The Friend Zone

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Pub Date Jun 11 2019 | Archive Date Sep 01 2023

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A brand new romantic comedy perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Helen Hoang.

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.

"Harnessing sass, heartfelt struggle, and unapologetic sexuality, Jimenez’s debut is as hysterical as it is tear-jerking." - Publishers Weekly, starred review

A brand new romantic comedy perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Helen Hoang.

Kristen Petersen doesn't do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who...

A Note From the Publisher

About the author: Abby Jimenez is a Food Network champion, motivational speaker, and contemporary romance novelist living in Minnesota. Abby founded Nadia Cakes out of her home kitchen back in 2007. The bakery has since gone on to win numerous Food Network competitions and has amassed an international cult following. Abby's wry literary wit was spotlighted as the admin behind the hilarious viral comments on the now famous Nadia Cakes Vageode™ cake.

Abby loves a good romance, coffee, doglets, and not leaving the house. For more on Abby and her writing, visit

About the author: Abby Jimenez is a Food Network champion, motivational speaker, and contemporary romance novelist living in Minnesota. Abby founded Nadia Cakes out of her home kitchen back in 2007...

Advance Praise

"Deliciously hot, sweet." - L.J. Shen, USA Today bestselling author

"Deliciously hot, sweet." - L.J. Shen, USA Today bestselling author

Available Editions

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ISBN 9781538715604
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 266 members

Featured Reviews

This book was beyond amazing. Easily 5 stars. The dialogue, chemistry, witty banter - it was all there. I was LOLing throughout, but this book also made me tear up several times. This book had it ALL and I absolutely loved it. Deeper than your usual rom-com, this was a phenomenal debut. I already pre-ordered and will be recommending to everyone.

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Wow! I powered through this book in one sitting. The anticipation for this book has been killing me, and it totally lived up to its hype.

For those who have fallen in love with Abby’s sense of humor, that totally shows up in this book. But it is a whole lot more than a rom com. This book has heart and heartbreak and all the feels! It takes you for a crazy ride that you don’t want to get off.

I am so happy to have had a chance to read an early copy of this book, and will be recommending it to everybody and certainly purchasing for my library.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Abby Jimenez!!! Where have you been hiding?!?! I fell in love with the book, I couldn't read it fast enough to see what was going to happen to Kristen & Josh...but as soon as I finished it I wanted to start right back at the beginning...I experienced all the feelings throughout this book.
When Kristen meets Josh for the first time to say things go well would be a lie; they end up arguing with one another and Kristen leaves him in a parking lot without his favorite shirt. Cut to 20 minutes later they are officially meeting (thanks to their mutual friends that are engaged) and even though they are both mad at one another they can't deny that the sparks that are flying between them are often and very strong.
When Josh ends up working for Kristen, to pay off some debts, he doesn't expect to learn that this ball buster of a woman is actually very sweet, almost vulnerable in some ways....he doesn't expect to fall head over heels for her. Kristen hires Josh as a means to an end, her business shouldn't have to suffer because she can't separate her personal feelings from business...but again, Kristen doesn't expect to find a calm, funny, giving man beneath that gorgeous exterior. As fate would have it, Kristen can't do the one thing that Josh is looking forward to the most. As they battle the growing attraction between them, their lives will be upended from a tragedy that will make them look closer to what they really want from life and each other.
I was crying in one breath then laughing out loud in my next one....Abby Jimenez has written something very special and I can't wait to see what else she does!

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I had to read this book twice, just to make sure I fully absorbed everything. This book gave me all the feels, I laughed, I cried, I wanted to punch a wall. This is a book I feel everyone should read at least once, if not more. I know I plan on reading it again, just in case I missed anything the first two times I read it. I love how the author lead with humor while really driving home the message that you are enough the way you are. Of course it was tinged with romance and humor, but that didn't take away from the meaning of the story. It really brought to the forefront that we really are our own worst enemies. I cannot wait to read more from this author, its been a long long time since a new author has made me sit back and just say "wow".

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I'm amazed by Abby Jimenez's ability to write a romance dealing with the main topic of infertility.

I was pulled into The Friend Zone from the very first chapter. There were some gut-wrenching moments when I couldn't stop myself from spilling tears but also so many moments where the sarcastic humor was freaking awesome.

The first time we meet the main characters Kristen Peterson and Josh Copeland is when they were involved in a fender bender. Their first interaction didn't go that great. Their second one was a little bit better.

