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Playing with Matches

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In 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.

314 pages, Paperback

First published June 26, 2018

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About the author

Hannah Orenstein

5 books883 followers
Hannah Orenstein is the author of Playing with Matches and Love at First Like, and is the senior dating editor at Elite Daily. Previously, she was a writer and editor at Seventeen.com. She lives in Brooklyn.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 612 reviews
Profile Image for emma.
1,866 reviews54.4k followers
February 6, 2019
Me for the first half of this book: Fun!!! Pink cover!!! Fun!!! Yay matchmaking!!!

Me for the second half of this book: We have found the vessel of the apocalypse on this planet. All of human suffering is encapsulated within these pages. The container for the cause of all negativity in this world exists in this story alone, and her name is Sasha, and she is a fictional matchmaker.

If I was a normal person, I would say, "This book was very fun for fifty percent and I enjoyed it immensely and flew through it, and then everything fell apart in the oft-described-as-devastatingly-beautiful-but-she-doesn't-see-it-because-she's-just-so-down-to-earth hands of the main character."

Actually, if I were normal, I would probably say something normal-er than that. But I'm not, so.

This is massively disappointing because I thought I would like this and I did for a while and then I didn't. But also I will recover. Because life, really, is just an endless sea of disappointing reads you really expected to like.

Probably more dismal than you expected from a chick lit review, huh? More-dismal-than-you'd-think is the exact genre of this book, so I'm really just sticking to theme.

Bottom line: I'm tired, in a literal, I should-go-to-sleep sense, and in an existential when-will-my-repetitive-suffering-end type of way.



I will read:

- any book about matchmaking
- any book about online dating
- any book written by someone whose Twitter feed I have stalked.

this is my solemn vow.
Profile Image for Fafa's Book Corner.
513 reviews305 followers
July 19, 2018
Mini review:

Minor spoilers ahead!


GR Ultimate Summer Reading Challenge: Let's Get It On.

When I had heard about this book through Twitter I was excited! I haven't read a book about matchmaking and the synopsis sounded hilarious. Unfortunately it wasn't for me.

The beginning was good! I was invested and the writing really brought out Sasha's personality. As I read on I realized that Playing with Matches is one of those really readable books. In that sense it was addictive. But it came to a point where I didn't really care about the story.

I did find Sasha relateble. And I was in awe about the matchmaking world. However the only character that I really liked and cared about was Sasha. I was really surprised that I didn't really care for her best friend. I usually tend to care for the best friend character.

And there were some things I didn't really get behind. The whole situation with Adam was a bit awkward. And you know that Sasha has a tiny crush on him. To top it off the matchmakers aren't allowed to start a relationship with their clients or potential matches. The synopsis does mention that she starts a relationship with Adam. To be fair I didn't get to that point, but it still made me a tad bit uncomfortable.

Overall this wasn't for me. I still recommend.
Profile Image for Katherine.
265 reviews158 followers
January 31, 2021
Oof.. this was bad. 🙁

Playing with Matches, by Hannah Orenstein left alot to be desired. This contemporary romance follows the life of newly graduated, Sasha Goldberg. Sasha is twenty-two and madly in love with her Finance boyfriend, Jonathan. When her dream career of writing for People magazine falls trough, she manages to land upon the unique opportunity to work as a Matchmaker for New York Citys Elite. Sasha feels like she has it all; the unique, interesting job..the amazing-sucessful boyfriend. Sasha has it all, until a betrayal leaves her lost. The story goes from there.

Okay, truthfully I dont have the best experiences with contemporaries. They can just be so... 🙄 However, I wanted to give this a shot because I liked the cover, and it sounded interesting. A young Matchmaker in New York (very Sex and the City), so sure I'll read it.

Unfortunately...this book literally is about nothing, except for her two realtionships. The plot, what's that?? 🤔 Sasha as a main character is literally the worst. She whines at every turn, and when she doesnt get her way..she whines some more. I get that in the story shes young (22), but truthfully age shouldn't be a factor to her tiresome personality.

