the multiple rereads since then have only strengthened my love for the novel. While I’ve been reading romance for a while, it was A Girl Like Her that restored my love for contemporary romance, and made me seek out more authors who write in the genre.
Of course, I was incredibly excited for Get a Life, Chloe Brown; so much so that my scream may have deafened my mother when I realized I had been granted access to an ARC on Edelweiss. (Technically, it did not, but she was scared and confused. 🙈) Obviously, I went into the novel with high expectations, and I’m pleased to say that Talia Hibbert didn’t just meet them, she far exceeded them with her newest title, and cemented my love for her even more.
THE CHARACTERS ARE A FUCKING DELIGHT
Similarly to (most of) Talia Hibbert’s novels, Get a Life, Chloe Brown is told in third person dual perspective, which allowed me to connect to both Chloe and Redford early on. I loved their voices and personalities, and I found myself wishing for a chance to see particular scenes from both of their POVs, which is extremely rare. (The cat rescue scene, anyone? That’s what I call quality content.) Alas, that’s an impossible thing to expect, but me wishing for it goes to show just how much I adored these two.
“It’s very awkward, dating while disabled. People can be quite awful. And you know I don’t have much energy to spare for social nonsense.“
I’ll get back to the main characters in the next section, but before that, let me just say that I abso-bloody-lutely adored the supporting cast, especially Chloe’s family and Red’s best friend. I love supportive family and friends in books – and real life, duh – and had a marvelous time getting to know these characters. The love Chloe’s family had for her took my breath away, especially when Chloe was talking about their support through the difficulties of being diagnosed as chronically ill. (The representation is Own Voices, and you can also find an incredible OV review here.)
THERAPY POSITIVITY ALL THE WAY
Besides being an incredible romance novel, Get a Life, Chloe Brown is a great character study, as well. Both Red and Chloe have their personal struggles, and these are given just as much attention – or even more – as the romance. Red’s still feeling the effects of his relationship with his abusive ex, and there’s a lot he has to deal with because of that. Chloe, on the other hand, has a deeply ingrained fear of commitment due to a shitty ex and even shittier friends, so it takes her a while to open up to someone new.
“I can cook, and right now, you can’t. So I’m doing it for you because that’s how people should behave; they should fill in each other’s gaps.”
There’s a massive emphasis on therapy, and I particularly liked that Red and Chloe had different journeys when it came to going to therapy. Chloe has been seeing a therapist for years, while Red starts seeing one during the novel. Some reach out to a therapist immediately after they think they need to, while others might take more time for a huge variety of reasons. I really loved seeing this distinction without making either of their experience seem invalid, or wrong.
THE “GET A LIFE” LIST WAS BRILLIANTLY HANDLED
Talia Hibbert handled Chloe’s list with so much respect and care. Chloe takes lists very seriously, so it was always a delight for her to cross something off (besides the “do something bad” one 🤭), yet there were some important questions raised concerning the list. Most notably, there was a lot of “do I want that, or is that what societal expectations force me to want?” (not a direct quote), and this was something that hit me. Hard. I think a lot of us can relate to feeling like we don’t do the exact things we’re supposed to be doing. Or we may be doing the things we’re supposed to, but we hate them.
As an introvert I don’t socialize as much as some of my friends do, and certainly not as much as my extrovert of a mom did in her own 20s. Even though I’m perfectly happy with that, I do sometimes compare myself to others, and try to do things I know won’t make me happy simply because others expect me to do them. Which sucks and shouldn’t be the case. That is not to say that we shouldn’t challenge ourselves and try new things, but we should do so for the things that are important to us, not to follow someone else’s expectations. There’s a lot of this in the book, and I’ll just shut up now because the last thing I want is to spoil the fun, but oh my god, do read it, it’s exceptional.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown is an incredible addition to the contemporary romance genre – it is entertaining and funny, while also tackling serious topics, and just being rather realistic. I expected greatness, and that’s exactly what I’ve been served, so I’m a ball of sunshine and happiness right now, and I don’t see this mood going away for a while.
Which books have been your favorite contemporary romances this year? Who are some of your all time favorite authors – romance or otherwise? Have you read something by Talia Hibbert?