Review: Ten Below Zero by Whitney Barbetti

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Review

5 “squeeze, squeeze, squeeze” stars!

Ten Below Zero is the first book I have read by Whitney Barbetti and I know it won’t be my last. I was nervous to read this book because of the blurb. Knowing one of the characters is dying left me worried about the ending because as many people know, I LOVE HEAs. I am so glad I took a chance on this book though because I ended up loving it. It’s an beautiful romance that made me laugh, cry, and swoon.

Parker is emotionless. Attacked when she was younger, she was left physically and emotionally scared. She had a tough upbringing, bounced around foster homes, and never felt a connection with another person. After the attack, she closed herself off and was left numb, barely living. She watches from the sidelines and doesn’t experience anything. Content to just observe, she misses out on everything life has to offer.

Then, a random text message meant for someone else shows up on her phone and changes her life completely. She decides to go along with it and meet up with the mysterious texter, Everett, who is expecting to meet a Sarah. What he doesn’t expect is someone like Parker.

Parker and Everett don’t exactly hit it off during their intial meeting, but there is something about the two of them that brings them together over and over again. They find they are similar in so many ways. Both have scars, and not just the ones you can see. Both are rude yet honest, they speak their mind, and they have a connection that they can’t seem to shake.

Then Parker learns Everett’s secret. Everett is dying. His cancer has returned for a third time and he is so tired of fighting it. Everett has decided to let the cancer run its course while he fulfills his bucket list. He is determined to spend his final time on earth enjoying life and convinces Parker to accompany him on his road trip across the US. With a list of both serious and silly rules, they set out on their adventure.

Over time you see the changes that Parker goes through. In the beginning, she is cold.

“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.”

But Everett begins to bring Parker out of her shell and away from the scars she hides behind. She begins to thaw. He makes her feel things she has never felt before and he really sees and understands her.

“You think no one notices you. You think you can sit back and watch everyone else and they don’t watch you. But guess what, Parker? You are hiding in plain sight. I see you. I see the parts you don’t want anyone to see.”

The intensity between the characters is raw and passionate. They fight their feelings and try to keep things casual. Of course, the connection between Everett and Parker becomes too strong to deny and they can’t get enough of each other. The new emotions make Parker want a different future for Everett. She wants him to fight for his life, but Everett has accepted his fate.

“I don’t want to merely exist, Parker. I want to live. I want to leave the world with that one sweet moment. I want to take. I want to dominate a memory. So when I’m gone, a part of me is left to live somewhere else.”

What willl the future bring for this couple when their relationship seems doomed from the start?

In the beginning, the characters took me by surprise. I can’t say I loved them right away. They were both rude, harsh, cold, and unfriendly. Slowly over time, however, they grew on me and I saw the reason why they acted the way they did. I loved Parker and Everett together. They ended up being a perfect match and exactly what the other needed. I loved that Everett accepted Parker for who she was and never tried to change her. He pushed her to live and opened Parker up to love.

He touched my heart. “You’re not ten below zero, Parker. Not in here. You’re warm. A little broken, but warm.”

Their interactions were sweet, sexy, and hilarious, and Everett and Parker’s relationship was intense and emotional. I loved their banter and how they challenged each other.

The epilogue was perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing. The writing was beautiful and had the abilty to produce so much emotion. Whitney has captured my attention and I can not wait to see what else she has up her sleeve.

“I went on a road trip across the country, hoping to find one sweet moment somewhere along the way. Instead, I found them all in you.”

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