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Playing With Matches | A Review of Sorts

Hi, I'm Francesca and I'm really bad at talking about books but I continue to do it anyways because I LIKE READING AND TALKING ABOUT MY FEELINGS. This post is brought to you by absolutely no coffee and not quite enough sleep, but hey at least my eyeliner came out even this morning and my highlighter is looking like the perfect amount of dewiness that will no doubt just turn into pure sweat later (thank you, 14th Street & Union Square subway platform, you humid SOB).

Let's start this off with a story though: I don't remember how I started following Hannah Orenstein on Twitter. I feel like it had something to do with this Drake and Rihanna tweet, but I don't remember what happened two days ago let alone what happened two years ago so your guess is as good as mine. And now here we are two years later and she's gone and released a book that matches my stack of pink books on my desk so naturally it needed a spot in my life! All jokes aside, as soon as this book was announced, you could say I was colored stoked, so much so that I read it in a few sittings. Let me tell you, it was tough trying to hold off until my bus ride home this past weekend. I knew I would want to read most of it in one sitting (I just had a ~feeling~) and lo and behold, I was right about something in my life. Finally.

Playing With Matches is all about a 22-year-old who is looking for work post-grad and ends up working as a matchmaker at an elite dating service in Manhattan. She's a little inexperienced (hell, aren't we all?) but dives into the world of matchmaking at Bliss when her other career expectations fall through (#RelatableTweets). I feel like there's a lot on the back cover that dives into the deeper plots of the book–"amazing" finance bro-boyfriend who is glued to his phone and obsessed with his career, best friend Caroline who's struggling both in the career and boy department, a deep-dark family secret, and a downward spiral that could ruin her career if she's caught with a match she originally set up with a client.

I love that this book is about a 22-year-old. Y'all know that I adore reading YA fiction, but I'm 22 and sometimes I just don't feel like relating to teenagers anymore (don't get me wrong, when Sarah Dessen puts out another book, I'm there). Maybe it's just me, but I feel like there's a huge gap in publishing (or at least books that are well promoted) for stories about twenty-somethings just trying to make their way through life. I haven't read a book since graduating high school that I've felt like I could relate to (uh, hello, journalism degree without a job in journalism) and it's really refreshing seeing the struggle of post-grad life away from a personal essay published on some random blog on the internet (see: mine) and into a fictionalized story instead. I appreciate the representation of the reality of twenty-somethings: shit it messy, nobody is where they want to be, and MEN CAN'T BE TRUSTED. Kidding.

I always fear that I'm going to accidentally give away huge plot points in the book, so I just want to talk about my favorite character for a second. Sasha's roommate Caroline is the daughter of lawyers who gets a pretty hefty check a month from her parents to help supplement her rent. There's a huge misconception, even through Sasha's mind, that because Caroline has this money that she's living her best life and is the happiest she can be. However, in reality, Caroline is a girl with a degree who is still working retail and is trying so desperately to find a guy that she just keeps putting herself in situations with men that, quite frankly, suck. Tbh, I found her to be the most relatable in the book and while she had her moments where I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her senseless while just being like "GORLLLL, stop!" I get where she was coming from and I really felt for her.

You know me, loving side characers since '95!

I hate the pool (water and I don't get along) but Playing With Matches is seriously the perfect pool read for the summer. It's light and flirty but has enough doses of reality that you'll be checking yourself before you wreck yourself, ya know? It's a bit of a lighter read, which is my preferred type of book, honestly. If something is so complicated that it makes me think about it longer than it took me to read a page, I have no interest in it. I like books that make me feel like I'm escaping and can put myself in a character's shoes with ease.

Also like, books that match my pink book stack are my faves? So shoutout to whoever designed this cover. And, ya know, to Hannah for writing a book that was the only positive thing about my ELEVEN HOUR BUS RIDE back to NYC on Sunday. You tha real MVP.


  1. 100% putting this in my Amazon cart ASAP!

  2. This books is totally up my alley!!
    xo, Sydney

  3. This book sounds so good - adding it to my list rn. Anything that’s relatable aka postgrad struggles (already preparing for that) + boy struggles is already a win.

    xoxo, cecilia //


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