Playing with Matches by Hannah Orenstein (Review by Marie Nguyen)
Rating: 3.7 / 5*
Playing with Matches has one of the catchiest titles I have seen in awhile. I also have to give props to the cute cover that drew me in. The book follows the main character, Sasha, as she navigates New York City life as a recent journalism graduate and new matchmaker for the elite. While coaching her clients, searching the latest dating apps for matches, and setting up the ideal first dates, Sasha barely holds it together after learning of her own boyfriend’s betrayal in one of the worst possible ways.
For a generation where dating apps are much more commonplace, this book has so many hilarious (and omg-has-that-really-happened?!) moments that made Sasha’s interactions with her clients the highlight. I also love Sasha’s relationship with her best friend and roommate, Caroline. I actually wish more time was spent on Sasha’s and Caroline’s interactions.
This book is a fun, easy read with a wonderful set of dynamic secondary characters, but I found it really hard to relate to Sasha herself. I found her extremely naive while making poor choices throughout the majority of the book. I hate to attribute her immaturity to her age, so I can admit that my judgment may be a bit unfair. Though I can say that this isn’t typically an issue for me as I expect any main character to undergo growth and change as the book progresses. But after spending 85% of the book making mistake after mistake, Sasha manages to mature in the last 5 pages and everything wraps up neatly in a brief epiphany. I would have liked to see her experience these moments over time as I could easily see Sasha reverting back to bad habits.