Date published:May 5th, 2015
Publisher: Kristen Callihan
Synopsis: Gray doesn’t make friends with women. He has sex with them. Until Ivy.
The last thing star tight-end Gray Grayson wants to do is drive his agent’s daughter’s bubblegum pink car. But he needs the wheels and she’s studying abroad. Something he explains when she sends him an irate text to let him know exactly how much pain she’ll put him in if he crashes her beloved ride. Before he knows it, Ivy Mackenzie has become his best texting bud. But then Ivy comes home and everything goes haywire. Because the only thing Gray can think of is being with Ivy.
Ivy doesn’t have sex with friends. Especially not with a certain football player. No matter how hot he makes her…
Gray drives Ivy crazy. He’s irreverent, sex on a stick, and completely off limits. Because, Ivy has one golden rule: never get involved with one of her father’s clients. A rule that’s proving harder to keep now that Gray is doing his best to seduce her. Her best friend is fast becoming the most irresistible guy she’s ever met.
Which means Gray is going to have to use all his skills to get himself out of the friend zone and into Ivy’s heart. Game on.
What I Thought:
How is it possible to love a story so much? That previous statement is a testament to the power of Kristen Callihan's writing. A book might be an inanimate object, yet the power it wields is infinite and intangible. One can experience the greatest emotions life has to offer by simply connecting with the characters in a book. The Friend Zone is the perfect example of such artistry. There wasn't a single emotion I didn't feel and I finished this book craving more of everything I'd experienced.
Ivy and Gray are wonderful. Apart they are strong individuals with personalities that make them stand out. Ivy is warm, hardworking, funny, and sincere. I loved her. It was her attitude I think that impressed me the most. She's seen what fame brings a sports star and it wasn't pretty, so she's leery of getting involved with an athlete. Gray is is somewhat the same when it comes to his personality, except he's had other challenges he's faced that have left indelible marks on his soul. It's amazing how wonderful the two are together. It's not just the chemistry between them that you can see and feel in the texts they exchange or the nicknames they give one another, but it's also in how they are around each other.
The romantic tension between them was so delicious to read about and yet difficult as well. That's due to being in both of their heads and knowing their fears and feelings making their interactions so wonderful to read. I just wanted them to get over everything and be together. It really felt like they were trying so hard not to give in to their feelings for all of the wrong reasons. The long wait for them to have some epiphanies was so worth it. I have to say Gray surprised me the most when it came to being in a relationship. Not only was it extremely unexpected for him especially since he was an unrepentant manwhore, but I had no idea he was a closet romantic, and neither did he. It was interesting to see how a man who hadn't had a girlfriend since he was 6, deal with wanting to be in a relationship for the first time and with a strong woman like Ivy at that.
Of course not everything was all easy between them. Both of them had to deal with their perceptions of each other and what they wanted from each other while trying to figure out how everything worked with what they wanted for their futures. And to make things even more interesting, lessons and incidences from their pasts were also pressing on the present and future. I love how everything tied together and was relevant to them and their growing relationship with each other. Both Ivy and Gray were hilarious and they had some choice one-liners. Their verbal sparring was very entertaining to read. I laughed so much. I also swooned frequently. It's hard not to when faced with Gray and the way he thinks. That man is amazing. There were also tears, fears, and anger. Sometimes I felt a mix of many emotions all at once.
It was wonderful to see Drew and Anna again. I also loved the nod to Elle Kennedy's The Mistake. I may or may not have squealed when I read that paragraph. I really loved how Kristen Callihan incorporated so many issues into this story. It wasn't just the respective pasts of Ivy and Gray, but also dealing with Drew's insecurities after having his future plans upended, and other problems other team members were facing. The story might have centered around Ivy and Gray, but many members of the team played central roles in their story as well and I loved seeing the camaraderie between them all. I'm hoping to see more Ivy and Gray in the future and also keeping my fingers crossed Fiona, Ivy's sister, might get her own book. I already know who I'd like to see her with. I'm amazed at how much I've had to say about The Friend Zone, I could say so much more, but even that would be inadequate to verbalize the magic and wonder that can be found in this story. Kristin Callihan once again outdoes herself and it shows in every word in this tale of friendship, love, and taking chances.
About the Author
Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather do. She is a three-time RITA nominee, and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.
*Thank you to the publicist for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for them in any manner.*