Playing With Matches
By Suri RosenBlurb: A cross between Jane Austen’s Emma, Dear Abby, and Yenta the matchmaker!
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.
Can she find the perfect match for her sister and get back on her good side, or will her secret life catch up with her?
In this debut novel, Suri Rosen creates a comic and heartwarming story of one girl trying to find happiness for others, and redemption for herself.
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Humor
Publication: September 9, 2014
My Rating: 5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.
Warning: I gush in this review. A lot. (What can I say? I had some serious love for this book.) So, if you aren't into that sort of thing, you probably won't like this review. With that out of the way, I shall begin.
Have you ever read a book that made you laugh so much you cried and then made you cry just because it was so touching the very next moment? Very few stories I've read have fit that description. But I can add Playing With Matches to that short list now, because that is exactly what this book did to me.
The first thing you need to know about Playing With Matches is that is is extremely, extremely, extremely funny. Usually when people go, "this book is so funny" in reviews, I don't take it to heart, because I seldom find humor in books as funny as everyone else. But TRUST me; this book is hilarious. The predicaments Raina gets herself into are outrageous.
Raina is an awesome main character. Her sense of humor is great. I could relate to her emotionally, because, while being a really fun character, she is also really emotionally fleshed out. And, hello, she's a matchmaker, which is a) totally unexplored ground in YA literature and b.) is actually really, really interesting!
I usually do not think the romance in YA is the best part of a book...but in this case it definitely was! Probably because it wasn't with the main character and some random hottie. Also, it wasn't focused on just one relationship...it was a bunch of relationships where the reader had no idea if they would work out or not, which made it even better.
Leah and Raina's relationship was another thing that made the book great. Like I have said before in other reviews, I love books that deal with sisters. I felt so bad for the both of them--especially Raina, because I felt that at times Leah was being unfair to her. I especially liked how through Matchmaven, we were able to learn more about Leah's feelings towards Raina.
I had an inkling that the plot twist near the end was coming, but that still didn't make it any less dramatic. I won't give too much away, but I thought that it made the book even better, because it threw in an important lesson about not judging others.
In fact, there were a lot of themes in here that I wouldn't have expected from a book like this. When it starts, it does seem like it will be kind of fluffy. A good sort of fluffy, but still fluffy. But it ended up being so much more than that; the end was extremely touching (I cried) and I think that's what truly makes this book so awesome.
Plus, BUBBY. Characters like Bubby don't come around very often; she's just awesome. A bit grumpy, but once I got to know more about her I loved her. A lot of the things that I laughed at in this book had something to do with Bubby. I feel that, if there were a character like Bubby in every book, the reading world would be a better place.
Playing With Matches was amazingness in book form. If you need any more proof that I liked it, I have read 213 books this year. This is only the twelfth book that I have rated 5 stars. So basically, you should read it.