Playing With Matches by Hannah Orenstein – book review

I was at JFK airport, exhausted from four beautiful days in New York City about to head home when I realised, ‘shit, I finished The Tattooist of Auschwitz on the plane here.

There was no way I could endure the seven hour flight without reading material, so headed into one of the airport stores to pick up a new book. Walking down the aisle, I ran my finger along the shelves hoping something would jump out at me. I thought about getting one of those self-care/zen/better-yourself books, but actually, I just really wanted to immerse myself in a fiction novel.

I held two books up in my hand, Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult – an author who has made me sob into the pages of My Sister’s Keeper, and Playing with Matches by Hannah Orenstein – a book, and author, I had never heard of, but the cover was pink and would look pretty in the office when I was finished reading. Sad, I know. I asked Jake to make an executive decision ‘the pink one’ he said. The pink one it was, then.

Set in New York, Sasha Goldberg is a Journalism graduate from NYU, she lives with her best friend, has a seemingly amazing relationship, but when her journalism job falls through, she finds herself desperate for a job. So desperate, that she uses her family’s darkest secret to get it.

Playing With Matches – I love the title. A clever play on words. Not candle-lighting matches, but Tinder matches; equally as fiery, and equally as likely to get burnt. Sasha begins working for a match-making company called Bliss, where she gets paid to match up clients, from a 40-year-old baseball-loving virgin, to a woman with a very detailed, extensive and annotated checklist for her dream man. Sasha suffers majorly with imposter syndrome, which is something I can certainly relate to when it comes to blogging – I think we’ve all felt it at some point or another.

A review by Ann Shoket, former Editor in Chief of Seventeen, said: “If you grew up with Gossip Girl, this is the book for your life now!” I had binge-watched Gossip Girl the week before heading to New York, and Ann’s review is totally spot on. Being a Journalism student myself, the book is deeply relatable and having literally just stepped on the plane from New York, I could see the streets in my head as I flicked through the pages. I read this book at exactly the right time in my life – if there was ever a time to believe in fate.

With any online dating, of course there is drama. There’s cheating, tears, complicated families, friendship failure fears and forbidden fruits. Playing With Matches give insight into online dating and Instagram stalking in the name of love. It’s hilarious and so close to real-life it’s untrue. Actually, it’s so close to real-life because it practically is. Author Hannah Orenstein is a New York journalist who studied at NYU, and at the age of 21 she became the youngest matchmaker at a dating service.

The witty rom-com is a must-read. It’s funny, honest, relatable and modern, dealing with the minefield that is modern dating between the whirlwind of Sasha’s own life. If there was a Tinder for books, I would definitely swipe right on Playing With Matches.


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1 Comment

  1. May 3, 2019 / 6:08 pm

    This is such an Instagram friendly book haha – love your photos of it! Fab review.

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