Review: The Friend Zone (The Friend Zone #1)

Published June 11, 2019, 384 pages

Author: Abby Jimenez

Overview from Goodreads website:

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.

Personal Review

Kristin is a compelling character who had to deal with horrible periods her whole life leading her to the decision to move forward with hysterectomy. Although this would give her relief from a lot of the pain she physically felt every month, it would be very difficult for her to ever have children of her own and is okay with that choice. She doesn’t mind as it fits her lifestyle with her doggie accessory business (clothes for dogs to wear, stairs for small dogs to reach high place – like her own dog, Stuntman Mike – and others) and she has a military boyfriend (Tyler) who is currently deployed. She is brought together with Josh who is new to the area and happens to be the best man in the wedding of his best friend Brandon to Kristin’s best friend Sloane. Kristin has an instant attraction to Josh, but soon finds it easier to put him in the “friend zone” as he wants lots of children. Keeping herself from being romantically interested in Josh is also difficult as he becomes a carpenter that builds stairs for her business. Therefore, this book gives you the classic love triangles (Kristen has an overseas boyfriend – Tyler – and a romantic interest in someone she sees almost every day – Josh) with some new twists added for why the main characters shouldn’t be together.

Kristin is the “cool girl” which can come off as caricature at times as she does everything that’s not typically “girly.” Josh seems to love everything about Kristin as she is his perfect type of girl, even when she’s hangry (although we all would love a partner who takes this in stride).  I can see how this can be a turn-off to certain readers as the “cool girl” type where they love pizza, sweats, etc. can be a bit clichéd as it creates the narrative that there are only two types of girls: the stereotypical girly one and the “cool girl” one. That being said this negative wasn’t that bad to me and the love I felt throughout the book made reading it well worth it and made me a huge fan of the author.  Both characters complemented each other well and it was nice to read how their relationship/friendship developed as they spent more and more time together.

The book alternates between Josh and Kristen as the narrators, which gives a unique perspective into each of their heads throughout the book so you aren’t left guessing what the other one is thinking.  As you explore each new chapter, you learn more and more about how the characters are developing feelings for each other and how the one major issue is affecting them being together and how Tyler might have been the “smarter” option.  The entire novel was very compelling as it shows how you could be a seemingly perfect match (Josh and Kristen) on paper, but there are sometimes non-negotiables in a relationship that could keep you apart.

What a great debut by Abby Jimenez! The story flows nicely and reads as if from an established author. The writing style is easy to read which made it easy to read this novel in a single sitting. It was inspiring to read about Kristen taking charge of her life – she researched and made a decision to aid her pains by getting surgery – and also by being an amazing friend to Sloane throughout the entire novel. Josh was also a great friend to Brandon and Kristen. This was a refreshing take as the two protagonists can be portrayed as jerks to their best friends when they become frustrated with their growing feelings for each other. Although you feel the frustrations, both main characters continued to support their friends which was another reason that this novel remains top-shelf in my book. Despite some flaws with the main characters (normal for all novels as no character is written perfectly), I fell in love with them at the end and the build up to the ending was great writing.

This book is on my re-read list and I can’t wait to read even more by this author!

7 thoughts on “Review: The Friend Zone (The Friend Zone #1)

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