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The Friend Zone Paperback – June 11, 2019
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An Amazon Book with Buzz: "The Second Home" by Christina Clancy
"A sure-footed ode to the strength of family, the depth of loss, and the power of forgiveness." - J. Ryan Stradal Learn more
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"Harnessing sass, heartfelt struggle, and unapologetic sexuality, Jimenez's debut is as hysterical as it is tear-jerking...Jimenez manages to fulfill all expectations for a romantic comedy while refusing to sacrifice nuance. Biting wit and laugh-out-loud moments take priority, but the novel remains subtle in its sentimentality and sneaks up on the reader with unanticipated depth. Readers who have wrestled with infertility will find Kristen's anxieties and sorrows deeply relatable."―Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Jimenez tackles a myriad of issues in her debut and hits each one with depth and sensitivity. Kristen's take-no-prisoners attitude is smart and sassy and perfectly balanced by Josh's easygoing resourcefulness...An excellent debut that combines wit, humor, and emotional intensity."―Kirkus
"This romcom novel will have you feeling the falling-in-love autumn vibes."―Buzzfeed
"The Friend Zone is a deliciously hot, sweet debut full of banter I couldn't get enough of. I loved all the characters, from Kristen and Josh, to the supporting cast, and even Stuntman Mike. This book is an absolute treat."―L.J. Shen, USA Today bestselling author
"The Friend Zone gave me belly laughs, shook me up, and made me feel hopeful about love and the human strength of spirit. A romance for the ages!"―Tessa Bailey, New York Times bestselling author of Fix Her Up
"Your next favorite romantic comedy...The Friend Zone is that rare beach read with tons of heart that will make you laugh and cry in equal parts."―PopSugar
"You can expect to laugh and cry during this one."―Good Housekeeping
"The Friend Zone is heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, and emotional. Abby Jimenez wrote a difficult story line with sensitivity, heat, humor, banter, and unwavering friendship."―Harlequin Junkie, Top Pick
"The Friend Zone is a beautiful tale of learning to accept the love you deserve and finding a path to self-acceptance along the way....a zippy, instantly recognizable voice and fresh, funny characters."―Entertainment Weekly
About the Author
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But, hey, I have this book hanging out on my Kindle and I figure, "well, I can at least read a couple of chapters" because, you know, being supportive and all. So after putting the kids to bed I opened it up to give it a look-see.
WHAM. At 2:30 this morning, wiping a final tear off my face after a last bought of ugly-crying, I finished this book. I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down. My brain literally refused to let me go to sleep until I finished this book. I'm now a hot mess, running on three and a half hours of sleep and black coffee having to go to work and be a productive adult which due to a haze of exhaustion I'm going to fail at spectacularly.
BUT IT WAS WORTH IT.
This book grabs you by the feels and wrestles you onto the emotions roller coaster then laughs maniacally as you hold on for dear life. This book is snort-laugh out loud funny and chock full of sarcasm. The two main characters, though drawn on the more extreme sides of their personality types, are still understandable and relatable so you root for them and get emotionally invested. Then, once you're invested, you want to tear your hair out in exasperation and smack both of them upside their heads to just figure it out already. Then you snort-laugh some more. This repeats until the author sucker-punches you. Hard. And you ugly-cry. Then the author makes it up to you, so you happy cry.
I'm still reeling and a little woozy from this book (though that may be lack of sleep) but...I kind of want to just pick it back up and read it again. For me, there is no greater compliment. To leave an author's world and want to go right back into it is the hallmark of a well-written, beautifully executed piece of work.
So bravo on a wonderfully rendered first book, Abby. This may not be my genre, but you can better believe I'll be buying your next book. Next time, I'll make sure to start it earlier in the day and have a large box of tissues waiting beside me.
But I just can't like this book very much and I actively dislike the heroine Kristen. She's self-absorbed, self-centered, immature, careless of other people's feelings at times, uncaring and unkind to the two men who love her. She is a selfish witch at times. Yes, she has excuses: (1) Her medical problem, which is quite debilitating and has troubled her for years. And (2) her mother, portrayed here as an OTT awful human being.
But I still refuse to give her a pass about the way she treated the two men in her romantic life. She uses them with little regard for their feelings. Kristen knows she probably can't have kids, so she's involved with handsome, intelligent Tyler, who does not want children and knows about her personal medical issue, and who is overseas in the military. When he returns to civilian life they plan to live together and probably marry.
And then there's Josh, best friend of Brandon, the fiance of Kristen's best friend Sloan. Kristen feels an attraction to Josh but does her darnedest to keep him in the Friend Zone. She works so hard at this that the closer they become the more she shuts him out and treats him coldly and erratically.
So, yeah, we know why she's doing this. It's to protect herself. But all the while she's protecting herself, she's hurting Josh (and Tyler) with her unpredictable, selfish behavior. She rationalizes her horrid behavior by thinking she's doing it to protect Josh, who, not knowing she will not be able to have children, has expressed his desire for a whole baseball team of them when he marries. But, instead of explaining her situation to him, she just shuts him out and treats him poorly. Throughout almost the whole book.
There are several things I did not like in this book:
(1) Kristen's mother was too unrealistically portrayed.
(2) Josh was too perfectly patient and understanding. He seemed to have a "Tread on Me" sign attached to his back.
