Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Review: Ten Below Zero by Whitney Barbetti

Series: Stand Alone
Release Date: August 28, 2014
Publisher: Whitney Barbetti
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★ ½

“In here,” he said, pushing on the skin above my heart, “you're ten below zero. And you’re closer to death than I am.”

My name is Parker. My body is marked with scars from an attack I don’t remember. I don’t want to remember. I choose to live my life by observation, not through experience. While people are laughing and kissing and connecting, I’m in the corner. Watching them live. I’m indifferent to everything, everyone. The only emotion I feel with any kind of depth is annoyance, and I feel it often.

A text message sent to the wrong number proves to be my undoing.

His name is Everett, but I call him rude. He’s pushy, he’s arrogant, he crowds my personal space, and worst of all: he makes me feel.

He chooses to wear all black, all the time, as if he’s waiting to attend a funeral. Probably because he is.

Everett is dying. And he’s spending his final days living, truly living. In doing so, he’s forcing me to feel, to heal. To come face to face with the demons I suppressed in my memory.

He hurts me, he fulfills me, he completes me. And still, he's dying.

What a mess I was, reading this book. Barbetti had me feeling all the feels, cursing my emotions throughout most of this book.  Ugly crying is not a favorite past time of mine, but I did it. A lot.

You get from the synopsis that Parker was a victim of a brutal attack. That attack changed how she lived her life, dramatically.  She has no family to help her process the terror she lived through. She was alone before the event and is determined to stay that way after. She's cold, but in a very honest way.  She isn't living off of bitter resentment that has turned her into a bitch. It felt more like just a survival instinct. If you don't care about anything, you can't be hurt by anything.

Everett feels all too much. He too lives very honestly, but in such a different way.  He has an inherent need to help people and Parker becomes his next...or his last, project.   Everett is such a great character. He's that asshole you love because it's so obvious that it comes from a good place.  Parker is much the same.

Even though you know that Everett is dying and you keep telling yourself not to fall in love with this story or him or to root for this romance - Barbetti gives you little choice. You HAVE to root for their love. It's so heartbreaking and gorgeous and fucking honest. And I cried like a little bitch for them.

I guess I've said honest a few times now. But that is what I took away from Ten Below Zero. It's an honest love story, wrapped in tragedy and full of those bullshit emotions you secretly love to feel.

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