G. Bianco, 2019
Abby Jimenez’s debut novel The Friend Zone has been receiving accolades since it was published last year. This love story sets itself apart from other romance novels through its emphasis on self-worth and infertility.
Kristen Petersen is a no-nonsense kind of girl. She hates drama, is fiercely loyal to her friends and has no time 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.
Kristen’s sarcasm and doesn’t-give-a-sh*t attitude, on top of her physical and emotional strength and fierce loyalty to her friends, make her the perfect imperfect protagonist. She knows she has flaws, and the reader clearly sees them throughout the novel, but she ultimately comes to realize her mistakes and tries to do right by those around her. Even Josh’s big heart and kindness, along with his sexy fireman attitude, makes him a VERY likable character and makes him and Kristen’s romance even more ship-worthy!
While Kristen and Josh have goals and dreams in the beginning of the book, it is through their love for one another that those dreams shift, showing that love has the power to change people and the lengths that people will go to for the ones they love.
Not only do the main characters deal with infertility and self-worth, but loss and grief play big roles in their love story and it is through their struggles that they realize their love for one another has strengthened. It is important to have a support system through tough times and rely on those who care about you. Even if you think you’re sacrificing your happiness for theirs, pushing them away only does more harm. It is this distinction that makes this happy ending different from most romance novels.
Be warned: this romance is not all light and fluffy plot. There are a lot of deeper and more real issues that arise throughout the span of the story. However, it helps set The Friend Zone apart from other fun romance novels. Overall, this is a funny, heartbreaking, and amazing love story that really sheds light on real issues in people’s relationships.
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