Kristen runs her own business. Her company makes products for dogs including ladders to help small dogs climb, she makes cute little shirts too. In regards to her personal life, she's dating a marine Tyler (who's overseas), has a cute little dog (who hates the marine), doesn't have a close relationship with her mother and she's dealing with a medical condition that will end up in infertility.
The moment she meets Josh, she knows she's in trouble. He's handsome, super nice and available as her new carpenter on his days off. She has never cheated and she won't start now. Making Josh believe she has no interest in him is a priority. She will wear unattractive clothes, no makeup, and even rulers to prevent him from getting any ideas.

Josh has recently moved to California to be closer to his best friend Brandon who's getting married soon. He's joining the same firehouse as him but his new status as probie is not a fun one. He's frustrated with some of the calls they get. Some are completely and truly unnecessary. As for his personal life, his last relationship ended on a bad note. He wanted kids and his girlfriend didn't. He let her have everything they had but his credit card balance is still quite high. He needs cash fast to pay his debts and when an offer to be Kristen's new carpenter presents, he has no other choice but to take it. He discovers that he likes Kristen. He likes her sense of humor, her honesty, and her loyalty. He realizes she's not a cheater but he wants her in his life.

Kristen and Josh are both very creative characters. I love both. Kristen was funny, sarcastic and a true friend to Sloan. Yes, I got annoyed at Kristen more than once for pushing Josh away but I understood why she did it.
Josh was perfect. He had my heart. He was understanding and dedicated to Kristen and his best friend Brandon. He fell for Kristen's dog too (which is a bonus in my book).

The last third of The Friend Zone was hard to read. Plenty of sadness. I was devastated for Josh but even though the ending had some bittersweetness to it, the sweet overcame the bitter.

I was excited to see that Abby Jimenez is writing a second book with a secondary character. I'd love to see where she takes her story.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

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I adored this story!! It was sweet and emotional and had moments that made me laugh out loud. The banter and the realness of the characters is my favorite part of this story. I completely fell in love with these characters. This was such an adorable story and I absolutely cannot wait to read more from this author.

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A really enjoyable friends-to-lovers romance with a lot of heart and depth. Abby Jimenez is one to watch!

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One of the most adorable meet/cutes I've ever read. I really loved this friends to lovers romance. It did get surprisingly heavy towards the end but the author handled it well without losing the main romance.

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Abby Jimenez delivers an incredible rom-com with her debut novel The Friend Zone! I laughed, I teared up, and most importantly, I didn't want to put it down. A huge thank you to NetGalley and Forever Romance for granting my wish to read this novel.

When Kristen Petersen first meets Josh Copeland while helping plan her best friend's wedding, sparks instantly fly. He's attractive, attentive and gets a kick out of her biting sarcasm. There's just one problem: Josh is looking to build a relationship with someone he can have kids with and Kristen is set to have a partial hysterectomy after the wedding, making it impossible for her to get pregnant. Understanding how important a future with kids is to Josh, Kristen decides it's best for them to just be friends. However, the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes for Kristen to keep Josh in the friend zone.

The chemistry between Kristen and Josh is off the charts. Seriously, I want The Friend Zone to be optioned for a movie so I can see their relationship played out on the big screen. I loved reading about Kristen struggling to keep Josh in the friend zone and Josh fighting to climb out of the friend zone. The push/pull of their relationship was so enjoyable to read.

The writing is well-paced and perfectly balanced. Abby Jimenez takes her time developing the friendship between Kristen and Josh, which makes their first kiss and first time together all the more satisfying. Readers experience so many emotions while reading this novel and it's a testament to Abby Jimenez's talent that readers are able to move through each hilarious, heartwarming and heart-wrenching chapter with ease.

It was so refreshing to see a difficult topic like infertility play such a significant role in a romantic comedy. Abby Jimenez took such care to realistically portray Kristen's health problems and the emotions that go along with those problems. I loved the moments where Kristen talked about her health problems with Sloan because you just knew Sloan's heart was breaking for what Kristen had to go through.

