Romance isn’t my thing. In real life and in books. But I’m more than willing to make an exception for Talia Hibbert. She is a magician. She takes tried and tested tropes and comes up with absolutely stunning masterpieces. I read ‘Get a Life, Chloe Brown’ because so many of my friends were talking/posting about it. Despite my initial skepticism of the genre, I got sucked into the story and it was a happy time. I read the second book in the three-part series this Dashain and it really helped me cope with festival-induced stress.
I was in a good space mentally, constantly thinking about Danika or Dani and Zafir, the main characters of Hibbert’s ‘Take a Hint, Dani Brown’. This charming story about a young woman who agrees to fake date her friend after a video of him ‘rescuing’ her goes viral was named one of the best romances of 2020 by Buzzfeed, Amazon, Bustle, Washington Post, NPR, Kirkus, among many others. Indeed, it’s an exciting story, with some really steamy scenes and heartwarming instances that leave you with the happy kind of butterflies-in-your tummy feeling.
PhD student Danika Brown thinks romantic partners are distractions. She prefers friends-with-benefits. She prays for it too—a sign from the universe that a particular someone could be that person. When a security guard at Dani’s workplace, Zafir Ansari, rescues Dani from a fire drill gone wrong, Dani thinks there couldn’t be a bigger and clearer sign. Then the viral video has the two ‘pretending’ to be romantically involved but feelings run deep on both sides. However, neither is sure of the other’s feelings and doesn’t want to do anything to sabotage their ‘fake’ relationship. Dani fears being in an actual relationship will shift her focus from work. Zafir is a hopeless romantic but he has issues of his own that stop him from getting too close to anyone.
The ending is predictable (obviously, and you wouldn’t want it any other way) but it’s the journey that has your heart racing. Dani and Zafir’s shenanigans made me giggle, roll my eyes, and laugh out loud. The friends-to-lovers trope is so well executed that it doesn’t feel cliché at all. And Dani and Zafir are such loveable characters. You want them to be your friends. No other characters, of the romance genre at least, have had such an impact on me till now. (Wait, did I say that for Chloe and Redford from ‘Get a Life, Chloe Brown’ as well?).
And no, you don’t have to have read Get a Life, Chloe Brown to pick this one up (though I recommend you do) as it is a complete novel in itself. I’m super excited about ‘Act Your Age, Eve Brown’, the story of the youngest Brown sister, but I have a strong feeling that out of the three sisters, Dani will always be my favorite.