Editorial note: I received a copy of The Friend Zone in exchange for a review.
The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez is such a fantastic story. A rom-com full of depth with scenes that will no doubt hit you right in the feels.
I’ve heard such good things about this book prior to reading it. In fact, I’m fairly certain pretty much everyone on #bookstagram already read The Friend Zone. I don’t know what took me so long, honestly. It might be I just didn’t feel like reading a book on my Kindle or I was occupied with other commitments. But I’m so glad I finally read this story—different from what I expected, in the best way possible.
Kristen Peterson 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.
Wit and heart
The story started off as typical rom-coms do—two people trying to deny their attraction to each other. I actually expected this one to be fairly light—and it definitely is for a bit. But when Kristen finally tells her friend Sloan about her medical condition and inability to have children, the story takes a different turn.
There’s still plenty of comedy and steamy scenes and it balances well with the more serious topics this one addresses. I don’t think I’ve read a main character in a long time dealing with a medical illness and it made this story feel much more real compared to others. We really follow Kristen’s complicated journey, especially as she falls for Josh, a man who can’t wait to have a ton of children. But there’s also a tragic event that happens that was shocking but also, sadly, rings true in life sometimes.
Read in one sitting
I absolutely could not put this book down and stayed up way too late reading it—a sign of an impactful novel. It reminded me of some Taylor Jenkins Reid’s earlier work in contemporary fiction. These are stories that really show the human experience—the happiness, joy and pleasure but also the frustration, disappointments and tragedies. The characters in the stories really do feel real and even though it ends, it’s like life—there’s still events happening.
I’m so glad we have writers like this tackling real subjects—there’s talk about periods, women enjoying sex; focusing on a successful career; wanting a family (whether that involves a partner, children, or both), etc. Of all the stories out there, contemporary stories are the most relatable.
Final review thoughts: a sweet, funny and, at times, heartbreaking read about two people navigating life.
Check out my book club questions here.