I highly recommend fans of romantic comedies dive into The Friend Zone! Thank you to NetGalley and

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Do you ever have the moment when you read an arc of a book, and just know immediately that you will be buying a physical copy to cherish on your bookshelves forever? I definitely had that moment with this book and only at a few chapters in. When I got an email from Forever about this book, the premise sounded really interesting with a slow-burn romance, and a female lead who had to deal with fertility issues and make a decision that could alter her life forever. The story follows Kristen and Josh, who happen to meet because they are the MoH and Best man for their best friends who are getting married (Sloan and Brandon - whose story isn't even the main one, but their story had me crying on the subway.. completely ripped my heart out and stomped on it). Josh is a firefighter and Kristen runs a small business for dog accessories and stairs. Kristen is also dating someone who is on deployment when they first meet, and Josh ends up helping her with her business to build the mini stairs. Also side note, I loved that Kristen's dog Stuntman Mike knew right away what kind of person Josh was. Kristen kept going on about how the dog didn't like her boyfriend at the time, and I'm like yes! dogs definitely can tell what kind of person a person is ;) Anyways, back to the review, they both find themselves hanging out with one another and just bonding over time. There's a clear attraction between the two, but they both don't act on it because Kristen isn't single. Along with all of this, Kristen has been having really bad periods her whole life, and she learns that her chances of having children are basically non-existent. She is faced with having to make a big decision about her future and what that can mean for her future relationships. I loved the rapport between Josh and Kristen. She has such a laid-back and straight-forward attitude that I just loved. She just says what she means, and Josh, he is just an all-around nice guy. I was rooting so hard for these two, and I just love stories that are built on friendship first. I don't want to say too much and give the book away, but I absolutely loved this book. It's one of those books that I wish I could go back and read for the first time again because that feeling of falling in love with a book is indescribable. This book is Abby's debut and I honestly cannot wait to see what else she writes. I am eagerly awaiting Sloan's story! Definitely going down as one of my favorite reads of 2019!! It's smart, funny, sexy, and absolutely heartbreaking, but soooo worth it. Please pick it up if you have a chance!

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This has been my most anticipated release of 2019 so when I had the privilege of receiving an earc copy from Forever Romance I flipped the hell out. Its been sitting on my kindle for a lil over a month now and I promised myself that I would wait until closer to release date but I just couldnt do it. #SorryNotSorry

Ive been in a massive book slump this year and I was desperately searching for a way out so I broke my promise to myself and jumped in. Im not going to lie, I was a lil nervous. 99% of the times I hype myself up so much over a book that once I sit down to read it im left wanting more but this book exceeded my highest expectations. What a wonderful surprise! Not only did I devour it in one sitting ending my book slump of all books slump but I have yet to stop thinking about it and its been days. DAYS!!!!! im even tempted to jump back in and relive that world all over again. How soon is too soon? Forget it, I dont give a damn. Im doing it!

I decided to jump in blind since I forgotten what this book was about to be honest. I remember thinking it was a rom com and in a sense I was right. But I wasnt expecting the roller coaster of emotions this book evoked in me. In all honesty I wasnt ready. This book delivered a meet cute right from the start that had me hooked and invested. The banter was witty, the characters were likeable and hillarious and the story itself was well rounded but most importantly this book was realistic and raw. Towards the end I was sobbing like a baby needing my favorite pacifier for comfort.

Kristen's internal struggle was extremely authentic and honest because like Kristen, I myself and many others have the same internal struggle and convictions in our thought process. After seeing some reviews out there I understand why some would have an issue with it. It might be too real for the fictional world and most people are lucky enough to not have to ever fave such a nightmare to understand its authenticity. But for the rest of us.... lets just say it gives a voice where a voice is needed. We all need a lil light shed on certain stigmas society has graced us with it. I really dont want to spoil anything because it wouldnt be fair to magic of this story so im sorry, once you read it my review will make more sense. I know some people have issues with the ending and thats fair but isnt the fictional world the perfect place for miracles? Sometimes we could all use a lil hope so remember that before you stomp on something that gives people like me something to believe in.

Now for those of you who know me know that I rarely buy paperbacks. Its true! I have limited shelf space and im also a broke bitch so if I have it on my kindle im good but there are times, though rarely, where I stumble upon a book that I must purchase because it moved me in a way i'll never forget. So you better believe on release day im running to the bookstore first thing to pick up this bad boy. Me purchasing a book is like a stamp of approval amonst my friends. For the rest of you please consider giving this book a shot. I highly recommend it!

Side Note: if you havent already guessed it by now I will confirm that this book without a shadow of doubt will be my top read of 2019.

