The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars
Genre: 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.
I am definitely a sucker for Christina Lauren books and I never hesitate to pick up their new books. Even though the plot was really interesting, I ultimately thought the book was just okay. The main character has some great connections with her friends and family, but the romance fell really flat for me. Honestly, my favorite parts of the book are Jess’s relationship with her daughter and her quirky best friend Fizzy. Both of them had such unique personalities and their conversations would always make me laugh.
In this story, River was the main romantic love interest for Jess. I think the author was trying to play the Pride and Prejudice angle too much. For example, Jess overhears River telling his co-worker that she was just “average” before they officially met. Um, Pride and Prejudice 2005 anyone? I had the scene with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen at the ball playing in my head while I was reading. But Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy had good chemistry together because of the tension and misunderstandings. Jess and River didn’t have much tension and their entire relationship ended up revolving around their diamond match score.
One of the biggest things that I really enjoyed about this book is how much River respects and involves himself in raising Juno, Jess’s daughter. I think this book provides a good perspective of single parents who are struggling to juggle working full time while supporting a family and River gets an A+ for being so accommodating in the relationship. Again, I feel like I love Jess and River individually as their separate characters more than them being together.
The main premise of the story revolves around genetic compatibility, so there is also a lot of scientific jargon used to explain the technology. I think the scientific component was really interesting at the beginning, but I didn’t like how it was used as *spoilers ahead* the main romantic conflict, and didn’t feel believable in the story. If diamond matches were that rare, and River and Jess got the highest diamond match ever, River and his team should have quadruple-checked the data to match sure it was accurate and not fabricated. From personal experience, I will say that most outliers or even promising results are checked so many times that it can be common to have numbers memorized. It just really surprised me that River decided to run one additional blood test and not compare the results with the baseline values from the existing diamond match. In the story, River claimed that he doesn’t have time to run everything by himself, but then I didn’t understand why he had time to personally draw Jess’s blood. If my business and all this PR were banking on this technology, I would have personally rerun the analysis. *end of spoilers*
Will I read more stuff by Christina Lauren? Absolutely. I love their characterization and creative plots. And the stories are entertaining enough that they always help me get out of a reading slump. But, I still think that The Unhoneymooners is their best work!
TLDR: A fun, creative, and fluffy romance novel. I personally loved all the side characters and their interactions and didn’t care for the romance aspect.
If you’ve read this book, let me know your thoughts!