cws for this book: mention of death, grief, mention of anxiety
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!
While I adored Get a Life, Chloe Brown, it fell a little flat for me in comparison to this one. Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert is about Dani, the middle sister of the Brown family, who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in women’s studies and after a heartbreak years ago, has sworn off romance in favor of friends-with-benefits relationships. Dani gets stuck in an elevator during an evacuation drill, the friendly building security guard comes to her rescue—but when a video of the two goes viral online, Dani and Zafir are left in an awkward position. Zaf, a former rugby player, is recognized online and donations are pouring into his charity due to the publicity. Dani, feeling they are destined to sleep together, agrees to fake-dating. But as Zaf develops feelings for Dani, and Dani wonders if her desire is solely sexual, lines begin to blur and it becomes unclear what is fake and what is real about their relationship.
This book and the former one in the series have both been quite popular over the past few months on the book internet. I enjoyed it a little more than Chloe Brown; I felt the characters were a little more fleshed-out in this one. I am starting to get further into the adult romance genre, and I really found this to be well done and sucked me further into the genre. The writing was super readable and created a story that was fast-paced.
In terms of plot, this was my 15-year-old fanfiction-reading-self’s dream. FAKE?? DATING?? Amazing. I really connected with Dani, as we share a lot of similarities—a huge one being our field of study. The romance was really cute and organic, and the conflict in the third act (my largest critique of Chloe Brown) felt realistic and added to the relationship. I really appreciated both characters being POC and the wholesome relationships that both Dani and Zaf have with their families. Both characters also had a lot of development throughout the book (but especially Dani) which was really awesome to watch.
Something Dani really struggled with, both in her academic and personal life was the feeling of inadequacy. Despite being a total genius, badass, and knockout, she still struggles with imposter syndrome in her work and feels like she is not enough in her relationships, which is what caused her to write-off romance in the first place. This book really showcases the importance of surrounding yourself with people that encourage you and knowing your worth.
If you’re looking for a romance that is sexy, sweet, funny, and full of genuine care, you will love this book. Especially for anyone familiar with the pressures of academia or going through a bad breakup, this is a great antidote to the stress you are feeling. I am really looking forward to the final book in the series, Act Your Age, Eve Brown coming out in March 2021.