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The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez was such a lovely little read. Kristen's snarky sense of humor mixed with Josh's friendly disposition meant I am now shipping a new dynamic duo. I can't wait to read Jimenez's next book about Sloan.

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Going into a debut novel as highly anticipated and buzzed about as The Friend Zone had me a bit nervous, I admit. I feel like this book is being talked about basically EVERYWHERE right now and I've been BEYOND anxious to read it. But you never really know what you'll get with a new author until you jump in, amiright? Will it live up to the hype? Will the writing feel unpolished or inexperienced? Well I'm THRILLED to share that this book was far better than anything I was expecting. I was knocked right on my ass by this author's sharp wit and stellar comedic timing. I was SWEPT AWAY completely by the character development and the wholly captivating storyline. I was impressed and overjoyed to find that Abby Jimenez is the REAL DEAL and The Friend Zone is 100% LEGIT. Believe the buzz... this book is a MUST READ. 

The Friend Zone is smart and wildly entertaining, sexy and deliciously angsty but rich with heartache and depth all at once. Abby Jimenez really committed to delivering a story that's both romantic and relevant in this book and IT SHOWS. With layer upon layer of emotional tumult and authentic drama, The Friend  Zone was a relentless barrage of heart pangs, but it remained funny and fresh and tender the whole way through. Just when you think this story is headed in one direction, another obstacle zings at you unexpectedly, changing the trajectory of the story once more. The romance between Kristen and Josh feels perfectly inevitable yet achingly impossible on every single page. There is so much stacked against this duo, so much insecurity and doubt, so much fear and selfless adoration... it makes for an intense love story full of hope and sexual tension and drama and devastation. I just loved it. 

Even when things are at the absolute worst... and it does get SUPER HEAVY on these pages... Josh and Kristen's hilarious banter and unwavering attraction held me ensnared. This is a wickedly smart rom com, a sweet friends to lovers romance that is JAM PACKED with push and pull and angsty complications. It's both light and heavy, both maddening and satisfying, and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it.

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So here's the thing, I really love romance novels. Here's another thing, romance novels get really repetitive really fast. The most fabulous thing about this book was its new sincere story that was supported by amazing characters with such great chemistry that you can't help, but be thoroughly enchanted and smitten by the last page. I, myself was invested from the beginning. This is an absolutely amazing book and I honestly, can't wait for what comes next from this author.
And yes, I have a thing for this kind of topic. I am someone who really really really wants kids. It's an absolute deal breaker to ever be with someone who doesn't want kids. I love books that deal with drama like this it truly is right up my alley. I also think it's super important to talk about infertility in women. It's something that is a part of so many women's lives and a society in which adoption is seen as an "unfavorable" choice can effect these women in serious way. Whether they want children or not.
Overall, just know that if you love quality quality romance, then this book is an absolute must! Sit yourself down, have some tea and tissues, and read it til you drop. It is absolutely the binge-read you've been looking for. Have fun and let me know if you want to talk about it. I'm always down.

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Ok, first of all, my confession: I have followed Abby Jimenez on Facebook ever since stumbling across her bakery's beautiful geode cake that went viral for its hilariously unfortunate (so, ultimately fortunate?) resemblance to a certain female body part. If someone with a wild sense of humor, a caring nature, an intrinsic understanding of 'hangry,' and the ability to effortlessly drop the more-than-occasional f-bomb appeals to you, you should follow her, too!

When Abby announced she had a book coming out, I wasn't sure that I would read it. Truthfully, I expected it to be a typical contemporary 'chick lit' romance, and though my reading tastes are all over the map, I don't often read those. However, my love for Abby (and the opportunity to read an ARC copy--thank you, NetGalley!) won me over, and I'm so glad it did. This is not your typical fairytale romance. Kristen has a quirky sense of humor (oddly akin to Abby's, lol), a stubborn determination to help others even at the expense of her own happiness, and an adorable dog those of us in the know fondly refer to as "Satan's Teddy Bear."

Alternately told in Kristen's, then Josh's voice, the story takes one from their initial, jarring meeting through their non-courtship, and beyond. However, don't expect a fairytale HEA. Kristen has some major health issues, and just as in real life, no one can wave a magic wand and make those go away.

Expect to laugh your fanny off, to cry real tears, and to read this book in one sitting, because believe me, once you start you're not going to want to put it down.

