The Friend Zone Review by Abby Jimenez
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
This is not going to be a typical review in our typical Words About Words format. I did not have that many points and instead wanted to have more of a discussion on a few topics.
CW: infertility, character death
I went into this book thinking it was going to be a fun romantic comedy that dealt with infertility. I was expecting a book that dealt with serious issues, but with a humorous tone. I love when media is able to deal with sensitive issues well, but also be funny (think of the Brooklyn Nine-Nine episodes that dealt with racial profiling or the #MeToo movement).
In this book we follow Kristen and Josh. Kristen does believe she can have children, while Josh broke up with his last girlfriend because she did not want to have kids. As a result, Kristen is trying not to fall for Josh. But since he is best friends with her best friend’s fiancé they are stuck with each other.
Already, I was a little apprehensive with the title. I mean The Friend Zone is catchy, but I truly do not like the whole thing where men complain about being ‘friendzoned’ and all that. The novel does not fall into this trap and I was pleasantly surprised to see that Josh was okay being friends with Kristin (for the most part).
I LOVED the first 40%. It was exactly what I wanted. We dealt with the series issues and the banter was so much fun. Both Josh and Kristen were great main characters. The humor was fun, and Kristen was hilarious, very honest, and extremely frank at times. I was laughing out loud at points.
The first thing that started bothering me was that Kristen has a boyfriend in the beginning. I guess this was necessary to establish the friend zone aspect, but I do not like love triangles (especially when we clearly know who is going to end up together). I would have liked to spend the time we spent with the boyfriend (I forgot his name) to be spent with either Kristen or Josh and their plots or seeing them interact with their friends more.
I also was so OVER all the miscommunication. Kristen refuses to tell Josh that she can’t have kids and it goes on for way longer than necessary. As a result of her keeping something this big from him, she goes hot and cold with him. I would be okay with this, I mean it is a big part of her life and will change their dynamic, but it is sooooo dragged out. I was getting tired of this and I was not even living it.
Another comment I have seen is that women who do not want children who read this were not okay with how this book makes it seem like women need children to be happy. While reading this, I noticed that there was a lot of focus on Kristen thinking she would never be happy or fulfilled because she can’t have children. I think this would have been fine, if the author clearly stated that this was just how Kristen viewed her future, and not how every woman feels.
What made me upset is the book gets majorly dark at about 60% in. Josh and Kristen have a fight and then suddenly something shocking happens to their friend group and the book takes a different turn. Then the rest of the novel is bittersweet because of this event. I do not have a problem with emotional and heartbreaking stories, but since I had only seen this being promoted as being “funny” and having “cute banter” I did not plan on it taking a dark turn and I was not pleased about this.
I originally was not going to give this a star rating because it felt unfair to rate a book which I had such different expectations for and then get mad that it did not meet those expectations. But, in the end since I feel that my critiques of the miscommunication and love triangle are valid, I will. This is by no means a bad book and if you like romance with some angst and drama, you probably will like this one. I mean it is getting rave reviews and I have only seen two other people with even semi negative reviews of this.
*Thank you so much to Forever Publishing & NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review*
Goodreads Link: The Friend Zone