Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Also by this author: The Happy Ever After Playlist,
Source: Libby (My Library app)
Kristen Petersen doesn't do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don't get her. She's also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.
Planning her best friend's wedding is bittersweet for Kristen -- especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He's funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he'd be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it's harder and harder to keep him at arm's length.
6 Reasons I Loved The Friend Zone
It should be noted, that I read this book as Abby Jimenez’s debut, before I could get my hands on The Happy Ever After Playlist, the book I was really excited about! But I quickly realized that this book did not deserve to just be a “before” shot of Abby’s writing – because it was absolutely incredible. So here are #### reasons I absolutely adored The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez
1. The complexity of the characters
First of all, Kristen and Josh were wonderfully complex characters. With Kristen, what you see is what you get. She’s is bitingly sarcastic, blunt, honest, strong, has a sharp wit, and is generally a laidback character – when it comes to some things. You don’t let Kristen get hangry ? I loved than anytime she was acting upset or irritated, Josh would just make her a quick sandwich and it was like the magical medicine. She felt so real and relatable, I couldn’t help but love her.
Josh is an amazing hero. He’s the quintessential nice guy, without being disgustingly perfect or having the personality of wonder bread. He was so genuine, endearing, sweet, understanding, patient, and wore his heart on his sleeve. When we were in his perspective (he was often bewildered by Kristen ?), I just really fell for this guy. He loved Kristen so much, and couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t be in a relationship.
2. The Friendship Representation + Banter
Almost as soon as I started this book, I knew this book was the book, the one that really consumes your soul and forces you to love it. Kristen and Josh’s meet-cute wasn’t love at first sight – I’m pretty sure it was dislike and irritation that marked the moment that Josh rear-ended Kristen’s car… after she slammed on the brakes, but of course she wouldn’t admit that. And then he ended up being the best man in her best friend Sloan’s wedding? tsk. But after Sloan volunteers Josh as Kristen’s temporary employee once her carpenter quits, she agrees to try and set her dislike aside for the sake of their working relationship, and Sloan’s wedding.
Now that Josh is working out of Kristen’s garage whenever he isn’t on fireman duty… the forced proximity romance was on. Of course, neither was looking to be in a relationship, so when they found out how similar/compatible they were, it was in friendship. They quickly became attached at the hip, and I loved the sincere, mischievous friendship these two shared! The banter was top-notch and made this book so fun to read.
Not to mention the friendship that Kristen showed Sloan. That’s real love and it broke my heart <3
3. Stuntman Mike
Stuntman Mike was an excellent addition to the book, I have to say. Stuntman Mike is the name of Kristen’s beloved dog and companion, and he added so much flair and fun to this book! I’m excited about all future Abby Jimenez books because so far, they all seem to center around a canine companion. I’m in!
4. Workplace/Forced Proximity Romance really did it for me
Y’all know that the fighting-the-attraction trope is a TOP favorite of mine. In this one, we had all the perfect ingredients… workplace romance, forced proximity and they were temporary roommates! At first, he slept on the couch, but you and I both know what happens when there’s only one bed ?
This book was a fight, every step of the way. They may have been friends who definitely loved each other, but Kristen had her hand up and was vehemently against anything resembling a relationship. This was because she was facing a medically necessary procedure that would render her infertile (unknown to Josh), and she knew that he broke up with his last girlfriend because she didn’t want kids.
Sloan: Is Josh still there?
Kristen: Sloan, some serious Alpha male shit is going on right now. I need to focus.
Sloan: What are you talking about?
Kristen: He’s pulled out his gun and he’s showing it to me. It’s HUGE. I’ll call you tomorrow.
5. OCD / Infertility Representation
I loved the representation in this book. The anxiety/OCD representation is subtle and not prominent, but I appreciated it so much. As someone who got corrected on her definition of OCD through a book, I’m always proud to see authors portray it right.
We know from the very beginning that Kristen has period problems. I winced reading that, thinking of the poor souls who are forced to call off work each month for what time hits, because the pain is so bad. But no. It’s so much worse than that. We get the information in pieces, but Kristen’s first period lasted for nineteen days of that severe pain. She has tumors on her uterus that distend her stomach and is literally the strongest person I “know” for all of this. But she’s put up with her condition since she hit puberty, trying failed solution after failed solution to be able to have children one day. But now that it’s affecting her quality of life so much more than before, it’s time.
The representation of Kristen’s condition was horribly adequate. I don’t have these problems, so I can’t say, but I’ve heard from others who have faced similar circumstances and were proud of how it was portrayed here. I read in the Authors Note at the end of this story that Kristen’s journey with her uterus was based almost entirely off a friend of hers, except the friend’s was just that much worse. I loved that Jimenez honored her friend through this story to the end. It gave the conclusion of this book a theme of hope, even when she could’ve buckled in and ended it the way most people probably want her to. But I thought it was absolutely beautiful, start to finish.
6. This was not a fluffy chick-lit book; it was a JOURNEY
I hesitate to call this book a rom-com, even that is technically the official subgenre it’s given. This book was an emotional journey that ripped me in tatters and left me sobbing on the floor and is not to be mistaken for a light and funny book. It starts off that way and is frequently hilarious, but as we get to know the characters more, and as the characters get to know each other more, we follow them on a journey that was so, so emotional and written incredibly well. I never knew what was next, but all I know is that Abby isn’t afraid to break your heart along the way.
7. Overall… a debut??? ????
This book is one of the best debuts I’ve read. It was emotional, hit me right in the feels (and i broke down let me just say) and I couldn’t stop reading! I laughed, grinned, and sobbed my way through this book. I knew this story was absolutely perfect because I finished it and all I felt was
rabid amazement to run and tell everyone about it absolute contentment and satisfaction at the ending for these lovely characters. Of course, I wanted more to read and love, but even more than that, I knew that my characters were happy ?