The story is simple. Boy like Girl. Girl likes Boy. Girl’s dog likes Boy. Girl has a medical issue that’ll keep her from having children. Boy wants to have a “baseball team” of kids. Well, I guess the story isn’t that simple.
The Friend Zone is about Kristen and Josh. Kristen is a young entrepreneur creating fun dog accessories for smaller pets. She and her pooch, Stuntman Mike, live in a little apartment in LA. Josh is a young guy who just moved to LA after being in the military. He’s a firefighter who’s best friend, Brandon, is about to marry Kristen’s best friend, Sloan. But because of Kristen’s reproductive issues and Josh’s want for a big family, she believes it’s better that they just remain friends. Sadly, no one told Josh this news and they begin a pretty tumultuous relationship where they try to be friends with benefits, but we all know that doesn’t work.
I related a lot with Kristen. While I don’t have infertility issues or the level of OCD she has, I do feel like I’m never good enough. I don’t know if you can chalk it up to my upbringing, but I can tell you now that when you don’t think you’re good enough, you are down on yourself a lot. I spend a lot of my time convincing myself that everything’s already; that not everything needs to be perfect. I have to remind myself that what I’m doing is enough and more than enough. I overcompensate a lot. And I felt a lot of what Kristen felt even down to the professional career as a pianist (which would have never happened for me, it was just something my mom pushed for).
I think the biggest theme in this book (and also a note from the author) is Kristen’s reproductive issues. I have friends who suffered from tumors and nodes in their uterus with painful cramping and constant bleeding. I’ve seen coworkers take days off or go home early hinged at the waist and doubled over because the pain is so bad. I’ve seen friends cry because of the pain and go home because they aren’t having fun. It’s debilitating. Their lives aren’t the best lives especially with the slew of medical issues and it literally getting in the way of them doing anything. Kristen’s issues are so bad that she’s been considering a hysterectomy for most of the novel to reduce the amount of cramping and bleeding she does monthly. I thought it was amazing that Abby Jimenez brought this up. I haven’t read a book like this (with mostly all the books I read as two very healthy human adults with their body parts in full working order) and it gives the story a level of trouble the two need to work out.
While the book starts off funny and sweet like most rom coms, it does get super serious towards the end. I don’t want to give it away, but get ready to cry. I had to put this book down 100 pages away from the end because it was too intense. I was on the verge of tears and reading the last 100 pages were pretty hard for me. Even knowing that the book is going to be sad didn’t give me enough time to prepare. I got blindsided and whoa, it was intense. I almost considered whether or not this move was a good one on Abby’s part. Did it make sense with the rest of the book? I think the jury’s still out on that one.
But overall, such a sweet story. I love a good friends-to-lovers without the added sarcasm between the two characters. The writing wasn’t the most sophisticated, but it was visual and conveyed all the emotions. I think I ran the gamut of emotions throughout this novel, so you won’t ever be bored.