Playing With Matches by Hannah Orenstein
I read too much these days to do in-depth reviews of all the books I read; it would take up all my time! But I wanted to do a special post for this one, since I know Hannah in real life and have been looking forward to this book for a long time!
Here’s the summary:
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.
I sat down with this book at the pool one Saturday afternoon and had finished it by Sunday evening. It’s a fun read with a lot of heart – a perfect read for summer time! I identified with Sasha in lots of ways: we’re both recent college graduates with journalism degrees trying to figure out our lives. Where we diverge is that Sasha lands a job at a matchmaking agency.
One of the most interesting aspects of this book for me is the matchmaking. It’s not something that we tend to think of as a career in 2018, but it’s a very real career. Sasha might not be a dating expert (as the summary suggests, she’s dealing with a lot of turmoil in her dating life) but she still manages to set people up. Who among us hasn’t imagined being the driving force in someone’s love story?
I really loved that New York is a character all its own in this book: every place mentioned in the book feels so real, and it’s easy to picture Sasha riding the train and flicking through Tinder matches for her clients or grabbing coffee and bumping into someone she thinks would be a perfect fit for one.
I loved how fresh and modern this book feels. Hannah really nails the realistic aspect of the characters; any one of them could be a friend of mine, and that’s what makes it so fun to read. Of course there’s more drama (and a great twist) than in my real life, but it’s realistic all the same. I also found the friendship aspect of this really important. Sasha and her best friend Caroline go through ups and downs, but they’re always there to support each other, and I find that both important and refreshing.
If you’re looking for an engaging read that will have you flicking through the pages as quick as you flick through Tinder or Bumble matches, this is the book for you!