GET A LIFE, CHLOE BROWN
Get a Life, Chloe Brown was good for so many reasons but what I loved the most was the representation (and fair warning, reader, you're going to hear this from everyone). Chloe is a person of color with a disability that can't be seen by others and Red is a survivor of abuse. Y'all, let's be honest here. We so infrequently read about characters with real problems. How often do we read about a character with fibromyalgia? Or male characters who are in abusive relationships? Don't lie to me. "Hardly ever" is the answer.
Chloe Brown has a list: seven items to help her "get a life" after a near-death experience (sort of).
Enjoy a drunken night out.
Ride a motorcycle.
Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
Do something bad.
But Chloe's not exactly cut out to do these things, not when she has crippling pain and walls built so high that no one can get in. And that's deliberate, thank you very much, because it's not in her best interest to add any more feelings into the mix when she already feels so much. But when Redford "Red" Morgan helps her out of a tree, she begins to find out that he's more than the superintendent of her complex with sexy tattoos and glorious fire hair, and that maybe getting a life requires more than what's on her list.
I really struggled with liking Chloe at first, I won't lie. I had to really ask myself: if I was in constant pain, if I was emotionally scarred by people I loved, would I lock myself away from the world and convince myself that I'm better off alone? Yep, definitely would. And the other honest part is that we all have quirks, all have particular ways of doing things, and that's another component that makes this book so real.
Last confession: I think there was a missed opportunity with Red. Men can absolutely be abused by women and here, Red was suffering from the traumatic relationship he had in the past. But we only get hints of how it's affected him, we hear a surface-level description when he discusses his past with Chloe. There was so much more potential to show how deeply rooted the effects of trauma can have, more than what we were given and more than just a plot drive. I wanted to see Red struggle more with his feelings, wanted to see him overcome them daily not just during times of conflict. Because the effects of trauma from a relationship are more more more.
Is this book romantic and hot? Yes. Will you love Red? Yes. Will Chloe get on your nerves because she's a homebody that's imposed her prison upon herself? Yes. But it was cute, sweet, funny, and had characters you'll remember.