Playing With Matches Blog Tour: Review

Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen
Publication date: Sept 9, 2014
Publisher: ECW Press
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received from publisher (Thanks!)
Summary: 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? (Adapted

The good
I've never been set up on a blind date and online dating doesn't interest me so reading a book about a girl playing matchmaker as an actual real life service? I did not expect to find myself so sucked into Playing with Matches! But I was! It was funny and heartwarming and even though I told myself I was only going to read a few chapters that night, I stayed up to finish the book. Playing with Matches is about 16-year-old Raina Resnick who is forced to live with her strict aunt in Canada after she gets kicked out of her Manhattan private school. She's not happy about it but she's just biding her time until her engaged sister comes up to stay with them while planning her wedding. They're really close and she knows her sister's presence will make everything better. That is until her sister's fiance breaks off the engagement which is somehow Raina's fault and everyone and their mother (literally!) seems to know. She's very much the black sheep right now and feeling lonelier than ever. Until she begins to fill her time with -- you guessed it, matchmaking!

The author did a great job with creating Raina's character. She felt so real and her voice was clear and vivid. You could tell she didn't understand why or how everyone could blame her for the broken engagement. She loves her sister! But when loneliness leads Raina to make an unexpected friend, which then leads her to accidentally agreeing to set her up with someone she knows and it works out, suddenly every single Jewish person in Canada wants a bit of her time and matchmaking skills. Of course most of them don't know she's only in high school. They all know her by the persona she creates, Match Maven. What interested me the most was how much insight it gave into Jewish culture too. I didn't know that match making is very common and how matchmakers play a pretty defined role when they get involved. I also didn't know how quickly people got engaged. It was so interesting to me to learn about the culture and just seeing the ups and downs of dating (I think everyone can relate!).

But underneath all the dating shenanigans - which made me laugh - it's really about Raina trying to make amends with her sister and also trying to make peace with herself. We see her open up to relatives, make friends at school, we find out why she was kicked out of her school and it turns out, she's actually good at matchmaking.

(No) reservations
None!  I really enjoyed how the story progressed and how it ended.

Do I recommend?
I do! It's fast read and if you're the mood for something funny, about family and growing up (more so than your typical romance) and want to possibly learn about a culture different from your own - check this one out!

Happy reading!

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1 comment

  1. Playing with Matches sounds super cute! I love the idea of reading about a matchmaker, and I'm also curious to find out what happens with Raina's sister. Hadn't heard of this one before, but I'm definitely adding it to my list of books to check out!


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