Kristen Callihan's The Hook Up was one of my favorite reads of 2014 so, of course, I was excited to read the sequel, The Friend Zone. While this wasn't as wonderful as its predecessor, I did enjoy it and continue to impressed with the NA romances I've been reading lately.
Gray is the tight end on his college football team and is very close to realizing his dream of being drafted by the National Football League. He even has an agent waiting to sign him after graduation. So he is not prepared for the entrance of his agent's daughter, Ivy, into his life. Ivy and Gray try to remain friends, but it becomes obvious that they are so much more to one another.
I really liked both Gray and Ivy. Gray is a stud athlete, but he also, surprisingly, has a hell of a brain which he keeps a secret from most people. His childhood wasn't the happiest and he is determined to make it in the pros to finally find a place he belongs. For her part, Ivy has been surrounded by athletes her entire life and resents the attention that they get from her father. She has recently graduated from college and is trying to figure out what she wants to do next. Ivy has never felt a connection with someone like she does with Gray and is terrified of what will happen if they move out into relationship territory.
The plot of The Friend Zone basically deals with Gray and Ivy becoming friends (mostly through text messages) and trying to not mess things up when feelings get in the way. I loved the development of their friendship and how comfortable they were with one another. It is obvious to readers that they both are in love, but I appreciated that it took time before romance appeared. The plot ended up being a question of "when will they" rather than "will they or won't they" which was fun.
So I would definitely recommend fans of NA romance or contemporaries in general check out Callihan's The Friend Zone. It has mature characters who respect one another and are just searching for somewhere to belong with some fun side characters and enough sports talk to provide a great background.