Skip to main content

Get a Life, Chloe Brown


Get a Life, Chloe Brown

As romance novels continue to soar to the top of bestseller lists, so too does the variety of authors and heroines we see from this fantastically diverse genre. British author Talia Hibbert is just one of these gems, and having written over a dozen books by the age of 23, it seems that she will continue to appear on numerous readers’ TBR and “Best Of” lists. Now, with GET A LIFE, CHLOE BROWN, Hibbert turns her keen, sensitive eye to the eponymous Chloe Brown, a chronically ill and unstoppably fierce young woman who is ready to kick her life into high gear after years of sticking to the safest paths. What she finds on the fast lane is superintendent Redford “Red” Morgan, a tattooed, motorcycle-riding artist who just might be the one to help her cross “Do something bad” off her bucket list.

Chloe is a feisty, sarcastic and flawlessly dressed young woman who is smart, funny and dedicated to her obsessive list-making. Although she dreams of having it all, her fibromyalgia often leaves her choosing the safe path for fear of ending up in a pain-induced haze or, worse, clouded by the medications she must use to manage her symptoms. Although her family --- especially her sisters, Dani and Eve --- are endlessly supportive, Chloe is desperate to avoid becoming or feeling like a burden, so she often lies about her excessive pain, choosing instead to make excuses as to why she can’t attend karaoke parties or join her sisters at get-togethers at the drop of a hat. But she gets a new lease on life when she is killed in a car accident --- well, nearly...okay, she’s not really injured or even close to being injured at all. But the crash provides a rude awakening to Chloe, and she creates a list of things to do to “get a life.”

"Hibbert has long strived to celebrate and uphold marginalized voices in her work, and I think GET A LIFE, CHLOE BROWN is truly the book that will propel her --- and her wonderful, beloved characters --- into the mainstream."

First things first, Chloe moves out of her wealthy family’s house to her own place --- the apartment is more economical, but it is hers. The only problem with her newfound freedom is Red, her building’s super, who is painfully nice to everyone he meets --- except her. Through sheer luck and coincidence, Red always manages to run into Chloe when she is at her worst: making an elderly resident cry, yelling at a dog, getting stuck in a tree. Of course, there are reasons for all of Chloe’s actions, but all Red can see is the stuck-up, snobby young woman who seems so self-assured and confident that he cannot help but dislike her at least a little. Hibbert writes the couple’s various meet-cutes with such biting humor and raw irony that you cannot help but laugh.

On the other hand, Red is dealing with his own issues. His mother’s diabetes has caused her to go blind in one eye, but she is still watching (and commenting on) his every move. Reeling from a vicious breakup, Red is feeling a bit stuck --- he isn’t dating, he isn’t selling art and he’s mostly just unclogging toilets for the residents of his best friend’s building. Worst of all, his newest resident, Chloe Brown, is so darned cute and smart that he turns into a fool around her --- and it doesn’t help that she reminds him exactly of his ex, a rich, beautiful socialite who was accustomed to having the world handed to her on a golden platter. Red’s obsession with wealth speaks to some deep hurts, and Hibbert fleshes out his judgments of Chloe with a smart, educated mind. She does not merely drop weighty subjects onto the table; she unpacks them, weighs them against one another, and asks her readers to approach them with empathy and compassion --- the same way she treats her characters.

It is no secret that opposites attract, and Chloe and Red are a natural rom-com pairing, but what sets GET A LIFE, CHLOE BROWN apart is the depth that Hibbert gives her characters. For many authors, it would be enough to give us a chronically ill woman of color, check off the “diversity” box and call it a day --- but Hibbert really shows readers of all backgrounds what it is like to live in Chloe’s body. We feel her pain and celebrate her milestones, and through it all, we see how deeply human she is and how thoroughly her illness affects her life --- without defining it. Chloe’s emotional pain takes longer to show itself, but when it does, you will want to have the tissues ready and, ideally, a fluffy pet to snuggle.

Despite the heaviness of emotion that Hibbert infuses into this book, it is still a delightfully fun and sexy rom-com --- with all the elements one would expect, including some steamy bedroom scenes. Red and Chloe play off against each other perfectly, and their mistaken perceptions of the other lead to some laugh-out-loud moments and even more tear-jerking scenes of emotional upheaval. Through it all, Chloe’s devious sisters provide comedic foil, and their love for Chloe and desire for her happiness will warm even the coldest heart.

Hibbert has long strived to celebrate and uphold marginalized voices in her work, and I think GET A LIFE, CHLOE BROWN is truly the book that will propel her --- and her wonderful, beloved characters --- into the mainstream. Her compassion, curiosity and endless patience for her characters and readers speaks wonders, and I am so happy that this is just the first in a series. Chloe Brown has gotten a life --- now you just have to get ready to read about it.

Reviewed by Rebecca Munro on November 27, 2019

Get a Life, Chloe Brown
by Talia Hibbert