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Life's Too Short


Life's Too Short

Bestselling author Abby Jimenez returns with LIFE’S TOO SHORT, the third book in her series that includes THE FRIEND ZONE and THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST. In this installment, we meet Vanessa, a popular YouTuber with a devastating family history of women dying before the age of 30, and Adrian, a workaholic lawyer with abandonment issues, whom readers will recognize from the previous books.

Jimenez is the queen of the meet-cute, and LIFE’S TOO SHORT is no different. One night, while snuggling in bed with his long-distance girlfriend, Adrian hears what sounds like a banshee/demon baby wailing from the apartment next door. Though he doesn’t know his neighbor very well, it’s important that his girlfriend’s visit goes off without a hitch, so he ventures next door to see what can be done. Greeting him is not only the shrieking infant, but also his exhausted, cranky and vomit-covered neighbor, Vanessa. Like all Jimenez heroines, she is sarcastic, snarky and bitingly funny, and quickly puts Adrian in his place. After all, what can she do…negotiate with the baby? Sensing he’s in for a sleepless night anyway, Adrian offers to hold Grace while Vanessa showers and takes a breather.

Adrian, who is shockingly handsome, incredibly fit and known as the complex’s most eligible bachelor, is also a baby whisperer. Or at least he must be, since he is able to quiet Grace and get her to sleep, all while Vanessa gets some precious alone time to help her feel human again. As it turns out, she is fostering Grace, who is actually her sister’s child, while her sister works through an addiction. And that’s the least of her worries.

"Jimenez has a distinctive voice: her talent for dialogue is unparalleled, her cliffhangers are perfectly paced, and her laugh-out-loud sense of humor and passion for pop culture come through every interaction, zany situation, love scene and even painful tragedy."

ALS, the rare and fatal disease, runs in Vanessa’s family, and though there’s a 50% chance that she has inherited it from her mother, she has chosen to follow the “ignorance is bliss” method, avoiding any tests to rule out ALS while living her life to the fullest --- traveling the world, taking risks and documenting all of her adventures on her YouTube channel. Having already lost one sister to the disease, she is a staunch supporter of disability rights and a huge donor to ALS research funds. She also uses her lucrative influencer income to support her father and his hoarding habit, her sister and her drug addiction, and her brother and his constant get-rich-quick-schemes. And you thought the shrieking baby was the worst of her problems!

After being unceremoniously dumped by his girlfriend, Adrian finds that he cannot get Vanessa out of his head --- and free from any pretensions about dating or sex, the two strike up a no-holds-barred friendship. Whether they are taking care of Grace, binge-watching “The Office” or helping Vanessa’s father out from under a collapsed pile of trash, they are entirely themselves: baby-vomit-covered, pajama-bottom-wearing and constantly toeing the line between teasing and flirting. With Vanessa and Adrian essentially co-parenting Grace, their attraction to one another takes on a new fervor (as evidenced by plenty of hilarious banter and sexual chemistry), but there are a few obstacles in their way.

First and foremost, Vanessa doesn't date; she doesn’t believe that she'll live past 30 and doesn’t want to force someone to bury her (or put up with her family, for that matter). Second, Adrian is realizing that he has not always been such a great boyfriend, constantly burying himself in work to avoid his abandonment issues caused by his father leaving the family when he was young. With two wildly dysfunctional families breathing down their necks, their careers on hold and a baby, the cards are more than stacked against them, and it is only the creative, brilliant mind of the author that could bring them together.

Jimenez has a distinctive voice: her talent for dialogue is unparalleled, her cliffhangers are perfectly paced, and her laugh-out-loud sense of humor and passion for pop culture come through every interaction, zany situation, love scene and even painful tragedy. But here she takes each of these talents and raises them to the 10th degree. She has tackled serious issues like fertility and grief before, but this book’s themes feel somehow even more timely: ALS, addiction and mental illness. Instead of focusing on all of the ins and outs of each issue and weighing down her plot, Jimenez shows how sickness and addiction run in nearly every family, and how it often falls to the “good one” to pick up the pieces, usually at their own risk.

Vanessa’s situation is heartbreaking, often painful, but it is perfectly balanced by her “life’s too short” motto, which in turn pushes Adrian to explore issues he didn’t even know he had while broadening his horizons and learning what it means to be spontaneous. I loved the characters in her previous books, but I think Vanessa and Adrian might be the most perfectly matched of all of Jimenez’s couples. Their friends-to-lovers storyline is so witty and engaging that even though you know they will end up together, it never feels rushed, forced or too predictable.

It is hard to compare Abby Jimenez to other authors. I cannot think of another writer --- in any genre --- so skilled at combining humor with real, hard-hitting tragedy and creating something as compulsively readable in the end. If you’re a fan of romances and romantic comedies, you’re sure to like LIFE’S TOO SHORT and the other books in her series. But be warned: she’ll ruin you for all other contemporary romances.

Reviewed by Rebecca Munro on April 9, 2021

Life's Too Short
by Abby Jimenez

  • Publication Date: April 6, 2021
  • Genres: Comedy, Fiction, Humor, Romance
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Forever
  • ISBN-10: 153871566X
  • ISBN-13: 9781538715666