Title: The Soulmate Equation
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: May 18th, 2021
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.
Christina Lauren is an auto read for me at this point, and The Soulmate Equation did not disappoint. Jess is a single mom and unlucky in love. She hasn’t even wanted to date while raising Juno, but when she learns of a new dating service connected to your own biology her best friend convinces her to give it a try. To her surprise, she ends up being a supremely high match with one of the project’s founders, and a guy she finds absolutely unbearable. Enter some forced dating for press releases and Jess & River find themselves spending a lot of time together. But will they fall in love as genetically predicted?
This is a very interesting take on the online dating romances that have been published to date. It’s also the forced dating trope, which is not one I read often personally but do really enjoy! The tension in the beginning is classic Christina Lauren as they get to know each other, and then the romance is sweet as they get together more. I appreciated the interesting take on the main conflict, it was not what I was expecting to have happen in a great way. I also loved that she was a single mom, which you don’t see in romance novels as often.
I did have a lot of questions about Jess’ willingness to go along with this, I just feel like there was some level of suspension of belief required in this book. It definitely walks the line of what people will normally see as acceptable behavior.
For Christina Lauren fans, definitely a worthy edition to their lengthy publication history. For the scientists out there, you can let me know if it is factually accurate or not!
Thank you to Gallery Books and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Happy reading, folks!