(3) Author Jimenez does something objectionable to one of the characters towards the end of the book just to facilitate Kristen and Josh's HEA. I wasn't in the proper mood for it to happen.
(4) Tyler is made to look like an undesirable person. All I could see was a man who came from money, was well educated, and was a bit more highbrow than the other characters in the book. He seemed like a very okay guy. So he prefers wine to beer and fine dining to taco trucks. The horror!
(5) Kristen says she has OCD, but it seemed to be just a very reasonable case of compulsive cleaning that she managed to control pretty well.
(6) What's with wanting to have a baseball team of children? How selfish is that anyway to Planet Earth? Reproduce to replace yourself, but don't be a Duggar family member or an Octomom. Since when does being fruitful and multiplying allow you to congest the planet?
This book triggered my emotions in a much different way than the expected one about infertility and the suffering involved for an infertile couple. Instead the characters in this book triggered my annoyance with their superficial, shallow behavior and their petty little lives.
I bought this book originally because I saw Abby’s hilarious ex-lax Facebook post. I was even more excited when I saw that the main character of the book was infertile, because I myself am infertile. It’s hard to find books with these types of characters/topics. I liked this book- especially Kristen’s struggle of telling Josh about her infertility because I went through the same thing. I liked this book until the very end when the infertile character miraculously got pregnant the first time she did it with her romantic interest. I had to throw this book away. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard the following: “My sister’s boyfriend’s cousin couldn’t have kids but once they started to talk about adoption it happened!” Or, “You just need to relax!” I could go on. Anyway, I don’t think everyone always gets their “happy ending” and I also don’t think your life has to be any less fulfilling if it doesn’t happen. This book is like a slap in the face. It’s not that easy and for a book with this storyline I think that was the “happy ending” way out.
Top international reviews
Hugely disappointing ending. Like, what the hell? I really enjoyed the writing and the character development and up to 86% in the book I was ready to give it a five star review. However, at 86% you get the first hint that Kristen might be pregnant. In my head I went... “Surely not. There’s no way the author is going to ruin this book by making her pregnant after spending pretty much the whole book writing about how the character was coming to terms with not being able to ever get pregnant and how she isn’t going to let infertility define her”. Well, she did. Apparently you can expel a IUD when you get really heavy bleeding and cramps due to uterine fibroids. However, those same uterine fibroids don’t stop an embryo from implanting. An embryo that has been created by “super sperm” just from having unprotected sex once.
The more I think about, the lower I rate this book.
Looking forward to someone writing a book where fertility problems don’t end up in a miracle baby.
I know, I know, I failed miserably, but I can’t be blamed because I had the best time reading this and feel it’s my duty to shout it from the rooftops. The characters were fantastic, and the humour hit the spot. From Kristen with her snarky, craggy ways to her adorable one of a kind dog, Stuntman Mike.
Kristen’s health concerns brought a more serious element to the story, and the first cracks in the relationship with Josh. Throughout it all Josh was consistent and caring and there wasn’t one thing I didn’t love about him.
The romance tentative and fraught, and the tension served so well in heightening the push and pull between Kristen and Josh. There were casualties along the way but so great was my bias I easily overlooked it.
Although The Friend Zone is Abby’s debut I found myself asking where she has been all my life. I love her voice and humour and am very excited about what Ms Jimenez will deliver to us next.
It took me a little longer than it would normally take me to read a book this size. Please understand, that is absolutely in no way a criticism of the writing. I just wanted to digest every, single moment, some of which completely overwhelmed me emotionally.
I did guess the ending. But that doesn't take anything away from the emotional rollercoaster. And I totally agree with the author's note at the end. This is a story about acceptance.
My only criticism - and again - this is not about the book, rather the current fashion to tell readers every book is 'The most hilarious book blah blah blah...' If you're looking for that sort of story, this might not be for you. This has so much more depth and deserves to be recognised as such. I say that as someone who loves chicklit as much as the next person.
I'm so excited to read the next book.
I’ve read a couple of reviews complaining about the ‘happy ending’ being unrealistic! Hello!!! It’s a romance! I would have been disappointed if it ended any other way! I don’t read romance novels because I want them to be accurate or even believable.. I read them for escapism from a world where every time you switch the radio you hear about death and destruction! Well done to this author on a brilliant book. Can’t wait to read the next one
Stuntman Mike is just as adorable as much as a reliable wing-man ! The story has its up and down moments and there were times it made me grab the tissues because I was brawling my eyes out ! There were times in the story that made me relate to Kristen and her mother's relationship so much, it was unreal ! I altered between laughing out loud and bursting out crying.
You know the author has been a hit when she can make you laugh and cry at the same time. The end of the book nevertheless was devastating for me. I hated what the author did with Sloan. There were times when both Kristen was being stubborn bulls and refusing to see what was right in front of her. On the flip side, I was impressed with Josh's tenacious nature.
The book has it all - wit, sass and love !
Then I started following her on social media. And she is HILARIOUS. I’m actually considering stalking her in real life and forcing a friendship. Because that’s how delightfully twisted she is.
Anyways. She wrote this book. I preordered. It was delayed. When it finally arrived I couldn’t stop reading it. This book is wonderful. I’m not a romance novel kinda gal. But this is so much more than that. It’s sad. It’s funny. It’s crude. It effin delightful. Give it a go.