by Abby Jimenez
2019, 367 pages
“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.”
I read The Friend Zone this past weekend. I picked it up on a whim because the title called to me. I read the synopsis on the back and the main character and I seemed to have a lot in common, so I checked it out. It is a fast-paced book, and the more I read, the more I found I had in common with Kristen, the main character. As a result, I couldn’t put it down. I finished it within twenty-four hours. I find that I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I absolutely cannot decide whether or not I liked it. When I read some reviews of other readers, I found that most people either loved it or hated it. A handful of us fell in the middle.
What I didn’t like about it:
There were a lot of f-bombs. I’m not the kind of person who refuses to read books with language, but the sheer amount of f-bombs in this was astounding. They were in places that I didn’t expect them to be, though, thankfully, not in the middle of words. I hate that.
I wasn’t really satisfied with the ending. I found it predictable in the worst sort of way, and I just needed it to be different. I will expound on this later, but it will contain spoilers.
What I did like about it:
I could relate to the main character. While, Kristen and I are not exactly the same, we are similar in a lot of ways. I tend to enjoy books more when I can put myself in the characters’ shoes.
The author includes references to things I love, such as ewoks and velociraptors.
It is written in alternating points of view. The chapters alternate between Kristen’s point of view and Josh’s point of view. It was nice to have the inner thoughts of both characters, to see how they react differently to the same situation.
The central point of this story is that, whatever your imperfections, faults, or deficiencies, you are enough. You are worth it. I think this is great message that we don’t see often enough, especially in stories with a romantic theme.
What I didn’t expect:
I did not expect the romance aspect of it. Sure, I figured that there would be a romantic angle. However, I suddenly found myself in the middle of a steamy scene that I was not expecting. The author says that on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being very steamy, it rates at about a 4. I can agree with that. It wasn’t very steamy. It just happened rather suddenly.
*** Spoiler Alert ***
The entire plot of this book culminates in Kristen’s realization that it doesn’t matter whether or not she can have children, because Josh loves her regardless and he wants her more than anything else. It took a long time and continuous effort on Josh’s part for Kristen to understand that she is enough. As I said before, that is a great message to give to readers. However, that was completely undone by the last chapter. After an entire book of repeated descriptions of the many reasons why it’s impossible for Kristen to ever get pregnant, suddenly, she is pregnant. I feel as though this was done just for the sake of a happy ending. Everyone gets what they want. Kristen gets Josh, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that he loves her and not the fact that she can give him children, and Josh gets his biological family with the woman he loves. I’m not mad at a happy ending, but I do feel that it completely negates the journey that it took for Kristen to get there. It seems like a lot of unnecessary drama for someone who “doesn’t do drama.”
I can forgive this predictable ending simply because I enjoyed the rest of the book quite a bit, and a little because I’m a lover of bad movies. I do appreciate the book for what it is trying to accomplish and the effort that the author put into that goal. In the end, I gave it three stars. If you read it, please let me know what you think!