Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review: Playing With Matches by Suri Rosen


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
When 16-year-old Raina Resnick is expelled from her Manhattan private school, she’s sent to live with her strict aunt — but Raina feels like she’s persona non grata no matter where she goes. Her sister, Leah, blames her for her broken engagement, and she’s a social pariah at her new school. In the tight-knit Jewish community, Raina finds she is good at one thing: matchmaking! As the anonymous “MatchMaven,” Raina sets up hopeless singles desperate to find the One. A cross between Jane Austen’s Emma, Dear Abby, and Yenta the matchmaker, Raina’s double life soon has her barely staying awake in class. Can she find the perfect match for her sister and get back on her good side, or will her tanking grades mean a second expulsion? In her debut novel, Suri Rosen creates a comic and heartwarming story of one girl trying to find happiness for others, and redemption for herself.
MY TAKE:
This is the kind of book that you want to read in one sitting.

In Playing with Matches, Raina is sent to Toronto after doing something terrible in New York. At first, her only friend is someone she meets on the bus. Before long, she ends up successfully matching her new friend with someone else she knows. Word of her success spreads quickly, and before she knows it, Raina, a.k.a. Matchmaven, is in business. She enjoys matchmaking, but what consequences will being Matchmaven have on her personal life and her relationship with her sister?

I'm not Jewish so I didn't get a lot of the references to Jewish culture and I couldn't really relate to the whole match-single-people-you-know idea, but I enjoyed this book nonetheless. I don't know if it's really like that in the Jewish community, but the whole matchmaking thing sounds exciting and fun. The closest thing I came to matchmaking was helping out two friends get together but that was in high school, and as you can expect, that didn't go past high school.

Anyway, I liked Raina. She wasn't the smartest girl and she was pretty irresponsible, but otherwise, she was funny and she did grow a lot over the course of the book. She was pretty shallow in the beginning, but by the end of a couple of chapters, I had warmed up to her.

The resolution of the book was a little bit unlikely, but in the way that you don't mind because it ends happily and you get a warm fuzzy feeling. Despite not being perfect, I enjoyed this book a lot and despite the fact that it had 200-plus pages, I felt like it wasn't long enough.

Thanks to NetGalley and ECW Press for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's an enjoyable read.
  2. Raina is easy to empathize with.
  3. The matchmaking business looks like fun. 

THE BAD:

  1. Non-Jewish readers may not understand or appreciate some of the references to Jewish culture. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You are looking for a fun book to read.
  2. You like the idea of matchmaking.
  3. You like books that focus on the main character's personal growth and still has romance without the romance happening to the main character. 

RATING:
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