As a main character, she treats her bestie Caroline like trash (I'm my opinion). Shes constantly ignoring her friends advice because she 'knows best'. Sasha is really only ever worried about the men in her life. Yikes!!😕

I feel like this could have been an interesting story, but it just fell flat. It's not even about how it ended that bothered me, it was everything else. The characters were stale, and I felt zero connection to anything that was happening. This character only finds comfort in men. And well..that's just sad.

Unfortunately, I would skip this. The author does have an easy writing style that I appreciated. However, that's not enough to save this story. I would pick something else to read.

(2) 🌟🌟
Profile Image for Nikki (Saturday Nite Reader).
405 reviews107 followers
June 24, 2018

I was looking for a quick read to breeze through the weekend, and Playing with Matches did not disappoint. Fun and fresh, it makes a perfect vacation read; or, if you need something light to break up those ugly cry drama reads – well then, why not pick up this one? It is available for purchase on Tuesday, June 26th!

Sasha Goldberg has the life other’s are envious of – which is why they hire matchmakers, right? – a successful, handsome boyfriend in the dating abyss of what is New York City. She lands her first job as a matchmaker learning the inner workings of the single scene and is more thankful for Jonathan every day – until she isn’t.

Her head and heart are not aligned and she gets into a predicament that while keeping her mind off serious things (like her life), it can get her into hot water at work. Will Sasha figure it out? What is “it” that she needs to figure out anyhow? Have a read and find out!

Playing with Matches is author Hannah Orenstein’s debut novel.

I received an arc of this book from NetGalley for my honest review.

To read my reviews visit: www.saturdaynitereader.com
Profile Image for Amy.
261 reviews43 followers
August 7, 2018
I was enjoying this until 90% and then I swear to god it turned into a horror story. I feel misled by the summary. This is more of a coming-of-age contemporary novel than a romance. The romantic interest(s) are terrible, and I guess that's the lesson I'm supposed to come away with about men in general. But any man in his 30s perving on a woman just out of college can't be trusted, so I should have known.

Probably what bugs me the most is that, while I suppose this book is largely autobiographical based on the author's history, it was just impossible for me to believe that the MC could survive in NYC on $35k a year (and even less than that while working as a pretty bad matchmaker) with just one well-off roommate (and for her to get only a $2k a month allowance from her parents didn't really seem reasonable to live off either). Not in today's NYC.
Profile Image for Kendall.
644 reviews653 followers
June 18, 2018
What originally drew me to this book was the title and the cover! Cover gush! <3. I love the matches that are pictures of men! Super cute and oh so true haha.

I feel like this would have been the absolute perfect read for me before I met my fiance... because I met him on a dating app! :). So... I can DEFINITELY relate to all those horror stories of meeting some yucky men to say the least. And.. all those omg moments that you're thinking.. wow did I just get catfished by someone?! Yup... I sure did haha.

This book follows our main character Sasha who is a recent journalism graduate trying to figure her life out. She is a matchmaker for the elite... and she ends up coaching her clients along. Little does Sasha know... she is betrayed by her own boyfriend. She can barely hold herself together let alone her clients!

This book is a change to my usual thrillers... and a nice light summer read. If you're aching for a change of pace/light read then I would say give this one a try :).

Thank you to Touchstone and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for my honest review.
Published to GR: 6/17/18
Publication date: 6/26/18

Profile Image for Kristy.
1,070 reviews149 followers
July 18, 2018
Sasha Goldberg's plans as a writer are quickly derailed when her boss tells her he doesn't have the funds to hire her on after her graduation. She's stuck--in New York City--without a Plan B. When she sees a job listing for a matchmaker, she's intrigued. Sasha's secret is that her parents met through a kind of matchmaker: her father chose her mom through a catalog and paid for her to come to the United States from Russia. Of course, it didn't exactly work out (they're divorced), but Sasha uses the story to get hired on at Bliss, an exclusive NYC matchmaking service. She's hopeful the job will tide her over while she waits for a writing gig. And, she thinks, she has to know something about love, since she's successfully with her boyfriend, Jonathan, who works around-the-clock in his Wall Street gig. But matchmaking isn't as easy as it looks--it's a lot of stressful Tinder swiping and tracking down potential mates in random ways--and it becomes even more complicated when Sasha develops a crush on one of her client's matches. One of the firm's rules is that matches are off-limits. Sasha's struggling: can she keep it all together?

