I'm super excited to be kicking off the blog tour for Suri Rosen's Playing With Matches today! I knew from the moment I read the synopsis that this was my kind of book (they had me with that mention of Yenta!), and it certainly didn't disappoint. I hope you check it out, and scroll down farther, because I've got a copy to give away to one lucky reader!
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: ECW Press
Source: Publisher provided for review
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
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. A cross between Jane Austen’s Emma, Dear Abby, and Yenta the matchmaker, Raina’s double life soon has her barely staying awake in class. Can she find the perfect match for her sister and get back on her good side, or will her tanking grades mean a second expulsion? In her debut novel, Suri Rosen creates a comic and heartwarming story of one girl trying to find happiness for others, and redemption for herself.Playing With Matches is so utterly charming and fun. I flew through it in the course of one afternoon. Suri Rosen has concocted a sweet story that will make you laugh out loud at times and grown in frustration in Raina's stubbornness at others.
Raina Resnick is a bit of a trouble-maker. She has little concern for her school work and is more interested in being stylish and well-dressed than a model student. Because of her actions, she has been kicked out of her New York private school and relegated to her aunt's house in Toronto. Truthfully, while Raina's narration is always entertaining and full of personality, at first, she's rather unlikable. But as the story goes on and as Raina's priorities change because of the odd friendships she's made, she becomes more and more admirable. Raina draws an odd crowd around herself, but her matchmaking gets her out of the self-involved bubble she's lived in and lets her see the problems of others--even as it goes unrecognized in her family.
There are tons of laugh out loud moments in Playing With Matches. I found myself rereading passages because they struck me as so funny and even seeking out someone to tell, because someone had to laugh with me. Raina has a very unique voice, filled with just enough sarcasm to be funny without being bitter. Her family can't see the changes happening before their eyes, but Raina doesn't really complain about it. She's more concerned with helping the people who have sought her out for help, which I loved all the way through, even though the model student in me wanted to remind her she should be doing her homework.
Raina is certainly not the only outstanding character, either. Her family is a mish mash of rule-followers, but Bubby is the renegade of the family, eavesdropping, eating what she shouldn't, inviting friends over whenever she wishes, and just generally causing frustration. Playing With Matches also deals really well with the relationship between Raina and her sister, Leah. Leah blames Raina for her breakup with her fiance, so their previously very close bond is distant for the majority of the book. All Raina does is really to help Leah, because she wants that closeness they had before, and she thinks finding her love with do the trick. Even though they are distant, you can still see the closeness. It also does the cool thing of being all about romance without finding love for the heroine--which I loved!
Playing With Matches is simply a delightful book. Between dealing with family dynamics, a search for popularity, and romance, it makes you laugh, smile, and leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy. I will definitely be reading whatever Suri Rosen comes out with next, and I hope you will too! (But read this first, obviously.)
About the author:
Suri Rosen dabbles in many arts, but excels in daydreaming. She has worked as a professional artist, art teacher, filmmaker, journalist, and mini-documentary producer for a local television station.
Random facts: Suri rides a moped, built an Appalachian dulcimer, is a trustee on her public library board, and is known to re-finish vintage furniture on occasion. Playing with Matches is her first novel. She lives in Toronto, Ontario with her family and her six imaginary dogs.
And now, thanks to ECW Press, I've got a copy of Playing With Matches to give away! I hope I've convinced you how adorable this book is and how badly you need it. :) US/CAN only. Good luck!
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