The Soulmate Equation
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books (May 18, 2021)
Hardcover, 368 pages
Romance, Contemporary Romance
Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents–who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno–Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father’s never been around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely.
But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands. At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98% compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Pena. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Pena. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess–who is barely making ends meet–is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could make GeneticAlly a mint in stock prices, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist–and the science behind a soulmate–than she thought.
CW: Alcoholism, drug-abuse, addiction
Christina Lauren’s recent releases tend to be pretty hit or miss for me, and this one fell right around the middle of the road. But come on, and enemies to lovers AND (sort of) fake dating? Yes please. I suppose the fake dating trope is sort of more of a modern twist on a marriage (or relationship?) of convenience as much as it’s fake dating. It’s an interesting spin, for sure!
I don’t usually love single parent romances, but Juno is just TOO cute. I also adore Jess’s grandpartners (Nana Jo and Pops) and her BFF Fizzy. I found myself just wanting to go hang out with Jess and Fizzy – what a fun girls’ night! As always with books told from just one POV (Jess’s, in this case), I wish we’d gotten some chapters from River’s POV as well.
There’s a twist in this book – because you’ve always got to have that third act dark moment – and I tell you I GASPED. I’m not 100% happy with the resolution, but it did work with the book. This leaned a bit more towards the chick lit side of things while still remaining a genre romance, and despite the humor and levity Fizzy and Juno add I wouldn’t call it a rom-com (though there are some definite laugh out loud moments). Jess has a lot to deal with as a single parent with an addict mother who mostly comes around when she’s in trouble, so there are definitely some heavier themes in this book as well.
An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Goodreads Giveaways for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.