This was one of the most buzzed about romance novels of 2019 and the highly anticipated release of Jimenez’s followup, The Happy Ever Playlist, is Tuesday, so I thought it was the perfect time to post my review. I’ve got EXTREMELY complicated feelings about both books but I think Jimenez is a very skilled writer, so I hope that comes across in my reviews. I wrote this when I read The Friend Zone back in 2019, so it’s in no way influenced by my feelings about The Happy Ever Playlist. I’ll be posting my review for that on release day!
It’s not required that you read The Friend Zone prior to The Happy Ever Playlist, but… let’s just say that the events of the first book influence the events of the second.
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Loved some things, HATED others
I am so undeniably torn about this book. I was granted an extended preview before the book was published and was absolutely HOOKED on the story. It was funny and light with sizzling chemistry between our couple and the promise of plenty of depth to the relationship. As time went on and The Friend Zone continued to gather critical acclaim, I wanted to read it more and more. So when I finally sat down to do so… I was kind of devastated to discover that I had some major issues with the heroine, Kristen. She sucked all the chemistry out of the relationship by unleashing some of my least favorite things – emotional cheating, friends with benefits (when there are clearly feelings involved), dishonesty towards the hero, and pushing him to see other women. If their relationship was supposed to be based on friendship, then Kristen is a HORRIBLE friend to Josh.
That being said, I loved a whole lot about the book. There are some great moments, especially early on as Kristen and Josh start to fall for each other. The writing itself is really solid, especially for a debut novel. I also loved the infertility storyline (which is a major part of the book), because it’s not something you read about often in romance novels and it was done really well (until the ending). I just wish Kristen had been more honest with Josh, because it was obvious that he had feelings for her and her continued insistence that their relationship was only about sex really grated after awhile. Plus, she wasn’t there for him during a time in his life when he could’ve used a friend in a big way. She’s honestly not very nice to either guy in her life, and the way her breakup with Tyler was handled left a definite bad taste in my mouth.
Ultimately, what starts out as a promising, light and fun rom com turns into a serious angst fest with a heroine who thinks she knows best. A lot of the drama could’ve been solved if she was just honest with the guys in her life (poor Josh goes through SO MUCH HEARTACHE because Kristen kept him out of the loop). Clearly, this book sparked a reaction in me, which means that it was successful in some way. I am actually looking forward to reading the author’s next book because the potential for greatness is definitely there.
Let me leave you with this tip: if you haven’t read The Friend Zone yet (but plan to), do NOT read the blurb for Abby Jimenez’s next book.
Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/3b45bIr
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/34voCaX
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.
Releases Tuesday, April 14th
From the USA Today best-selling author of The Friend Zone comes an adorable and fresh romantic comedy about one trouble-making dog who brings together two perfect strangers.
Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can’t seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a “take me home” look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker’s owner reaches out. He’s a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back.
Well, Sloan’s not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can’t deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There’s no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?