This is one of those books where I find myself going into it warily, because you just know things are going to come crashing down, and you (me) are not 100% sure you want to be there for all of it. It's not a secret (it's in the book description) that Sasha and Jonathan break up and that she gets into a relationship with Adam, one of her client's matches. For some reason, I often have an issue with these sorts of books where the character just makes bad choices: Sasha makes no attempt to avoid what will be an inevitable downfall with Adam, so I found myself cringing as she made a string of poor decisions.

That's not to say Sasha isn't an engaging character. This book is very readable, and I certainly liked Sasha and reading about her life. However, I can't lie:I probably am a little older than the target audience for this novel. It offers a fun and engaging look at the dating scene in New York, but there wasn't a lot I could relate to. I felt protective of Sasha, not empathetic to her, if that makes any sense. Honestly, the book just made me feel relieved I no longer have to date or deal with basically anything Sasha had to endure during the course of this novel.

Still, Orenstein does a good job at capturing Sasha's voice and what it's like to be a young twenty-something trying to survive in the city. Sasha's relationship with her best friend Caroline and her mom are well-done. I didn't think there was as much overall about matchmaking as a job as I'd hoped--it seemed to be a lot of Tinder swiping and chatting--so that was a little bit of a bummer, but there was enough to know it's a job I'd never want!

Overall, if you're young and still dating, you'll probably really enjoy this book--especially if you live in a city. If not, some of its essence may be a bit lost of you, but you'll still like Orenstein's witty writing and the arc of Sasha's struggles. 3.5 stars.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review (thank you!).

Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Google+ ~ Instagram
Profile Image for Sarah Joint.
445 reviews987 followers
June 30, 2018
This is book candy, sweet and easy to savor - but not so sweet it'll hurt your stomach. It was exactly what I needed to read right now and it's a great summer release. There's plenty of cute moments, romance, and humor.

The main character is quite charming, a young college graduate living in Manhattan. Job offers in her chosen field of journalism aren't exactly falling in her lap, so she's keeping her options open. Browsing the job offers on Craig's List one day leads her in an interesting direction: a matchmaking agency. At only 21, she doesn't have a lot of relationship experience, but uses the story about how her parents met to get her foot in the door.

When Sasha got the job, she thought she was headed to a ring on her finger one day from long-term boyfriend Jonathan. Until he makes a confession, and she finds herself single. Stunned and out-of-sorts, she invites a man she had unsuccessfully set up with one of her clients out on a date. It's strictly forbidden, but she had been drawn to him as soon as she met him... what harm could one date do?

The stories of Sasha's clients alternate between hilarious and heartwarming. It's a really fun, immensely readable book. And can we just mention the adorable cover?! If you're in the mood for something light with romance and humor, I'd absolutely give it a shot.

I received an ARC of this book from Net Galley and Touchstone, thank you! My review is honest and unbiased.
Profile Image for Hannah Orenstein.
Author 5 books883 followers
May 28, 2020
If I don't think my own book is worth five stars, there's a problem.
Profile Image for Amy.
1,940 reviews1,898 followers
July 12, 2018
One of the first things I thought when I started this one was, thank god I don’t have to navigate dating anymore! Back when I was single the internet was in it’s infancy, there were definitely no apps much less dating apps. Mybfirst cell phone was a travesty, there was nothing smart about it. It wasn’t quite as huge as Zach Morris dinosaur phone, but it wasn’t much better. Hats off to all you guys trying to date in this crazy era, I don’t know how you guys manage! Through Sasha, Orenstein brings this world of matchmaking and Tinder to life with hilarity and genuine warmth, singles and smug marrieds alike will be cracking up at some of these matches.

