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. Go camping. 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…
This is such a special book to me. Thank you so much to Avon for giving me the e-ARC, I’m so happy to have read it! I knew I wanted to read this book. I share a name with the main character, which is cool in of itself, but the Chloe is also plus sized, has chronic pain, and she gets cat. I’ve dealt with chronic pain, I’m plus sized, and I adore cats. It was so cool to see a main character that was like me in so many ways. Trigger warnings: aftermath of an abusive relationship, mentions of an abusive relationship (there is a warning in the beginning of the ARC I read and I assume it’s going to be in the final copy as well, which I appreciate so much)
Just, this book was really good. It was adorable. The romance was adorable, the characters were adorable, and pretty much the whole book was adorable. And it did that while the main character had a chronic illness. It was amazing to see her live her life, with chronic illness and still be absolutely amazing. She was always absolutely amazing and she deserves to have whatever life she wants.
Red had a POV, which I wasn’t expecting! But, he added so much to the story. He had his own struggles and his own stuff to figure out. I liked seeing things from his perspective and learning his backstory, hard as it was.
Both Chloe and Red are messy characters. It’s life and life is hard and this book reflects that. The messiness isn’t hidden, and they both want to work through it. They both want to embrace their messiness. They both have their struggles and they deal work towards dealing with them in a healthy way. Then they continue to try their hardest to continue dealing with them in a healthy way. Their emotions are so real and acknowledged. I liked how they talked about hard things and tried to work through them. They, especially Red, learned that they can feel however they want to feel.
One thing I really loved is how unabashedly attracted Red is to Chloe. She’s fat and he’s attracted to her because of that (in way less of a gross way than that sounds) and not in spite of it. He’s attracted to her as she is, which was just really awesome for me to see.
This book has some awesome tropes, but with a twist. They seem like they are going to go one way, but go in a completely different direction that ends up being better.
The romance was amazing. There was a ton of sexual tension and mutual pining. It’s such a healthy relationship. It has it’s ups and downs, which is completely normal. Both of them want to work together to make it work. They don’t want to fix each other. They want to help each other with their struggles and just be together.
Also, there is a cat in this book and I loved him a lot.
I’m having a hard time finding some of the words I want to say. I don’t know how to express how much I loved this book and how awesome it was in absolutely so many ways. It was a look at real life, that was adorable and difficult and amazing. It was amazing to see a main character with an invisible chronic illness live her life and be awesome and still have that chronic illness. It affects her life and that is shown, but that doesn’t stop her from living it. It was such a good book.
Thank you for reading!