The Friend Zone written by Abby Jimenez
Narrated by Teddy Hamilton, Erin Mallon
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Hachette Audio
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Source: Los Angeles Public Library
Length: 9 hrs and 32 mins
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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.
I finally read The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez. Honestly, I have been hesitant to even read this book EVEN THOUGH I requested an ARC for it. I liked the premise and I thought I was brave enough to read it but the publication date had come and gone, and the hype for this book grew and grew, and still, I couldn’t start reading it.
For those of you who are not familiar with me, I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and have been struggling for it for years. Pierre and I are also trying for a baby. I expected to be triggered and emotional, but while I was emotional, I wasn’t triggered at all. This is why I enjoyed this book. Oh, and if you don’t already know yet, Kristen, the heroine, has reproductive issues, which is the central conflict of The Friend Zone.
Points for the rom-com feel
I did not know what to expect when I started listening to the audiobook. But I NEVER expected it to be a legit rom-com! I think this lent a light tone to this very serious health topic. Especially one that is not talked about freely.
The book opens up with a light-hearted and totally LA scene, and I could not help but LOL while listening. This opening scene sets the tone of the whole book – especially with the seriousness of the situation, PLUS another serious non-laughing matter situation that took me unaware.
It’s set in my hood
One thing that really liked about The Friend Zone, is that it is set in Los Angeles. Specifically, in the San Fernando Valley. So the places mentioned were very familiar to me. In fact, Brandon and Sloane (the couple who are getting married) lived in Canoga Park (I live here, BTW). I liked that it was set in the Valley. Usually, LA books are always set in Hollywood (or around that area), so I’m glad for the representation to the normal side of LA!
Because it was also set in my hood, one of the most nerve-wracking scenes in the book added a level of realism for me. That scene was when Josh and his team responded to a motorcycle accident WHILE I WAS STUCK IN LA TRAFFIC! I had cars cutting me left and wright during that time! It was weird and disturbing to be listening to that scene and sorta living it.
Can they just talk now?
The most frustrating about The Friend Zone was Kristen’s hot/cold attitude towards Josh. It was quite obvious that Josh already had feelings for her, and she kept stringing him along and just didn’t talk to him! I GET that Josh wanted a big family, but just tell him to end his suffering! It was a little annoying TBH since it was the main conflict of the book.
While I get why Kristen didn’t want to share her health issues to Josh, she was already falling for him. I just couldn’t get WHY she waited so long to share it. KWIM? While I did not share my issues with Pierre before we got married (culturally, we just couldn’t talk about this, but we do now), Kristen already knew that Josh wanted kids, plus it was clear that they already had feelings for each other. I don’t get that BS about her not knowing Josh’s feeling. Heck, the guy wanted to be exclusive!
Quick Hook-up – gah!
While The Friend Zone doesn’t have a love triangle, Kristen was currently in a relationship when she met Josh. View Spoiler »Hers was a long-distance relationship since her boyfriend was in the military. And while she didn’t cheat on him during their relationship, I found it too gauche that she immediately slept with Josh when she listened to the voicemail that he reenlisted to the military thereby breaking up with her. The situation leading to this was also questionable because she had already been avoiding her boyfriend’s calls and she was hanging out with Josh! Gaaah
Seriously, as someone who was on the other end of this (I was ghosted by an ex while we were on an LDR), it really made me pissed. So yeah, that was not nice, Kristen! « Hide Spoiler
Unnecessary plot device
View Spoiler »There is one unnecessary death that I was not happy with. Why did there have to be a death and why did it have to be THAT death?! I feel like there would have been other plot devices that could have been used to get Kristen to FINALLY commit to Josh. Yeah, I do not get it at all. I mean, I was rooting for Sloane and Brandon!
I was also told that Abby Jimenez wrote Sloane’s book first, so the death had to happen. I still don’t know what I feel about this, but I am looking forward to reading Sloane’s book. « Hide Spoiler
That ending, though!
The ending was a bit bittersweet for me. View Spoiler »As someone who is still having infertility issues AND happily married, I don’t understand why Kristen had to be pregnant in the end. While the author’s note stated that this was not the point, I still wanted Josh and Kristen to be happy WITHOUT kids, just to show that there can be an HEA without having biological kids. I mean, it was the conflict of the book and Josh had already accepted it? Yeah, that surprise pregnancy was not what I wanted the ending to be. « Hide Spoiler
Listening to the audiobook helped
While I have issues with The Friend Zone, I still enjoyed it. I think the audiobook made me like it more, as opposed to just reading it. Erin Malon and Teddy Hamilton are one of the good narrators, so their reading was perfect for me.
I also liked that this book is written in alternating first-person POV because this was a book that needed the hero’s POV. Josh’s POV, especially his confusion about Kristen’s hot/cold attitude, was something I really liked to read and get his perspective.
I know the overall tone of my review sounds negative, it’s really not. I loved that infertility was one of the main conflicts here. I love that periods and cramping and real girl issues were discussed here. I also liked that Josh was very supportive during her period issues. Plus, this book was written really well!
I highly recommend reading The Friend Zone even if you think you might be triggered. I credit the rom-com tone of the book for helping me finish this book.
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Have you read The Friend Zone? If you have, share your thoughts about it!
Does it annoy you when characters have hot/cold attitudes?