Sasha is a recently graduated early twenty something with big hopes and dreams and no money. Her new job at Bliss seems like the easiest way to earn a living in the world, but as messy as her life is before she starts, it gets worse. Her professional and personal life starts to blend together and she has some seriously difficult clients as well, girlfriend has her hands full. The clients of Bliss were one of the best parts to me, they represented all ages, races and sociological statuses and they well all pretty picky and demanding as well. So many funny scenarios and situations came about through these dates, you can read this for the comic relief alone and be satisfied.

This was just a really fun and silly read, ideal when you really want to escape your own reality and just be entertained by someone else’s drama. I didn’t have much in common with Sasha but I did still really like her and was rooting for her all the way through. The ending wasn’t as wrapped up as I usually prefer but it did work here and I respect the author for leaving things how she did, it was bold and realistic which is always refreshing.

Playing With Matches in three words: Fresh, Easy and Entertaining.

Profile Image for Lisa (Remarkablylisa).
2,289 reviews1,827 followers
April 12, 2018


I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I was captivated by the cover of this book when I first saw it on the Simon and Schuster Instagram stories. Look how simply stunning it is! It's pink! It features cartoons! Two of my favourite things to include in a cover for a book. I know I'm being shallow by judging a book by it's cover but a girl just loves her pink. This book also screamed romance and the chick-lit type of story that the world is craving right now and it did. Not. Disappoint.

In Playing with Matches by Hannah Orenstein, we follow our heroine Sasha Goldberg, a new grad who simply needs a job. Her hardworking and intelligent boyfriend Jonathan, the man she's been dating since her college years, has landed himself an elite position as a financial analyst intern at one of the world's leading investment firms. Sasha doesn't feel inferior to him at any point of the book but instead praises herself and knows her self-worth when she lands a job as the youngest matchmaker in New York's biggest matchmaking firms. Sasha is swept up in this fantasy world of chatting up gorgeous men and women, hoping to set them up on dates while earning a pretty penny for each one. She thinks glamour not Tinder. She craves fun nights in the bar not signing up on multiple dating profiles using alias names and changing her sex to lure in the opposite sex clients. While Sasha does have her fair dose of glamour, she sees her life slowly unraveling.

Her best friend is starting to get annoyed because Sasha's been neglecting her. Her boyfriend seems more distant as he spends more time with his boss than with her and her job is mostly coaching her clients through dates 24/7. It's getting rough. When things fall apart, Sasha's story seems to come back together almost miraculously. Her friends forgive her and her love life takes off. Things do seem a little too perfect but I loved how Hannah developed her characters to wear rose colored glasses only to have the truth of it all slap them in their faces. I really appreciated the realistic elements in the story where things don't always go Sasha's way and one of the most beautiful things a person can achieve is to stand on their own two feet by themselves.

I loved the writing. It was light and fun and something someone who appreciates a novel from Sophie Kinsella or Molly Harper or Leah Mclaren can really enjoy. I also really appreciated how Hannah came from a writing background. She worked at Seventeen! Guys, I adored Seventeen when I was growing up and I can see how her ease of writing something fun like Seventeen articles flowed into her writing style.