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Book friends. I am unwell. I stayed up until FOUR AM to finish The Friend Zone and I loved it! But now I am so sad I have to wait until next year for the second book! 😩

I can’t even express how much I loved this book. It was funny, sweet, and heartbreaking all at the same time. Kristen is so damn relatable and how fucking refreshing to have a romance about a woman with a serious condition so many women live with. This book is probably the most a woman’s period is discussed in romance and I am 100% here for it! ✊

Kristen talks a lot about how her body is broken, and I felt that. Her struggle to feel worthy knowing she couldn’t have children normally is something I’ve gone through. The parts where Kristen is really struggling through accepting that her body would never allow her to get pregnant absolutely wrecked me.

And Josh, ugh Josh is such a GREAT character! I enjoyed reading his chapters so much. Abby wrote us a fantastic book boyfriend. The chemistry between these two is insane! This is a friends-to-lovers, but even as friends their interactions are great. I am very uncomfortable when characters start catching feelings and they’re already dating someone. I struggled with the parts that involved Tyler, Kristen’s boyfriend. But it was next to impossible to not root for Josh and Kristen to be together, they are too perfect together, and believe me I tried not to in the beginning!

I will say my heart broke in ways I was totally not expecting with this story. There are so many parts that had me dying of laughter, but when it was heavy it was SO heavy. There’s no way to read this and not love most of the characters, and when they’re experiencing heartbreak and devastating moments in the book, I felt like I was right there with them.

The range of emotions Abby puts in this book are phenomenal. She is an insanely talented author! If I wasn’t already a huge romance fan, this book would have convinced me otherwise. Even if you think you don’t like romance, you need to try The Friend Zone. It’s fantastic, hands down 5 stars.

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THIS BOOK. It took me by surprise at how emotional & personal it became. I connected with Kristen over the course of the novel as I watched her keep her guard up, attempting to be strong, yet saw her walls crashing inside. Her struggles, accompanied with Josh’s stability, really shined throughout this novel. It had me swooning, and crying, within the same pages!

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This is a fun engaging romance that distinguishes itself with the specificity of its characters. Josh is a Marine veteran, firefighter, hunter and gun owner, a guy that is surely common in real life, but not always explored in this type of novel. Kristen has a gynecological disorder I'm certain I've never seen in a romance novel. The story has some surprising turns and unexpected depth, but still carries the DNA of a romcom. That tone is a difficult one to pull off, but I found it to be mostly successful. I hesitate to give anything away, but I think there is a lot in there for many readers to relate to and be moved by

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I saw this book announced last year and I eagerly awaited it’s arrival. I started following Abby on social media and was curious to know if the book would be as funny as she is online. In early 2019 I started seeing bloggers and bookstagrammers get ARCs and I waited patiently. I started to see 5 stars reviews for the book from big name publications and still I waited for a sign I might get the ARC. I also avoided all reviews of the book. Until one Friday in early April, I finally got the ARC widget. Then I had to decide to read right away or wait. The book pubs on June 11. I am notoriously bad about writing a review when the book doesn’t come out for months. I took a chance and started the book the next day on a Saturday night. I stayed up until 4 am reading this book. That’s how good it is. I kept doing the I will just read one more chapter, but well we all know how that works out.

Content Warnings: infertility, difficult menstruation, death, love triangle. Please review these content warnings and proceed with caution on the review and the book.

Friends, Jimenez strikes a near perfect balance between funny and sad. She wrote a story that centers on the heroine’s infertility but did it in such a way that felt so realistic, honest, and incredibly raw but also hilarious.

Kristen is a “salty bitch”. She’s 24. She’s struggled with difficult periods for 12 years. She’s seen doctors and done all the things to help. It hasn’t. She decides to get a hysterectomy. But won’t have the surgery until after her best friend’s wedding. Kristen is in a relationship with someone else. It’s pretty clear though early on that he isn’t a true love interest for her.

Josh has 6 sisters and isn’t afraid to buy Kristen pads/tampons when she gets her period. This made me swoon. Josh and Kristen have a “meet disaster” when he accidentally re-ends the truck she is driving. They exchange some banter. They are unknown to each other. They soon meet again and realize they are the best people in their best friends wedding.

Kristen and Josh have amazing chemistry. Although Kristen is in a relationship with someone else, she can’t deny her physical and emotional attraction to Josh. She does not act on her feelings with Josh until the other relationship is ended.

