The Friend Zone (Game On) – book review

The Friend Zone
by Kristen Callihan
Release Date: October 1, 2015
Book #2 in the Game On series
Number of Pages: 267
Contemporary Romance/NewAdult/Sports
Ages 16 and up
CW: parent cancer death, homophobia
for others see spoilers
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 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 win Ivy’s heart. Game on.

This author has a way of always making me laugh but tugging at my heartstrings all the while. On top of that, she can write texting scenes. What I mean by that, in case it’s unclear, is the characters are texting in the scene. I’ve read stories where the texting portions completely ruin the story for me. Here, it’s the foundation on which this relationship is built. The whole prologue is Ivy and Gray texting and it is delicious. They don’t know each other and somehow they become best friends via text, and it’s believable.

Gray and Ivy already had phenomenal chemistry before they met face-to-face. Once they meet their connection is off the charts. Yet I’d still consider this story to be a slow burn. By the title, you know there is a lot of friendship before they give in to their desires. There is a very hot phone call and a terrible misstep before they finally admit their feelings, but it never felt as though it was dragging. This author is a pro at the slow burn, as I’ve mentioned before.

The way Ivy and Gray support each other and are the biggest cheerleaders for each other made me smile. They have wonderful banter and are truly great friends, which was why they dragged their feet. Once they are a couple, there are still obstacles for them. They aren’t infallible, but they both learn and grow along the way.

I’m going to get a bit spoiler-ish here, but I also want to give some content warning. If you don’t want the spoilers and don’t need content warnings you can skip the next paragraph.


This story has an unplanned pregnancy that ultimately ends in miscarriage. Although this book was published in 2015, abortion options are discussed even if that word is not used. I can’t help but think the author would have possibly written things a bit differently now (2023), but I do appreciate that Gray is very supportive of Ivy making a choice that is best for her and is there for her to talk out all aspects of the pregnancy.


I adore the men on this football team. Some of them may sleep around, but they are never cruel or dismissive of the females in their orbit. They give each other a hard time, while also being a big supportive family.

5 stars

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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1 Response to The Friend Zone (Game On) – book review

  1. I loved this book! I’m so happy you did, too. I bet the author might make changes to that spoilery part if she had written it these days. Great review!

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