Ten Below Zero – Whitney Barbetti

ten below zero

Did not finish

Genre: Romance 

“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.

I tried. I really tried.
Ten Below Zero has fantastic reviews with people fangirling over it, so I figured it would be a good read. Unfortunately, I found it bland, unrealistic, and cringe inducing.

Mild spoilers.

The main character, Parker, is the only positive thing I have to say about the novel. She’s withdrawn yet independent. She knows what she wants even if her wants have changed because of her past. I thoroughly enjoy these types of characters as they come out of their shell and learn to deal with their trauma. The reader quickly learns that Parker is the only surviving victim of a serial killer. A serial killer… I had to pause reading for a moment after learning that bit of information. Serial killers are serious business and when I think about them Criminal Minds is what immediately comes to mind. So, introducing those connotations to a romance novel was jarring to say the least. Nevertheless, I continued reading because the introduction of Everett was intriguing and sexy. Everett is confident and mysterious. However, he becomes so intrigued with Parker and her darkness that he becomes stalkerish. This is where I found the novel unrealistic. Parker is set up as a character that doesn’t take risks and is withdrawn because of the fact that she is the only surviving victim of a serial killer. So, for her to become to drawn to a stranger is completely ridiculous and, quite frankly, irresponsible.

The story then dissolves into a road trip novel. Road trip novels are not my favourite. It’s highly unlikely that two strangers meet up, travel, and fall in love. I’m usually not stuck on the whole ‘realistic’ aspect of a novel, but there were too many inconsistencies with Parker as a character that I couldn’t move past it.

Overall, Ten Below Zero wasn’t for me. If you’re a fan of road trip novels then you’ll most likely enjoy this.

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