Josh comes from a large family. He wants a large family. Kristen is having a hysterectomy and believes that she will never be able to conceive a child/children biologically. So she decides she can be friends with Josh and even have sex with Josh, but that she can’t have a relationship with him. This drives the bulk of the conflict. Typically when a character makes a decision like this it makes me bonkers. But it worked for me. I think perhaps because Kristen’s motivation came from what she believed to be a good place.

During the time period where they are “just friends who have sex sometimes” it is very clear that Kristen and Josh have such a deep connection. That connection and chemistry is what really made this book wonderful for me and kept me reading until 4am.

Here are some quotes I pulled that I think show the connection that Kristen and Josh have.

“Good night.” I could tell he was smiling. I gave up my struggles and tried to relax. The rise and fall of his chest moved rhythmically against my back, and with every exhale, I sank deeper into him, like I belonged there. Like I was loved. I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to push the feelings down.

“Don’t smile at me.” She gave me a warning glare. She’d been feisty from the moment she woke up. It was adorable.

This. Could not. Be. A. Relationship. He pushed up from the sofa. “All right. I’ll see you tomorrow, then.” He didn’t look at me before he left. I buried my face in my hands. What the fuck was I doing? I had to cut him loose. This was torture. This was ridiculous. I just wanted to be normal with him. I wanted to treat him the way he made me feel. Give him all my attention and kiss him and hug him. Tell him I’m in love with him.

Josh and Kristen are caretakers. Josh takes care of Kristen when she needs it, Kristen takes care of her best friend Sloan when she needs it. Things breakdown when Kristen needs care and Josh isn’t there.


This book contains a tragedy to a secondary character. It was heartbreaking. I could feel the pain and grief of all the characters. It was hard to read but also I couldn’t not read it. I read this book a few weeks after reading the Rebecca Yarros book with the death of the child. In my opinion, if there is a good way to kill a character, Jimenez did it in The Friend Zone. It didn’t feel forced. It felt like a thing that could actually happen. And it didn’t happen at the 93% mark. It happened earlier so you could actually see how the characters grieve and then move forward with their lives. Kristen and Josh were a mess. But they worked through it. Slowly. And eventually together. Again, I swooned.

I first read this book in early April but didn’t immediately write my review. I re-read it in mid-May and it held up that time around. I wanted to make sure my immediate excitement wasn’t completely skewing my opinion of the book. There was a small amount of “not like other girls” thrown in the book. But it was very mild and I was so invested in the story I was able to move on from it. I was completely invested in Kristen and Josh finding their HEA together. I fully believed it from the beginning to the end. I absolutely loved Jimenez’s voice and how she blended humor and tragedy. I am already invested in the characters for book two, out in 2020 (sad face). I strongly recommend this book.

Grade: A
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I was given an ARC of this book and voluntarily give my review. This book has everything a romantic comedy should, a sweet story, hilarious moments, witty banter, but it is also surprisingly real and relatable, with heart wrenching moments that brought tears to my eyes. Abby Jimenez writes about challenging issues that don't often get a voice in the romance novel world. This might be my favorite book of the year so far. I loved that it took place in my neck of the woods (Burbank, Canoga Park and Los Angeles) I could picture the locations that were mentioned vividly, because I have been there. I also felt that the push and pull between the hero and heroine was realistic. She didn't fall all over him because he demanded it, she made her own decisions, and they weren't always the ones the reader wanted her to make, but not once did I roll my eyes and think "That would never happen".... I take that back, getting from Canoga Park to Malibu during rush hour would definitely take more than 45 minutes ;)
Lastly, without giving away spoilers, I need to say that the Author's Note at the end of the book was beautiful and caused some tears because I was able to relate to parts of this story very strongly.

I vehemently encourage everyone with a soft spot for love to read this book.

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This is my favorite book so far this year.
What an amazing debut from Abby Jimenez. The story of Kristen and Josh from their accidental first meeting, to the amazing conversations and bantering, to a long distant relationship and best friends and heart break and finding your worth and being enough despite preconceived shortcomings.
I’ll be honest... my emotions went through the wringer. I laughed, I was frustrated and angry and I cried with my heart just breaking. I haven’t felt that in a long time and to experience so much in a debut novel that I was obsessed with and couldn’t put down (and when I had to walk away because of life, I couldn’t stop thinking about), I am floored and in awe by Jimenez’s talent.
A must read, a new-to-me author that is now a favorite, I am blown away by this book. The perfect summer read and an author to watch... I see many good things coming from her and I can’t wait until the next one in 2020.

