The Friend Zone Experiment

A sweet, second-chance friends-to-lovers romance from the author of Spirits Abroad

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Pub Date 8 Aug 2024 | Archive Date 7 Aug 2024

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'Reminiscent of classic K-dramas with a touch more reality . . . Easily one of my top reads of the year!' - Simone Soltani, author of Cross the Line

From the renowned, award-winning author Zen Cho comes a delightfully funny romance about family, class and love in modern London.

From the outside, Renee Goh’s life looks perfect. She’s thirty and beautiful, running a glamorous–and successful–fashion company in London, and dating a hot pop star.

Until she’s dumped. Estranged from her family in Singapore, too, happiness soon feels a world away. A chance encounter with her first love, Yap Ket Siong, makes her question what she really wants. Then Renee’s father calls from Singapore and offers her the chance to become the successor of the family business, one of the largest conglomerates in Southeast Asia. Her father’s approval would mean everything - if she can fight off the competition of her unpredictable older brothers.

Just as she’s focusing on her future and a possible move back to Singapore, sparks seriously start to fly with Ket Siong, shaking her resolve to keep him in the friend zone. But he left her heartbroken at university - will either of them dare to share their feelings the second time around? Or will family business mean they can’t bank on each other . . .

Praise for The Friend Zone Experiment:

'A story so intensely real that you’ll wonder later if it happened to someone you knew.' - Shelley Parker-Chan, author of She Who Became the Sun

‘A lovely, tender romance, beautifully threaded through real world concerns that had me engrossed. I savoured every delicately written moment.’ - Charlotte Stein, author of When Grumpy Met Sunshine

'I haven't seen an author weave romantic comedy and corporate complexity together quite this flawlessly. It was giving 'Succession with swooning' vibes, which I LOVED! . . . Hilarious, insightful and hard to put down.' - J. F. Murray, author of Hitched and Fling

'Reminiscent of classic K-dramas with a touch more reality . . . Easily one of my top reads of the year!' - Simone Soltani, author of Cross the Line

From the renowned, award-winning author Zen Cho...

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ISBN 9781035046089
PRICE £18.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

The Friend Zone Experiment by Zen Cho
Rating: 4/5
Release Date: 8 August 2024

Zen Cho's “The Friend Zone Experiment” offers a unique blend of romance and social commentary that pleasantly surprises readers. While the core of the story is indeed a second-chance romance between Renee and Ket Siong, the novel delves deeper into pressing issues such as rainforest destruction and corporate ethics.

The story follows Renee, a successful businesswoman from a wealthy Singaporean family who has established herself in London. Her path crosses again with Ket Siong, her university flame, who has fled to London with his family after their friend Stephen's kidnapping during a protest against deforestation in Malaysia. This unexpected reunion reignites old feelings and sets the stage for a gentle, slow-burning romance.

Cho's approach to the romance is refreshingly subtle. The rekindling of Renee and Ket Siong's relationship feels organic and gradual, with both characters supporting each other through their respective challenges. Renee faces a competition for control of her family's business, while Ket Siong grapples with finding his missing friend. The author skilfully weaves these personal struggles with broader themes of environmental conservation and corporate responsibility.

The novel's strength lies in its ability to balance intimate character development with larger societal issues. While the environmental themes might catch some readers off guard, they add depth and relevance to the story without overshadowing the central romance.

Minor miscommunications between the characters are handled well, avoiding the frustrating tropes often found in the genre. The ending is perfect, a satisfying conclusion to both the romantic and thematic elements of the story.

In summary, "The Friend Zone Experiment” is an engaging read that offers more than just a typical romance. It combines a sweet love story with thought-provoking themes, making it a standout in the genre. Readers looking for a romance with substance and a touch of social consciousness will find this novel particularly rewarding.

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Pan Macmillan | Macmillan, and the author, Sandy Barker, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

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Really enjoyed this romance of young Malaysians living in London. Who hasn't secretly been in love with a supposed friend? I enjoyed the mystery subplot, which gave an added depth and layer to the romance.

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