I strongly recommend this book to readers in their 20's. We're not old enough to know everything but we're also not young enough to be ignorant. This book included really important self-growth and development that translates well for all of us to appreciate.
Profile Image for Crystal King.
Author 3 books442 followers
March 5, 2018
What an absolutely fun book this is! I was thrilled to receive an advanced copy of this novel and it did not disappoint. Sasha Goldberg is a matchmaker for an elite dating service, one that specializes in customized connections. The thing is, her own life is riddled with disconnections, resulting in a rollicking good read as Sasha tries to make sense of the various relationships that have turned her life topsy-turvy. It's a fast moving, romantic tale with interesting and complex characters, pop-culture to color the page and a contemporary NYC backdrop to cement it together. Playing with Matches is a perfect gift for your best girlfriend or an excellent addition to your own summer beach bag.
175 reviews6 followers
February 6, 2023
I've been duped by books twice in my reading career. The first was when I didn't read a description well enough and ended up reading a Jane Austen retelling when I'm just not a fan, and the other time was this book. I loved the book. All the way up until about 95%, where, I am very sad to say, the ending completely ruined the whole thing for me.
The premise is great: fresh from college, Sasha needs to job. She sees an ad for a matchmaking service, and, given her parents' relationship, applies immediately. A book about a matchmaker setting people up on dates? Yes, sign me up for that perfect little rom-com! The characters were great. So many varied personalities that I never felt like I was simply reading the same person with a different name. They were perfectly villainy or funny or sweet or swoon worthy, whichever the case may be. The guys she was finding were too funny and as a reader, you empathize with her plight.
She begins with a boyfriend, so it should be no shock to the reader that something happens there. The what, the how it was handled, the place in the novel it occurred were all done well enough to keep an avid chick lit reader flipping to the next page (or swiping, as was my case). The after drama with the wedding they were both in was so well done, so realistic, that I almost reached for a glass of wine myself.
The new guy who comes in, the guts it takes to reach out and pursue the way she did- I loved it. It was 5 star material. Around 60%, the novel started to drag, I won't lie. I didn't mind that though because the way the author handled it was like time was just passing and there was nothing important to share. As the reader, I appreciated that gap in time to make the story, and specifically the romance, seem real, even if I'm also like oh, let's get going again. Still good. Still 5 to 4 1/2 star territory. The characters weren't perfect, which made them perfect, the dialogue was funny, and the romance was hot and yet clean and not explicit.
THEN. Around 95%, when Mindy comes to her and says she's pregnant with Adam's baby, that's where the story lost it for me. I loved the drama. I loved the twist. I knew she had to get fired from that job at some point, I didn't care about that. Honestly, I thought it would be bigger and more dramatic than that, but whatever. I didn't care that Adam is a good guy and I knew he'd want something to do with the baby. I care that I'm at 95%, and I'm nervous as to how the author is going to wrap up the ending. Spoiler: she didn't. Adam dumps her. I'm not mad about that decision. It makes sense with the story. BUT THEN THE NOVEL ENDS. She gets the job at Esquire.com and then bam. Author acknowledgements. And one very unhappy reader.
20 more pages. An epilogue. A promise of a sequel. GIVE ME SOMETHING. Reading through the About the Author and the bad ending makes sense. Apparently I've picked up a modern day Devil Wears Prada, where "based on" is code for names have been changed. I'm good with write what you know, in fact I love it. But I picked up a chick-lit, rom-com novel. Is it too much to expect that my heroine ends up at least with the hope of reconciliation with Adam at the end?
I really get *why* Ms. Orenstein wrote that ending. Similiarly, I understand why the original Gilmore Girls series ended with Rory saying no to a proposal: the whole world is now at our MC's fingers! She doesn't have to settle down and become a young wife and/or mom like her own Russian mother. In fact, her mother is probably thrilled. Now she can go out and have fun. I really understand that that's life and sometimes it doesn't end up the way we want. But that is not why I read chick-lit.
It is a sweet, thought breakup (what ever that really means). I don't have issue with that. I have issue with the abrupt ending. With having to complete the storyline in my mind to make myself satisfied with the work.
Did I enjoy my time reading? Until 97%, yes, very much so. And I greatly appreciate that the author took the time and effort to write this. It really was an enjoyable read until the ending. Would I recommend it to a girlfriend? Probably not. The ending wasn't strong enough "she don't need no man to be happy!" for me to justify the whole no man in a chick-lit book thing. Would I give the author another shot? For sure!! The writing really was fun, quick, fluffy chick-lit! Everything you'd want in a book like this! But I'll be double checking the ending prior to reading.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to preview this book in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, thank you. If I had bought this for my Kindle, I would've ended up returning it for a refund as soon as I finished. The ending is the last impression.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
665 reviews31 followers
December 11, 2018
Ok, I have a question, do writers even care whether anybody would wish to read about what’s happening in their MC’s stories? Because Hannah Orenstein obviously doesn’t. This heroine is sooooooooooooo stupid. And boring, and un-interesting and I reiterate stupid, stupid and stupid. I skipped such a huge chunk from the middle of this stupid book and I’m still feeling annoyed. Who cares what’s going to happen to this idiot?
Profile Image for Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows).
1,569 reviews330 followers
June 30, 2018
3.5 stars

Little did I realize that I had actually seen this author on a panel when I attended an event for Match Made in Manhattan and the Strand Bookstore. I remember her discussing this book and thought I needed to get my hands on a copy and lo, and behold, here I have one!

