“Me making a match? Pretty crazy, huh? I’m sixteen years old and have never been on a date. So what do I know about fixing anybody up. But you want to know what’s nuttier? I did it.” (p. 37)
Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen is another excellent book if you are looking for a different type of voice and some diversity in YA fiction. Raina, the protagonist in Playing with Matches is Jewish and this adds an interesting twist on a story that shares a few similarities with a certain Jane Austen character who likes to bring couples together. However unlike Emma, Raina is not as self absorbed and she does her research and puts much thought into the matches she makes.
This leads me to my other thought about this book, which is that I found Raina to be justified in the majority of her actions. To me she did not need to redeem herself as much as she thought since she was usually quite selfless and putting the happiness of others’ before her, even taking a great number of risks to lend them a hand when they needed her. This often landed her in trouble with the adults in her life, and I felt that with exceptionally few exceptions, the adults in her life were always working against her and never gave her a chance. Which I think was unfair for the reason that while it is true, they were clueless to the fact that she was Matchmaker Maven, they never gave her the opportunity to explain herself either. Raina is a good person deep down with good intentions and I felt sad that she’s always being blamed for things that aren’t her fault and when she’s just trying to assist those who need her. In spite of that though the few adults that supported her such as her Aunt Mira’s mother in law, whom she calls “Bubby” and Professor K were extremely supportive and patient with her, and it was touching to witness her relationship with those two evolve over the course of the novel as she undergoes much growth as a person as of her interactions with them.
Playing with Matches is an extremely refreshing read as it’s a contemporary fiction that is not focused on the protagonist’s love life. Instead it is about the love lives of those she helps to bring together. As well it is about the tight community she becomes a part of and the love she has for not just her sister and family but for the strangers that she slowly befriends in her new environment. Don’t get me wrong, I love romance in my YA contemporary novels, if it’s done well, although occasionally it’s a pleasant change to read contemporary novels that don’t focus on two teens falling for each other after all there’s so much more to life at age sixteen then just falling in love and dating.
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for the giveaway link as the publisher has generously provided me with an extra copy to give away on my blog.
Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.