The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez
Published: June 2019
Genre: women’s fiction
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 premise has your standard romcom meet cutes and such—best man and maid of honor meet under interesting circumstances, she’s dating someone else, they spend lots of time together, will they won’t they—but the big draw for me was the way Jimenez handled infertility. Here is a young woman (24!) with a partial hysterectomy scheduled for very real, very serious health reasons. It means she won’t be able to have kids. But our hero does want kids—a whole baseball team of them, and all his own. Kristen is crushed.
Though a lot of their issues could’ve been resolved if they just had a conversation earlier in the relationship, I was surprisingly not frustrated by that because Jimenez does a fantastic job with humor and levity. Nothing about Kristen and Joshua’s banter or conversations felt forced—they really are funny, and I felt it was true to their characters too (Kristen using humor as a shield, Joshua because he’s trying to be positive). I wish Kristen was real so we could be friends. We could stay up late and have fun and eat tacos in sketchy parts of town, but also have really great, insightful conversations about the pros and cons of motherhood and what it means to be a woman.
The raw honesty in this novel was a breath of fresh air and, like The Flatshare, I was so beyond happy to have read it. If you haven’t already, get your hands on this book!