“Playing With Matches” by Suri Rosen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Source: The Publisher/Agent for Blog Tour [Thank you!]
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
Raina’s personality jumps right off the page. Her sarcastic, dramatic personality is a bit out there. Here’s the thing though, I was a teenage girl once and I can tell you that lots of sarcasm and lots of drama goes with the territory. It didn’t feel unreasonable.
Rain was very relateable. I remember what it was like to try and still be a screw up. My heart went out to her. My stomach was constantly clenched. I loved that she really was trying. She really wasn’t a bad person. She made some foolish decisions that backfired into consequences that got out of control. She never was trying to actively hurt anyone. In fact, she was trying her best to do right by everyone including perfect strangers.
My biggest problem with the book was Raina’s sister, Leah, and the rest of the family blaming Raina for the broken engagement. What kind of immature “grow up” blame a 16 year old for “breaking up” an engagement? Last time I checked Raina wasn’t engaged to Ben or Leah. She shouldn’t be a big part of the equation. How about blaming the man who decides he doesn’t want to accept his fiance’s family as part of the whole package? Sure, in the end it comes out that Ben was a real loser but it still really annoyed me at all the heat that Raina was taking from childish adults.
I was surprised at how easy it was to get into line with the matchmaking community. I’ve never been around it so the idea of someone you don’t know setting you up on a date was weird to me. It ended up feeling very normal quickly. Even the idea of getting engaged so soon didn’t seem weird because of how nicely the Jewish community was painted. Well maybe some of the engagements were too quick. The idea of getting engaged to someone after less than 2 months of dating really freaks me out. I guess when you meet the One it doesn’t seem too weird? I liked the glaces into the Jewish community. It seemed very close knit.
The bottom line? Very charming and funny story.