ARC Review: Love in the Friend Zone by Molly E. Lee

Love in the Friend Zone by Molly E. Lee
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 14, 2017
Source: ARC from publisher

The only thing worse than not being able to tell your best friend you’re head over heels in love with him? Having to smile and nod when he enlists your help to ensnare the girl of his dreams. 

Braylen didn’t even want to go to Lennon Pryor’s epic graduation-night party, but when Fynn begs her to be his “wingwoman,” she can’t deny him. Talking up her BFF—how he’s magic behind a camera, with a killer sense of humor and eyelashes that frame the most gorgeous blue eyes in the history of forever—is easy. Supporting his efforts to woo someone so completely wrong for him? Not so much. 

Fynn knows that grad night is his last shot before leaving for college to find true love. And thanks to Bray, he gets his chance with the beautiful Katy Evans. But over the course of the coolest party of their high school careers, he starts to see that perhaps what he really wants has been in front of him all along. Bray’s been his best friend since kindergarten, though, and he’d rather have her in his life as a friend than not at all. 

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one epic party, complete with every high-schoolers-gone-bad shenanigan, and two best friends whose sexual chemistry is off the charts…if only they’d succumb to it.

After enjoying Molly E. Lee’s Ask Me Anything a few weeks ago, I was pretty excited to get an email offering Love in the Friend Zone. Friends-to-lovers is one of my favorite tropes, but I just couldn’t get on board with this one. I suppose I should say that this isn’t necessarily a bad book, it just wasn’t for me.

The first thing I want to mention is that there’s a whole lot of drama in this book with very little actual plot. The entirety of the plot is that Fynn has asked for Braylen’s help in hooking up with the girl of his dreams, not realizing that Braylen has been secretly pining after him for years. That’s it. That’s the plot.

Nearly the entire book takes place over a single evening — a party, to be exact — and it’s pretty much just one cliche after another that keeps these kids from getting together. In general, I don’t have a problem with tropes. What I have a problem with is when a book relies on one cliche after another to move its non-existent plot along, and this book was full of cliches. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there’s a scene where the lights go out, and I could have told you exactly what was going to happen because I’ve read it so many times.

Another thing I want to talk about is the friends-to-lovers trope itself. When it’s done right, I absolutely adore it. Some examples of books that have done it right are Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi, Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren, and Not So Nice Guy by R.S. Grey. The thing that sets these books apart is that the progression from friends to lovers feels natural. It’s not like a switch flips one day and both people are like, “whoa, I love you, where did that come from.” Here, I’d say that, for maybe 90% of the book, Fynn is entirely focused on a different girl, a popular girl nicknamed “Killer Boobs” who has a history of bullying his best friend. (So, basically a classic teenage girl stereotype.) Am I really to believe that Fynn just suddenly loses his feelings for this girl in favor of his best friend, who’s been there all along?

I feel like I can’t really say any more about this book without spoiling the whole thing, so I think I’ll just end by saying that I was really disappointed by this book. I think I would have liked it a lot more as a teenager than I did as an adult.

Have you read Love in the Friend Zone? What’s your favorite friends-to-lovers book?
Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

ARC review: Ask Me Anything by Molly E. Lee

Ask Me Anything by Molly E. Lee
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Source: ARC via Netgalley

I should’ve kept my mouth shut.

But Wilmont Academy’s been living in the Dark Ages when it comes to sex ed, and someone had to take matters into her own hands. Well, I’m a kick-ass coder, so I created a totally anonymous, totally untraceable blog where teens can come to get real, honest, nothing-is-off-limits sex advice.

And holy hell, the site went viral—and we’re talking way beyond Wilmont—overnight. Who knew this town was so hard up?

Except now the school administration is trying to shut me down, and they’ve forced Dean—my coding crush, aka the hottest guy in school—to try to uncover who I am. If he discovers my secret, I’ll lose him forever. And thousands of teens who need real advice won’t have anyone to turn to.

Ask me anything…except how to make things right.

A little over a month ago, I got an email from Entangled asking me if I wanted to share an excerpt of Ask Me Anything. A sex-positive YA book that features an awesome female hacker? SIGN ME UP. I shared that excerpt, which only made me more excited to read this book.

For the first half of the book or so, I was sure this was going to be a four- or even five-star read. I loved Amber and her friends. I loved Dean and his sister. I loved the Code Club and the whole idea of the competition between Amber and Dean. I loved the idea of the Ask Me Anything blog and I loved that the book gave reasonable, realistic advice in the form of blog posts. Simply put, I loved everything.

The second half, though? It’s not like it was bad or anything. It just wasn’t as good. Amber and Dean were cute together, but a few things happen that felt entirely unrealistic. Principal Tanner was a ridiculous character, completely over-the-top, and almost a caricature of a villain. There are also two points that I can’t really discuss without spoilers, so click below for that.

These are spoilers!Alright, so the first thing I want to talk about is Amber and Dean’s first time. In general, this book is pretty realistic when it comes to sex. I expected Amber and Dean’s first time to be at least semi-realistic. I did not expect it to be complete and utter perfection, where Dean knows exactly how to make Amber “fly apart” (or whatever euphemism the author used for having an orgasm) despite it being both of their first times.

The second thing I want to address is Tessa’s pregnancy. As I said, the majority of the book is pretty realistic. Tessa’s pregnancy, though, felt contrived, almost like something out of a bad educational film they’d have made us watch in Catholic high school health class. (That’s right, kids, have sex and you’ll get pregnant, there’s no way around it.) It seemed to add a lot of unnecessary drama without really adding to the plot, other than giving Amber and Dean an excuse to have an argument.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed this book. I think it’s timely and important and I wish something like it would have existed when I was a teenager.

Quick note: This book contains many descriptions of sexual assault. If that’s something you’re sensitive to, know that it’s handled well, but it’s still a definite presence and a fairly large part of the story.

#mm19: crack the case

Have you read Ask Me Anything? Do you know of any similar books?Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’