“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.
Whitney Barbetti and Ten Below Zero is all of the good in my world. All of my feels in the world splayed out across 280 pages of emotional goodness.
I’ve never connected more to a character than I have Parker. (Unless we are talking about Senna from Mud Vein.) And that alone makes this one incredible read. Parker’s characteristics makes the book what it is. And even if you disagree with that, Everett is a whole different story. That broody, seatbelt loving, eye roll hating, asshole is incredible. I don’t care what you or you or you say about it.
I feel like if you can’t connect to Whitney’s writing in TBZ you’ll be done for. Close the book. Put it away. Don’t even tarnish my views on it. But once you sit back and let her writing and story and message consume you and just flow around you you’ll feel like you’re actually in a place that you belong in. Full of not just one sweet moment but so many sweet moments that you can’t wait to bottle up and keep with you forever.
Maybe there was a tear or two whilst reading this again. Maybe. You’ll never know and I’ll never tell you.
DISCLAIMER: I’m very disappointed in you if you have never read this book. I’ve also contemplated our friendship if you haven’t. Read the book. Feel the things. Squeeze MF squeeze squeeze.