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New Release Review! THE FRIEND ZONE by Abby Jimenez

The Friend Zone cover

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.

The Friend Zone will have you laughing one moment and grabbing for tissues the next as it tackles the realities of infertility and loss with wit, heart, and a lot of sass.

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Review:

There were so many things about this book that I really liked–Ms. Jimenez’s snarky sense of humor; the quirky characters she created in Josh, Kristen, Sloane, and Branden and the many, many snort-worthy situations she put them all in; Stuntman Mike’s fabulous t-shirt collection; and the absolutely amazing chemistry between Kristen and Josh. I have massive amounts of love for Josh, and love Kristen almost as hard.

But…

…this book is so hard to read at parts. First of all, Kristen’s decision to single-handedly decide for both halves of their coupledom how things should/are going to be Drove. Me. Nuts. She kept her infertility and medical issues from Josh for way too long and used them as an excuse to make them both miserable. This really didn’t feel okay about 95% of the time. The underlying reasons for her mistaken beliefs here are what keep it from being 100%–but it takes a really long time for those reasons to be revealed, which added to my frustration. The story takes a turn that I really was not expecting in the second half and everything gets a bazillion times worse–and then just when the reader is daring to feel hopeful again, we’re slammed with an even worse situation. Add in the relationship (non-relationship?) issues that Kristen and Josh are having during that time, and OMG “hard to read” started to feel like the understatement of the century. Things even out into a new normal eventually, but be warned–this is definitely not a light and fluffy read from start to finish.

Then there’s the end…I’m still not completely sure how I feel about the ending. On the one hand, I was very happy for the characters, but on the other–it felt like a convenient out. Reading the author’s note made me feel a little better–knowing the research she’d done, the (second hand) personal experience she had, and having her acknowledge that Kristen didn’t need what happened to find her HEA–but I still don’t know. Perhaps I’d feel differently if Kristen’s problems were something I had personal experience with?

Either way, you’d better believe I’ll be here for Ms. Jimenez’s next book–I have to see how things are going to turn out for the character whose book it’s going to be. One aspect of the plot will be something I have strong feelings about, though (and personal experience with this time), so fingers crossed that Ms. Jimenez manages to stay away from my biggest pet peeves there. (Vague, I know. I’m working hard to avoid spoilers here!)

I listened to the audio version, and I 100% recommend both narrators. They did a fabulous job, and were a joy to listen to even when they story itself made listening hard.

Rating: 4 stars / B+

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