Review: The Friend Zone (The Friend Zone, #1) by Abby Jimenez

With such a cliché title (sorry), I feel like I never would’ve touched The Friend Zone if I haven’t read the second book in this series, The Happy Ever After Playlist, first. But this is a case of me learning to never judge a book by its title or its cover (or even the blurb) because by reading this, I was treated to one of the more emotional reading experiences I’ve had this year.

Title: The Friend Zone
Series: The Friend Zone, #1
Author: Abby Jimenez
Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Adult
Rating: ☕☕☕☕☕ (5/5)
Content Warning: highlight to view {Infertility, sudden death of a loved one, grief}

BLURB

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. (via Goodreads)

THOUGHTS

“Love is not a checklist of pros versus cons. It’s a feeling.”

The Friend Zone was such a revelation. I already expected to like it because of how I much I adored The Happy Ever After Playlist but this book felt more fleshed out and I honestly enjoyed it more. Kristen is such a breath of fresh air as a heroine. A sarcastic, no nonsense lady – it’s not too hard to like her as a protagonist. I love how practical she is (though in some ways, it hinders her ability to be actually happy). She’s a perfectionist with a crippling need for approval, a product of her mother setting the bar too high for her that she now thinks she needs to be perfect to be good enough for anyone” – something that hits too close to home more than I would like. It started out with silly banters (which I loved), some awkward encounters straight out of a quintessential romcom – and then it went hard, too hard through to the end.

This took a surprisingly emotional turn by the last quarter of the book and I wasn’t prepared for it. I initially sped-read this in the wee hours of the morning and I found myself overwhelmed with feelings. Then I re-read this but that didn’t make it any easier the second time around. It’s the sort of twist that just blows up in your face even when you know it will happen eventually (as mentioned, I read the second book first). I thought I was signing up for fluff and easy romance, but this book gave me so much more.

I didn’t expect to love The Friend Zone this much. The bumps and loss that the characters experienced lent more dimension and realistic direction to the story. I was practically bawling at dawn in my bed reading the latter parts of this book. I loved Kristen and Josh to the bones. (And Sloan and Brandon, as well) And to highlight menstrual problems and infertility in this book is such a special thing because these are not things that are told often enough. I know there are a couple cries over how infertility was handled poorly here but read the Author’s Note to understand more about the intent.

I know there were some issues here and there and, honestly, the emotional punch by the very end is something (in a way) not wholly directly related to Kristen and Josh’s story – but I am rating this based off of how this made me feel: which was A LOT. I wished I read this before I read The Happy Ever After Playlist as I felt like reading the books in the order it was intended would bring out more in terms of my emotional journey throughout the series. There were a lot of things in the second book that might’ve packed more punch had I fully known the context and the history behind it (it might even be bumped to 4.5). Nonetheless, this book gave me such a roller coaster of emotions. And I feel like this is one of those books that I won’t forget for a time. Read this book. But be prepared and please bring tissues with you – because it would definitely make you an emotional mess. As it did to me. Overall, this is such a good reading experience. I just wish it didn’t hurt this much. It was definitely bittersweet – but it paid off.

Note: Also, I just found out that The Friend Zone series is getting a third book, Life’s Too Short! I’m psyched!

RATING

QUOTABLE QUOTES

It occurred to me that pain was literally a daily part of my world. I took it for granted. I lived with it like someone learns to live with background noise. And I was done doing it.

My perfectionism was something I harnessed and cultivated for my own purposes. Something useful that made me focused so I could get things done. But now it was spiraling. None of the rituals made it better. Nothing shut off the urges or satisfied the feelings of incompleteness. Nothing gave me control again.

“I wish I could love you less. Maybe if I did, I could stomach taking this dream from you. But I don’t know how to even begin letting someone give up something like that for me. I would feel like apologizing every day of my life.”

“Josh?” “What?” “It’s quiet,” she said. “What is?” I asked gently. “My mind. It’s finally quiet. It’s only quiet when I’m with you.”

I WANT THIS.

GET THE BOOK! >> Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Fullybooked (by special request)

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Auditor by profession and a 'round-the-clock geek 🤓 from the 🇵🇭. I'm a coffee-holic INTJ with an unhealthy obsession with books and stationery. I word-vomit over at Twitter and posts book pics at Instagram: @pagesandcc . I also blog at https://pagesandcoffeecups.com/ .

2 thoughts on “Review: The Friend Zone (The Friend Zone, #1) by Abby Jimenez

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