Book Review: The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

Book Cover

I don’t know why I’ve been in the mood to read romance (maybe it’s the summer beachy feel, not sure). Just after Christmas, I read Lauren’s other book, In a Holidaze. It’s a Groundhog’s Day type story with a Christmasy, romantic twist. While it wasn’t a perfect book and I never felt a lot of the romantic chemistry, it had a perfect Christmas feel.

Thus, when I saw the writing duo came out with a new book with a really unique premise, I decided to pick it up. And I enjoyed it for the most part, until the ending!

Release: May 18, 2021

Page Count: 368

Format: Audiobook

Synopsis: Jess Davis is a struggling single mother with a six-year-old daughter. Deciding cautiously to jump back into the dating scene, she signs up for a revolutionary matchmaking company, with claims to be able to find matches for people simply by using their DNA. Jess surprisingly is matched with an almost perfect match of 98% compatibility, with one of the original company founders, Dr. River Pena. Unfortunately, they can’t stand each other, but in the name of science and with Jess promised monetary compensation, they agree to fake date in order to test if a soulmate can really by found by DNA.

Review

I really loved the premise of this book, how just by looking at DNA you can decide whether you’re suited to a person or not. I also liked the haters-to-lovers trope. Jess and River are neither horrible people in the beginning, but through some misunderstandings Jess starts with a negative view of River. But by the end their romance was very sweet. Saying that, it did bother me at times how much Jess objectified River. If she said one more time how something about him (his hair, his eyes, his muscles) were attractive or how much she wanted to jump into his bed, I would have strangled her. I loved their chats and interaction early on, but her stupid objectifying commentary really drew me out of enjoying the romance. I also hated the weird twist at the end, as it felt completely unnecessary and only there to add drama. I also would have loved a better examination of the implications on society a technology like this would have, which was never really discussed in the book.

Before I get to the actual plot and romance, I want to talk briefly about the technology itself. It’s a really interesting examination on the nurture vs. nature debate. The DNA technology only takes into account a person’s genes. It does not take into account upbringing, values instilled early in life, or any other variables which shape us into adult humans. Not to get too political, but if I’m a very strong Democrat and my “diamond match” (any compatibility about 90%) is very Republican, odds are even if our DNA matches our values won’t. If this DNA compatibility testing was in fact created in the real world, I don’t think it would actually work. Saying that, I understand that this book is supposed to be a light romance and maybe I’m reading into this way too much.

Now unto the story. There was so much to love about the chemistry between Jess and River. River got along great with Juno, Jess’s daughter. River as a character felt a little too perfect, to be honest, and I kept wanting to learn more about his weaknesses besides that he’s shy, but he was still enjoyable. Jess herself was pretty interesting too, a woman cautious about giving her heart away because Juno’s father left her when he found out she was pregnant. I was interested in the side-plot of Jess being raised by her grandparents, while her mother is a recovering alcoholic and a woman with serious issues. There’s also Jess’s hilarious romance writer friend who I really enjoyed!

Saying that, let me get to the plot twist that I really disliked at the ending.

SPOILER WARNING FOR THE NEXT PARAGRAPH!

The twist at the end is that some of the scientists in the company fabricated Jess and River’s test results to bring interest to their company during their launch. Thus Jess and River did not have a 98% compatibility. I don’t think it was every revealed exactly how high their compatibility actually was, but by River’s reaction after retesting it seemed to indicate it was almost that high anyway. So the whole ending where River leaves for a couple days and Jess is heartbroken and then he returns to say he just needed time for a bit was just so pointless! They’re compatible and he wasn’t actually upset, so that entire section was pointless!!

Okay, spoilers over.

So I enjoyed this book, but I saw so many ways it could have been better. In the end, I gave it 3 stars.

Have you read this book, or any other by Christina Lauren book? Does it look interesting to you? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, thank you so much for reading, follow my blog for more musings and, as always,

Best wishes in your life full of adventure,

Anne

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