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The Friend Zone is one of those books that is an easy rec for club reading and will also touch women in very personal ways. I felt very deeply for Kristen. And I dare you not to fall in love with Josh...Especially if you're looking for a Realistic Romance to root for with sprinkles of Women's Contemporary Fiction, this is one of my top picks

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The Friend Zone is THAT BOOK!! You know the one I'm talking about, our FAVORITE, the one we talk about all year. I'll admit that I was nervous as hell about actually holding and reading this. It was one of my most anticipated books this year. It came highly recommended by Kim @bookbruin and Kelly @bookmarkbelles. I think I asked Kelly like five times if she'd read it yet waiting on her to tell me what she thought. Once she read it, she wouldn't stop talking about it. I wasn't really worried about it living up to the hype. I just wanted to savor it. Instead, I ended up devouring it. I literally couldn't put it down. Thankfully I have a great husband who poured my wine for me.

"She was like a unicorn. A mythical creature. An honest, no-drama woman who didn't bullshit and drank beer and cussed and didn't care about what people thought of her. She was a unicorn, tucked in the body of an attractive woman with a great ass."

WOWWWW. This book was so much more than I expected it to be. I was so connected to these characters. I felt everything with them. I was smiling and blushing during their highs. I was also sobbing on their lows. The love will jump from the pages and grab your heart. I don't just mean the love between the couple. I mean the love for their friends, their family, Stuntman Mike and for the future they both want.

"Just say okay."

The only thing I'll say about Josh is he's PERFECTION. He's the man that girls dream of marrying. I connected with Kristen because she's basically me. I can relate to the stress cleaning. It's my go-to. It's all about taking control where you can. I'm an only child. I've also had the "thing" she faces and fears the most. You'll understand more when you read it.

There's so much more I want to say about this book but for spoiler reasons, I won't. I can't recommend this enough. The story was INCREDIBLE. It's BEAUTIFULLY written. It's a story that will stay with me for years.

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First of all – I feel so fancy reading a debut book by a famous Food Network multi-winning chef. How cool is that?! Second of all, this book blew my expectations out of the water! I did not expect to feel this way about this book! I’m too emotional over here! I went into this book blindly because I just trust my fellow book reading friends so much. They loved this book too and now I can see why! I have endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome, so this book hit me on a whole other level. We need more books like this. Thank you Abby for this refreshing, feel-good, emotional love story.

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THE FRIEND ZONE was one of my top ten anticipated reads of this year and while I received this copy for review a while back, I was completely scared to read it. I felt like I may have too much in common with main character - her infertility issues and her doubts of allowing someone to love her when it may alter the future they imagined for themselves. I had to convince myself to be brave and start it. This book is a romance with some comedy, which I love, so of course I should just go ahead and read it.

I did experience the pain of the characters, but I finished reading it and felt a little less alone. While my circumstances aren't exactly the same, it's definitely something I understand and relate to. Yes, I did cry several times while reading THE FRIEND ZONE. Sometimes my tears were for the characters. Other times the tears were for myself.

And with all of the emotions that I felt while reading this book, what I can appreciate is how much this story made me laugh. Kristen just cracked me up. I loved her humor and her bluntness and the various ways she would make herself undesirable so that Josh wouldn't fall in love with her. I loved the fun little scenes with her yorkie, Stuntman Mike.

And then we have the oh-so crush-worthy Josh. He's now on my book-boyfriend list. I love how he loves Kristen and how he would give her a run for her money when she would turn up the sass. He was her partner in every prank she wanted to pull. He was the one for her, no doubt about it.

Laughable Quotes:

“You should name any dog according to how it will sound while yelling his name and chasing him down the street in a bathrobe.” - How little doggies like Stuntman Mike get their names.

"Did you send me a potato?" - Potato parcels! I've sent one.

“Do I have to put on a bra? Because if I have to put on a bra, I’m not going.” - She's right this can be a make or break moment.

"Have you ever had the urge to tell someone to shut the f*ck up when they aren’t even talking? That’s how I feel literally every time I see his face.” - Oh, we all know someone like this!

I don't know how many times I turned to my husband to share these laugh-out-loud lines, but there were a lot!

THE FRIEND ZONE definitely met my expectations for a most anticipated read for 2019. Even though I was nervous to read it, I'm glad that I experienced all of the emotions I did. This is a book that I needed to read. I loved it.

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