As someone who works in the tech industry, I was thrilled to read a book where the female lead is a programmer. I work in a largely male dominated industry, and seeing female STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) representation in the books I read really feels like a step forward. Get a Life, Chloe Brown is a decent read with great diversity and charactesr but with a major pacing and plot issues.
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…
The beginning of this book really got my hopes up – it had a great balance of character introductions, plot exposition, and moved at a good pace. Unfortunately that pace was not maintained throughout – the middle mostly dragged. It started to feel repetitive – it could have been greatly reduced without changing the amount of character growth or meaningful events. The end did pick the pace back up a bit, but not quickly enough to save my investment and overall interest in the book. Overall, the whole book was pretty predictable – it was a pretty generic romance plot with little deviation from the norm. The writing style also felt fairly generic for the genre – not bad, but nothing to write home about.
In terms of diversity of characters, this book really hits the nail on the head. The lead character isn’t in one of the constantly used rom-com jobs (wedding planner, blogger/journalist, or baker). Chloe is a programmer (yay for STEM representation) who freelances from home. Even more refreshing – her career isn’t dropped to the wayside once the romance starts heating up – it’s still core to who she is and her day to day life. I love a career driven woman, and Chloe Brown really delivered on that. Red was a great male lead – he slowly unraveled and showed more depth than I had expected. His career and struggles as an artist felt grounded and realistic – he didn’t have instant success, it was a turbulent journey. Their chemistry was fantastic – it fully leans into the love to hate trope, and honestly I loved it. Even when they hate each other, the sparks flew – and when they fought further down the line, their chemistry made their fights even more explosive.
If you’re looking for a romance that doesn’t use all of the same exhausted tropes – Get a Life, Chloe Brown might be the book for you. If you’re not a fan of the romance genre, or have no tolerance for poor pacing, I would give this book a pass. If you’re on the lookout for other great (better plotted), diverse romance books, check out Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test. 3/5