Dating in New York is HARD y'all. HARD! I've lived in a variety of cities and have found New York to be the hardest. Whether it's because there's just such an abundance of people to choose from, or the hustle and bustle of long hours and long nights that sometimes leaves little room, or desire, to make an effort. Online dating is something I do NOT like and who has money for this kind of matchmaking service?!

Overall this is a super cute story. Sasha is relatable and yet at some points I'm screaming "THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE!" Then I think that just because I haven't had some overly romantic gesture thrown at me ala movie/book life doesn't mean it can't ACTUALLY happen to someone. The matchmaking parts were very entertaining and I have no doubt a job like that would probably turn me off of dating altogether. It was exhausting just reading about the wants and needs of people (most completely unrealistic). However, it is SO true that you may have a checklist of what you consider the perfect person, but it's highly likely you won't end up with someone who checks off all, or even some, of them.

I did enjoy the ending as it wasn't something I was expecting from a romance book. I'm not quite certain I absolutely love this book, but it certainly kept me entertained for a quick read. If you like chic-lit contemporary books and are looking for a quick beach read, I'd say this is a good one to pick up!

Thank you to Touchstone for this copy!
January 19, 2018
Playing with Matches is about a fresh-out-of-college New Yorker who tries to make sense of her love life while working at a high-profile match making agency. The book explores the huge societal pressure women face to find that one perfect match. While sending a profound message, Playing with Matches is hilarious and impossible to put down! Perfect summer read--a breath of fresh air full of wit and great characters. Also maybe the most instagrammable cover of 2018!
Profile Image for Elyssa Goodman.
Author 1 book3 followers
March 11, 2018
Ms. Orenstein has lovingly, delightfully crafted a story that will have you turning pages so fast that time will also fly! It's a delicious story about a young matchmaker that I couldn't put down, one I kept getting excited about picking up, that I would think about while on my way to work, and that I was sad had finished when it was over.
Profile Image for Melissa.
1,217 reviews
July 31, 2018
Playing with Matches had been recommended to me by someone who shares similar tastes in novels. She knows my preferences too well, as I really enjoyed this story and had a hard time putting it down. I was thinking about it whenever I wasn't immersed in the pages.

Hannah Orenstein uses sharp and witty dialogue to make her characters come to life. I love that the story is set in NYC and you can really feel the vibe of the city through her descriptions. Sasha was easily relatable, even though we're about 20 years apart in age. The concept is clever and reminded me a bit of Run Catch Kiss, which is a book I enjoyed reading a long time ago.

Similarly to Run Catch Kiss, this novel doesn't end the way I expected it to. A lot of conflict is introduced closer to the last quarter and I was wondering what was going to happen for Sasha. There is a lot of room for a sequel and I would love to see that happen!

Dream movie cast:
Sasha: Allie Grant
Caroline: Meghann Fahy
Jonathan: Patrick Schwarzenegger
Adam: Bob Morley
Mindy: Ari Graynor
Eddie: Bobby Moynihan
Profile Image for Stacey.
Author 2 books7 followers
February 25, 2018
What a fun and unique read! Living in New York, I loved seeing the city through someone else's eyes — and now have some new recommendations for restaurants and bars! I found myself thinking about the main character and what she would do next when I wasn't even reading the book. Personally, I think that shows the skill of the writer: keeping me interested in her story at all times. I absolutely loved this book.
160 reviews89 followers
November 3, 2018
As much fun as reading Hannah's tweets (which you should understand is the highest of praise)
Profile Image for Anna Proskurova.
40 reviews161 followers
February 15, 2021
Історія про молоду 22-річну дівчину Сашу, яка тільки закінчила університет, і хоче працювати журналістом або ж писати книги. Але реальність жорстока, і їй потрібно знайти "нормальну" роботу, аби отримувати реальні гроші й платити за житло та кредит. Дівчина натрапляє на пропозицію працювати шлюбним консультантом в агенції "Бліс". І ось, Саша працює зі своєю першою клієнткою.

