Playing with Matches by Hannah Orenstein

This is your classic book to take to the beach. While this one won’t be out until June, it’ll definitely be the book you take with you on those summer vacations.

Here’s more about the book

36373316In the tradition of Good in Bed and The Assistants comes a funny and smart comedy about a young matchmaker balancing her messy personal life and the demands of her eccentric clients.

Sasha Goldberg has a lot going for her: a recent journalism degree from NYU, an apartment with her best friend Caroline, and a relationship that would be amazing if her finance-bro boyfriend Jonathan would ever look up from his BlackBerry. But when her dream career falls through, she uses her family’s darkest secret to land a job as a matchmaker for New York City’s elite at the dating service Bliss.

Despite her inexperience, Sasha throws herself into her new career, trolling for catches on Tinder, coaching her clients through rejection, and dishing out dating advice to people twice her age. She sets up a TV exec who wanted kids five years ago, a forty-year-old baseball-loving virgin, and a consultant with a rigorous five-page checklist for her ideal match.

Sasha hopes to find her clients The One, like she did. But when Jonathan betrays her, she spirals out of control—and right into the arms of a writer with a charming Southern drawl, who she had previously set up with one of her clients. He’s strictly off-limits, but with her relationship on the rocks, all bets are off.

Fresh, sweet, and laugh-out-loud funny, Playing with Matches is the addictive story about dating in today’s swipe-heavy society, and a young woman trying to find her own place in the world.

When I first started this book, I thought I was going to get another Devil Wears Prada where a young woman who knows nothing about matchmaking is thrust to deliver romance to strangers. When the book starts, you read that Sasha is the product of something I thought was just a myth; her father purchased her mom on a Russian bride catalog.

Like, wow. Can we please unpack that life for a bit? This isn’t something you read all the time especially since it is pretty much frowned upon to be ordering your bride off the Internet or something. However, it happens.

But this book isn’t about that life. Instead, it’s about a young woman who appears to have her life together and suddenly it changes when she starts her first job out of college. And I couldn’t put the book down. For real, I finished this book on the four-hour flight back from Los Angeles.

Sometimes when you need a palate cleanser, it just needs to be simple and easy. Nothing too frilly and nothing too heavy otherwise your brain is bogged down with so many heavy thoughts you just want to hide away. People need a reason to believe that things like fate and love and joy exist in the world and this book delivers it.

This book was definitely your average “things are falling apart and I’m trying to get my shit together, but it just doesn’t go my way” book. It’s kind of like a rom com right when things fall apart. However, instead of getting any better it only gets worse.

Seriously, this book was so fun and it was a breeze to read. I definitely recommend if you’re in a love rut or even if you need to step away from that serious relationship for a minute and live vicariously through someone else.

I wish there was a little bit more into the whole matchmaking world than what we saw. From what I can tell, matchmakers just wear baggy pjs and eat bagels all day while putting high-profile singles together. It seems kind of easy and very hard at the same time.

I think the only fault I can really find here is the ending. I found myself feeling the same way I felt about Tina Fey’s memoir. I think I even said aloud “wow, that’s it?” when it ended.

But it took me a few days to understand why Hannah Orenstein ended the book that way. It has nothing to do with sensationalism or getting a rise out of the reader. It has everything to do with reality. In reality, not everything goes your way and maybe you don’t get the guy in the end. For someone like Sasha, I think that it’s an open invitation to really think about what you want and what you want to be.

The entire story revolves around her own love life being entangled amongst the love lives she set up for her clients. Her mother is always emphasizing that she should go out and have fun while she’s still young and I completely agree with her. I can imagine that Sasha wanted the husband and kids right away because she felt that was what she had to do. However, she gets this blank slate at the end and the only thing I can imagine her doing is living it up.


I received a copy of this book from Touchstone for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author.

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