Etta

Book Review: Life’s Too Short (The Friend Zone #3) (ARC)

Expected publication: April 6th 2021, 384 pages

Author: Abby Jimenez

A brilliant and touching romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of The Friend Zone and The Happy Ever After Playlist.

Vanessa lives life on her own terms — one day at a time, every day to its fullest. She isn’t willing to waste a moment or miss out on an experience when she has no idea whether she shares the same fatal genetic condition as her mother. Besides, she has way too much to do, traveling the globe and showing her millions of YouTube followers the joy in seizing every moment.

But after her half-sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her infant daughter, she is housebound, on mommy duty for the foreseeable future, and feeling totally out of her element.

The last person she expects to show up offering help is the unbelievably hot lawyer who lives next door, Adrian Copeland. After all, she barely knows him. But as they get closer, Vanessa realizes that her carefree ways and his need for a structured plan could never be compatible for the long term. Then again, she should know better than anyone that life’s too short to fear taking the biggest risk of all. .

I read Abby Jimenez first in early 2020 with the first novel in this series and have been hooked ever since. Once I found out there was another novel, I immediately had to get my hands on it. Her novels are just a joy to read and I found myself not even a tiny bit worried that I would be disappointed by this one. In fact, I loved this novel! Originally, I was confused about how this story related to the other two in the series. Once details were revealed, then I had a few moments of revelation. Adrian Copeland, the leading man in this novel is the cousin of Josh from The Friend Zone, who shared that novel with Kristin. Adrian went on a date with Sloane, Kristin’s best friend, and leading lady in The Happy Ever After Playlist. The characters from the previous novels are not front-and-center in Life’s Too Short, but it was a happy reunion moment when they made a brief appearance!

Vanessa Price is a 28-year-old, YouTube ultra-famous travel vlogger. As the synopsis states, out of the blue she gets saddled with an infant to take care of after her step-sister, who is battling a drug/pill addiction drops her off one day and does not want her back. Vanessa’s career stalls and she has been in a bubble as she tries to figure out how she can manage to make money if she can’t travel around. Before any super main events in the story began, for me, this created an interesting tangent of thought. There are millions of influencers, who make their money either by looks, travel, or whatever else, but it makes you wonder what they will do with their lives if it all comes crashing down for any reason (age, illness, family, etc.) This was not a main plot in the story, but it did make me stop to think about what a contingency plan for an influencer actually looks like (if it even exists at all).

Adrian Copeland is a criminal defense attorney and also happens to be Vanessa’s neighbor. Their first official meeting occurs in the early hours of the morning when Grace, Vanessa’s infant niece, is screaming non-stop and Adrian goes over there to talk to her. It is a cute meeting as it was adorable how Adrian pretty much instantly feel for Vanessa and her “relaxed” appearance complete with baby vomit in her hair. They agree to become friends and soon both of their eyes are open to living life opposite of their own. Adrian’s life is very work-centric and he likes to be in control of situations around him for fear of things going wrong. Vanessa, having a 50/50 chance of inheriting a rapid progressive form of ALS that claimed the lives of multiple women in her family, lives life to the fullest and looks at every moment as if it’s the last.

Normally, I do not include quotes in my reviews, but this one stuck out and stayed with me as it rings very true for many people, myself included sometimes:

“You suffer from One Day Syndrome.” He wrinkled his brows. “What?”
“One Day Syndrome. You live your life like there’ll always be one day to do all the things you put off. One day you’ll take the trip. One day you’ll have the family. One day you’ll try the thing. You’re all work and not enough play. Money can’t make you happy unless you know what you want, Adrian. So what do you want?”

There are a lot of obstacles that get in the way to prevent you from living your dreams, whether they are big or small. Vanessa gets Adrian out of his shell and Adrian helps Vanessa grow as well. They banter with each other and have disagreements without officially being a couple for most of the novel. I loved their friendship and how they got to know each other. Adrian pretty much loved Vanessa from the moment he saw her and would do anything she asked. He has his own issues that he is going through, so it was nice that Vanessa was there to support him just like he was there for hers.

Vanessa is a fantastic character and you hope you never have to be in her shoes with ALS on the brain at all times. From talking to other people about this novel, I realized I was in the minority for three issues I had with her. There is a misunderstanding at one point between Vanessa and Adrian that makes things awkward between them. Vanessa chooses to ignore talking about it as she assumes Adrian will move on. For me, it seemed very out of character for her seize every moment type attitude. She also is an advocate for seeking outside help (rehab, therapy, counseling, etc.), but it did not add up why she never went for any of her own demons (she has her health, her family, and her general well-being). My last one is not an actual issue with the character, but more I could not understand, no matter how much I thought about, her reasoning behind not wanting to go through testing to rule out other illnesses. I am in full support of not seeking experimental treatment, if that’s her choice, but, for me, the moment I know a disease is hereditary and I have the resources to take every test imaginable to rule it out, then I would take the short time to be poked and prodded. If my diagnosis comes back positive for another disease, then I have a course of action. If my diagnosis comes back negative inconclusive or negative, then I know I at least know and can life my life from there.

Even though I have some parts of Vanessa’s character I did not agree with, I still loved the way she was written and I fully understand how her and Adrian make a great couple.  She goes through a ton of growth in this novel and it was heart-warming to be on the journey with her. The novel is told from both Vanessa and Adrian’s point of views, which was great to see what was going through their heads at any point in time. Usually with duel-point of view stories, the two characters are on equal footing with playing the main roles in the story. In this one, I felt that Vanessa was the star and Adrian was a very close second as a lot of the reader’s thoughts are centered on Vanessa’s journey compared to Adrian – at least that was how it was in my reading.  Abby Jimenez has created another fantastic tale that completing captivates you from the first sentence. I felt compelled to continue reading it and felt bad for putting it down because it was so entertaining. I absolutely cannot wait for another addition to this series or anything else that Abby writes!

**I want to give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Forever, for a review copy of this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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