Дівчина не так вже й багато знає про відносини, хоч і зустрічається з успішним хлопцем. Їй доводиться стати сміливішою, настирнішою, відвертішою, аби зрозуміти чого хочуть люди й кого вони шукають. А ще Саша розуміє, що і в її відносинах не все так добре.

Історія проста, легка, але цікава. Героїня прогресує, працює над собою та розвивається в ситуаціях, які навчають її життю. Це книга про кохання, людські бажання, дружбу та пошук себе.

Що цікаво, авторка написала книгу через те, що сама працювала в реальності в подібній шлюбній агенції, про яку розповідає в книзі.
Profile Image for Brittany.
371 reviews38 followers
June 26, 2018
After reading this I suppose I can see why so many people have enjoyed it but unfortunately, I wasn't one of them. The cover and title both caught my attention, but the overall story just didn't work for me.

*ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Melissa Italiano.
136 reviews15 followers
July 27, 2018
This was such a fun beach read! Classic rom-com style. Gives off Devil Wears Prada vibes but for matchmaking which is something entertainment media hasn't really touched upon yet!

Books On The Subway picked it for this month's #OffTheRailsBookClub which met last night. We had the pleasure of having the author come and answer some questions and it made the book even more enjoyable to learn that so much of it is based on her own experience.

This book has so much potential for a sequel and I'm here for it.
Profile Image for Simone.
555 reviews702 followers
October 30, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Ella Star.
106 reviews20 followers
March 23, 2020
I loved this coming-of-age chick-lit! Makes me want to move to NYC.

I was expecting a sugary-sweet chick-lit in Sophie Kinsella's lane when I picked up this book. Instead, I got a bittersweet coming of age story about a 22-year-old New Yorker, a matchmaker for a dating agency whose life felt heartwarmingly familiar.

I admit Playing With Matches was a total cover buy for me! I mean how could anyone *not* but this book after seeing the adorable cover art? I absolutely adore it and can't wait to see the next cover from this author (although it might give the wrong impression - it was more than the cover promised).

On the negative side, I wished this book wouldn't have resolved quite as quickly as it did. I wanted an additional 10-15 pages of the ending. It was just a little too fast for me, which is why I knocked off a star (also some language that I found a little problematic).

I'm very interested in reading more by Hannah Orenstein, I was impressed with her story weaving and her words really put me right in the middle of New York. Can't wait for her upcoming book! I can't wait to see where she takes us next.

Would recommend for: This book really reminds me of the newer type of romantic comedies we've been getting in cinemas lately. I would totally recommend it if you enjoyed chick flicks like Trainwreck and How To Be Single.
Profile Image for Janelle Janson.
711 reviews451 followers
June 29, 2018
Thanks so much Touchstone Books for providing my free copy of PLAYING WITH MATCHES by Hannah Orenstein - all opinions are my own.

This is the perfect palate cleanser to balance out those heavy reads. It’s easy-breezy, quickly paced, addictive, and so much fun to read! I kept flipping through the pages to see what decisions our main protagonist would make next. The story centers on Sasha Goldberg, a recent college graduate living in New York City, who is desperate to find a job. She is the product of divorced parents as her mom was a Russian mail order bride. So needless to say her parents didn’t make the best match. She soon finds herself working for an elite matchmaking service, in the midst of the dating scene trying to pair people together. Of course, things start to go wrong when her own love life gets entangled with her clients.

I am not usually a romcom reader, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I especially appreciate the realistic elements and how not everything is neatly wrapped up in a bow. And I’m obsessed with the eye-catching cover!! PLAYING WITH MATCHES is the perfect summer read with well-thought-out and complex characters that will keep you totally engaged. This is a debut novel, so I’m very interested to see what Orenstein comes out with next!
Profile Image for Georgia Clark.
Author 10 books842 followers
January 23, 2018
Delightful. A fun and relatable rom-com for the Tinder age. Get ready to swipe right!
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