Content/Trigger Warnings: Chronic pain, abandonment, anxiety, domestic abuse, minor talk of imposter syndrome
“Bravery wasn’t an identity, so much as a choice.”
I feel like my heart might combust from how much I loved this book. Setting this book down, only when I needed sleep. I mainly picked this book up because of the representation in this book, but I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with this book so hard. My first Talia Hibbert book and I’m completely hooked!
Get A Life Chloe Brown is an ownvoices story about a a main character named Chloe Brown, a plus-sized Black woman who has fibromyalgia and chronic pain. After having a near death accident, Chloe has decided that it’s high time she gets a life. Thus, her ‘Get a Life’ bucket list was born! So she packs up and moves to an apartment complex. The complex is the perfect fresh start to her ‘Get a Life’ bucket list, but there’s just one problem… his name is Red Morgan. Leaving the past behind him, Red just wants to start over and heal from the aftermath of his past abusive relationship. He’s handsome, charming, and the superintendent of his best friend’s apartment complex building. Everyone seems to love him, everyone except Chloe. Then one day, fate makes their paths cross in the unlikeliest way (with one cat stuck up in a tree) and soon they’ve worked out a deal. Chloe will build Red a website and in exchange, he helps her with her ‘Get a Life’ list.
I loved Chloe Brown as a main character! Not only is she’s so brilliantly smart, but she’s brave, sassy, and such a nerdy gamer girl! It was impossible for me not to love her especially as the female love interest. But the main reason I took such an interest in wanting to read this book was the chronic illness and pain representation. I’ve mentioned this a few times, but I do live with chronic pain and chronic illness. Seeing the way the author handled chronic pain and chronic illness in this book with Chloe, it’s so spot on. I haven’t really read any books that have really show how people living with chronic pain and illness live day to day, how they feel, and the reality of how it impacts relationships. I felt so scene and every time something would happen with Chloe, it hit me in all the soft spots of my heart.
“When she was sick and tired of being sick and tired, she clung to moments like this : The first shower after a flare-up.
Bliss should be held on to with both hands.”
Also, can we take a moment to appreciate the plus-sized representation in this book? As a plus-sized reader, I loved the way the author took time to really show Chloe is confident in her body size, how she’s desired by the love interest by her curves, but I think the most important thing I really loved about this book is zero moments of Chloe’s size holding her back or impacting her negatively. I adored how the author handled the plus-sized representation and this is probably going to be one of my favorite plus-sized representations in romance, thus far!
If you’re a lover of enemies to lovers relationships, then you’re going to love this book. I think enemies to lovers is one of my favorite tropes and Hibbert executes it so well. When I say it was near impossible to put this down because of the banter, the chemistry, and the misunderstandings, it was so good. Also, I loved the way it took a cat being stuck in a tree for them to start getting closer. The best way to really hook me, include any situation with a cat. That’s all you need to know.
I also really loved Red’s character. He’s very much a “bad boy”, but the way the author wrote him just stole my heart. He’s a complete cinnamon roll who takes great care about Chloe’s limitations. He’s never possessive or has a toxic demeanor about him, despite him coming off as intimidating and the hardships he’s experienced. He’s charming, respectful and he still visits his mother to check in on her. My heart! Plus, the banter he shares with Chloe and his nickname for her, all the love arrows in my soul!
“You were hurt, and you reacted. You were in an unhealthy situation in more ways than one, and you panicked and cleansed everything with fire. Don’t dismiss your emotions and your self-protection as just a fucked-up decision. Don’t reduce something so complex and real and important to nothing.”
I also want to take a moment to talk about the fact that Red’s character is healing and rebuilding after the trauma of his past abusive relationship. As someone who has survived many traumas, the way Red will have moments where he remembers the past or how he’ll compare Chloe to his ex, it’s all very accurate and well represented. What I loved most was how it not only addresses that the abuser in the relationship was Red’s ex-girlfriend (even more so since those relationships often get overlooked), but also that it shows that while someone can hurt you to the point of feeling broken in all the ways, someone can come along and help heal you from that. I also liked how the author included a flashback scene as well to show that domestic abuse can sometimes overlap into PTSD territory.
And of course, this wouldn’t be one of my true reviews if I didn’t talk about the family dynamic. I loved how Chloe’s family is so close and how they all try to look out for one another. I loved how Eve and Dani check in on Chloe, try to spend time with her, and just have that usual sisterly banter. I also loved how Chloe sought out wisdom from her grandmother, Gigi, for advice on love. Something about the elderly giving their wisdom to the younger generations just always melts my heart. And I loved how we see the family come together at the end. It really fills my heart with so much warmth to see the family dynamics in the book.
Overall, if you couldn’t tell, I’m head over heels for this book. I can’t wait to continue this series especially since there’s nothing but good things being said about the next book in the series. I had such a wonderful experience reading Talia’s book that it has me hooked on wanting to look into more of her books. If you were thinking about trying this series out, let me tell you, it’s worth it. It’s so, so worth it and I have no doubt you’ll love these characters as much as I do.
“Love is certainly never safe, but it’s absolutely worth it.”