The Friend Zone

Image Credits: LFSMusings

2/5 stars

**Spoilers at end of review**

Kristen is a straight-forward woman, except in one area. Fertility. A condition and medically-necessary procedure will make it impossible for her to have children biologically. As maid of honor for her best friend, she is about to spend a lot of time with the very attractive and absolutely perfect best man, Josh. His only flaw? Wanting a giant family that Kristen can’t provide. Kristen must figure out how to protect Josh from her despite growing feelings for him.

I wanted to love this after seeing so many raving reviews, but I can’t. I found a lot of issues with this book. The writing style was good. The perspective changes kept it interesting and allowed for some character development. The pacing was pretty good. Towards the middle, it began to feel repetitive. At about 80% in, major plot twists happened that were unexpected, but also solidified the book as “Not For Me”.

Kristen is the cool, guys’ girl who just wants to eat and chill. I, too, relate to this, and even I hate the way other women are portrayed in this story. It’s absolutely possible to validate all women without making one the desired, calm one and the others crazy and high maintenance. 

Kristen annoyed me. I’m all for addressing infertility. I’m all for discussing tough topics and reminding people they aren’t alone in their struggles. Reading about a character who struggles with infertility was appreciated, but Kristen, herself, was manipulative. I wasn’t expecting her to disclose personal information before she was ready, but I also wasn’t expecting her to play with someone’s feelings and lead them on.

The last issue I’ll talk about from the lens of an adopted person. The final twist ends with Kristen carrying Josh’s baby. Miraculously, they had gotten pregnant, and now everything is great! My heart broke for the many women struggling with infertility who don’t have this reality. My heart broke for the adoptee in me and adoptees and foster care youth around the world who consistently feel second-best to biological children. The author’s note at the end says the end is not to say Kristen is only happy because she finally got pregnant and could give Josh a biological child. But the end really was that… and there should not need to be an author’s note to tell readers that.

The story started strong and promising but became more problematic as it continued. What began as a cute romance and woman’s journey toward accepting and loving her body resulted in a triggering ending that ignored the main theme of the book.

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