Review: The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

friend zoneReviewed by Joanna

Who doesn’t like a NA sport ‘n true love-based series? I shot straight from the first in the Game On series to this, the second, and I’ve just picked up the third. Not enough to convince you? Then read on.

This college-based friends-to-in-lovers story centers on Ivy Mackenzie, 6’ business graduate, baker extraordinaire and crazy bad dancer, and Gray Grayson, cut, tall and blond tight end (no idea what that means) American football player who knows nothing about love apart from lovin’ and doesn’t want to. Til her.

Ivy is due to come back to the States for a few months before settling in England and running a bakery for her mother. Prior to her return, her dad, a sports agent, lends her girly pink car to Gray and she texts him to take care of the ride else he’ll suffer her wrath.

Entertaining and flirty texts ensue, and within no time they are best friends and in perma-contact. Gray’s never had a girl as a friend. He likes to sleep with girls rather a lot. And he is highly sexed. As well as being highly sexy. Quite a bit of long limb and abs description if you like that sort of thing. (Um, yes.)

When Ivy’s dad calls him up and says he’s out of state and forgotten to collect her from the airport, Gray is in like Flynn and there for her homecoming. They hit it off big time, but Ivy firmly keeps him in the friend-zone, as much as he flirts otherwise. She doesn’t want to spoil their friendship by having casual sex and she doesn’t think he’ll want anything more than that. Plus her dad cheated on her mother, a lot, and so she has hang ups. Yet she wants him. And he wants her.

This is a frustrating trope, and even though here it’s well written, I still found myself on more than one occasion yelling at the book ‘Oh for ****’* sake will one of you just say how you really feel! Lay it out there, people!’ But it isn’t overstrung, and it feels good when it gets resolved.

In other words, they have a lot of sex to make up for lost time. S’all good.

I’ve read quite a lot of NA recently and many have similar themes to this, yet KC still brings something fresh to the table. Gray’s love, bordering on addiction, for Ivy is acutely explored and they go through some crap but come out stronger. I love how big their relationship is and how that sustains, particularly how he goes all-in, and no other woman even turns his eye. I like the friends and other football players – lots of banter and feel-good moments, and I like the premise for the third book.

(These can be read independent of each other but why would you do that? Start at the beginning, please.)

Ooh, and I also love that there are Easter Eggs hidden between this series and Elle Kennedy’s Off-Campus books. They are very similar in many ways and the nod to that is great.

Overall, a pleasure to read.

Rating: A- (Only points off are for slight predictability. Then that might be me needing a break from the genre.)

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Friend Zone
by Kristen Callihan
Release Date: May 5, 2015

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