Review| Fabio vs. the Friend Zone – Kelsie Stelting

It feels like I just read and reviewed Dear Adam and already Kelsie Stelting had the second book ready in The Pen Pal Romance Series. Fabio vs. the Friend Zone is the next book in this series and was released this week. A big thank you to the author for providing me with an ARC to read and review.

Since when did Fabio not get the girl?

Fabio’s named after the most popular romance cover model of all time, but he can’t get his best friend to fall in love with him. Video games and Harry Potter movie marathons might be fun, but Fabio’s going to have to do something big if he wants to get out of the friend zone.

Grace is ready for the adventure of a lifetime: a summer teaching english in China. For the first time in her life, she’ll be away from her parents and her lifelong best friend. But when he makes the biggest confession of all, she has to decide between her future and Fabio.

Can their friendship survive his true feelings and grow into something more? Or, for the first time in history, will Fabio not get the girl?

Read Fabio vs. the Friend Zone today for a story that will leave you smiling and believing in best friends to lovers. This young adult contemporary romance filled with pop culture and nostalgia will make you laugh out loud. Grab Kelsie Stelting’s latest installment in the Pen Pal Romance series today!


The first book in this series, Dear Adam, hit some serious subjects, so I was curious to see what Fabio vs. the Friend Zone would be like. I noticed that this one was more lighthearted than this author’s other books, but still just as good. Fabio and Grace are characters we get a little glimpse of in Dear Adam, so I was definitely excited to see how this would continue.

Fabio and Grace are both done with high school and will head to college together in the Fall. But first Grace will be heading to China for a month to help at an orphanage. Not only that, she’ll be able to explore her own roots. It’s clear from the start it’s going to be hard on these best friends to be away from each other for a whole month.

I had to laugh when I read that Fabio was named after the character in all the romance books. Then again, I thought it was sweet, because his mother and grandmother both really have a love for reading. Fabio is definitely more of the nerdy type. He loves gaming (is even trying to get an internship by entering a gaming contest) and takes it pretty seriously. His only secret is that he’s been in love with his best friend for years.

Grace is a smart girl and while she is looking forward to her month in China, she knows she’s going to miss a lot. I loved Grace’s family, especially her grandmother! I loved reading about Grace being in China, because it was the first time that she was really on her own. Not with her parents or even Fabio. She falls in love with it even more than she realizes she will and that puts her in a difficult spot. Does she choose herself or her best friend?

The romance in this book is so sweet. Best friends to lovers is my favorite trope to read about and Kelsie did it here so well. I liked that it wasn’t all perfect and that many moments were pretty awkward. That’s real life, so it was nice to see that in a story! I think it shows how hard it is to fall in love with your best friend as well. One side of you wants to be with that person forever, but what if it doesn’t work out? You lose your favorite person! I loved Fabio trying his hardest to show her what he’s really working toward and proving how much he likes her.

Fabio vs. the Friend Zone really describes the way your life changes between high school and college. Decisions become harder and sometimes bigger than the ones you’ve had to make before. Family and friends are important to have to support you along the way. And I loved that Kelsie made it clear that these characters really wanted to follow their dreams.

On top of all that, we get to read about characters from Dear Adam. They are a great group of friends. Add the references to tons of fun pop culture and I was sold. Fabio vs. the Friend Zone is such a sweet book that really will leave a smile on your face! I was excited to see that there will be another book in this series. I can’t wait to read the next installment!

I really love books that leave you feeling happy when you read the last page! What was the last book that made you really happy?

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