The Matchmaker's List by Sonya Lalli

The Matchmaker's List

Sonya Lalli

Raina agrees to let her grandmother play matchmaker. As Raina’s life spirals into disastrous blind dates, she must find a way out of this modern-day arranged-marriage trap without shattering her beloved grandmother’s dreams.

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One devoted modern girl + a meddlesome, traditional grandmother = a heartwarming multicultural romantic comedy about finding love where you least expect it

Raina Anand may have finally given in to family pressure and agreed to let her grandmother play matchmaker, but that doesn't mean she has to like it--or that she has to play by the rules. Nani always took Raina's side when she tried to push past the traditional expectations of their tight-knit Indian-immigrant community, but now she's ambushing Raina with a list of suitable bachelors. Is it too much to ask for a little space? Besides, what Nani doesn't know won't hurt her...

As Raina's life spirals into a parade of Nani-approved bachelors and disastrous blind dates, she must find a way out of this modern-day arranged-marriage trap without shattering her beloved grandmother's dreams.


Advance Galley Reviews

The Matchmakers List was a good book. I really enjoyed this book. Its an original idea for a rom-com that has the demands and stress of cross cultural dating. I enjoyed the characters and story so much. I definitely couldn't put this one down.

If I could have stayed awake, I would have finished this book in one sitting. A great tale of trying to find love via arranged dates set up by her grandmother, Nani, Raina goes on a number of dates with eligible bachelors. That said, many of these men she would have never chosen for herself. But perhaps, that was the point in letting Nani choose these men - finding someone unexpected. The book delves into first love, the trials and tribulations of having one's heart broken and growing from the knowledge that life goes on.

I loved reading about the culture and traditions so I loved that part of the book. The main character was frustrating a lot which just made it hard to love. However, I loved the outcome. Interesting book overall.

I really enjoyed this book! It’s always nice to learn a little something about other cultures. I would definitely recommend!

spoilers! so. i went into this expecting a romance. this is not a romance - at least, not what a romance reader expects when they pick up a book. yes, she goes on dates and there's a HEAish but if you are reading this expecting a romance, even a light/clean one, you'll be disappointed. it read more just like normal 'women's fiction' which there is absolutely nothing wrong with, i just had a hard time adjusting my expectations. i could have dealt with that and enjoyed it regardless, i don't need all my books to be steamy romances, but unfortunately this book had other things that didn't work for me. for one, the main character is pretty unlikable - she pretends to be gay to get her grandmother off her back about dating, which... okay. not okay. but what makes it really not okay is that she keeps it going for a really long time and i really had a problem with that, especially with how she deals with it and the people it impacts. in general she just seemed very unaware of how her actions or words hurt other people and she treated some people really abominably. on top of that, the guy she's in love with is an ex who treated her poorly and when he comes back he's a complete douche and while i understand she doesn't end up with him, he's unlikable from the get go so the reader is more than likely thinking 'get your shit together girl and move the hell on'. it's annoying that it takes raina so long to figure her shit out, especially because it's so clear to the reader that there is nothing decent about this guy. as for the other guys, the random guys she goes on dates with, they were all very 'romantic comedy montage of bad first dates with cliche one dimensional characters' and those just seem pointless to read through. this is another point that didn't work for me because i was expecting more of a romance, less of a finding yourself book - i wanted her to develop a relationship with the guy she supposedly ends up with, but we get barely any development there and then all of a sudden she's falling in love while asking him out to coffee. it just moved a bit too fast and i would have preferred more development in their relationship rather than the random dates that didn't really help the book. again, this is because i was expecting more of a romance and i was disappointed in the lack of romance/love story. and perhaps people who pick this up expecting more of a womens fiction book will be annoyed about the romance in it - you can't please everyone. anyway. this really just did not work for me and i am super bummed. i struggled with my rating - i liked the writing, i know it sounds like i didn't, but i did. if the main character was a bit different and this was more of a romance or not tagged as one in the first place, i think i would have liked it more. but as it was, i had a lot of trouble with the main character in general and pretending to be gay thing. so, sorry. not for me.

I didn't really care for this book. I enjoyed learning a little about Indian culture, but the main character was just SO frustrating! Her refusal to tell the truth throughout the whole book made me want to put the book down and not pick it back up. I did finish it, however, and the ending was just ok. Not my favorite.

4 stars. I thought this was interesting looking into the life of one Bi-racial Indian woman who doesn't want to disappoint her grandmother "Nani" or the Indian community. Raina is 29 years old and pressured to get married before her 30th birthday. Her love of Dev, a high achieving co-worker also of Indian descent who put's Raina second, third and forth to his career has her hanging on the hook for any attention he gives her. Raina's best friend Shay and her Nani have told her to let Dev go but easier said then done when you love someone. With no prospects on the horizon proposing to Raina, Nani takes things in hand with an arranged marriage and list of possible prospects. Raina loves her Nani and based on her mother's and uncle's relationship with Nani, Raina does all she can to meet her approval to the detriment of others. Some funny and said moments with lies that spin out of control. Raina has made a mess of her life all because of her fear of letting go of Dev. There are a couple of guys that Nani and Shay have her meet, but Raina is too obssessed with her past life. It's a sort of coming of age of Raina finally realizing what is important in life and how to move forward. Did enjoy the story even though she drove me crazy by not coming forward with the truth on so many occasions.

I didn't know how much I was going to like this book when I started it. This isn't exactly in my reading comfort zone and I am definitely not in the target demographic for this book. That being said, I absolutely LOVED this book! I was sucked into the narrative very quickly and cared deeply about the characters. I didn't want the book to end but I was very happy with the ending. Sonya Lalli did an excellent job and I look to reading more from her.

This was a good read to learn more about Indian customs. Sonya Lalli gives the reader a glimpse of Indian gender norms, family hierarchy, arranged marriages, and weddings. Plus there is so much to learn and enjoy about Indian food! I had the impression that this was going to be a light hearted romantic comedy. The Matchmaker's List ends up with a mixture of heightened emotions and fragile relationships. Ooof, there are so many bad dates that Raina endures! For those alone, I look forward to Sonya Lalli's next book.

I enjoy books that feature cultures from around the world. It lets me learn and understand how other people operate. The main story revolves around half-Indian, half-white Raina. We knew from the start that she is a strong and accomplished woman, introduced as *almost* perfect except for one thing - she's 29 and unmarried. In Indian culture, that is unacceptable. Despite her strength, we are slowly introduced to her flaws and it was satisfying to watch her unravel and crack. It makes me identify with her more. As a South-East Asian, I relate to Indian culture much more that I realized. We both have BIG, tight-knit communities (extended-extended families) that has to have some sort of input with your life. So, I get it. The pressure, the traditions, the frustration (some of them are really *that* backward), could really put you over the edge. I just don't like how she handled things. She's smart, yeah, but also kind of dumb. Some of her decisions are very stupid and selfish. I almost didn't finish this because her thought process was so frustrating. Her "attraction" to Asher also felt a bit like insta-love. I don't buy insta-love. To be honest, I was expecting an easy read - a light, fluffy romance that would keep me grinning as I flipped through the pages. Does this book deliver that? No, it does not. What it does deliver is a coming-of-age story ++ years too late. Late, but not unwelcome.

"One devoted modern girl + a meddlesome, traditional grandmother = a heartwarming multicultural romantic comedy about finding love where you least expect it" Hmmm, to me, that tagline just doesn't sum up the book I just finished. I wouldn't classify this as a rom-com. And it didn't feel very heartwarming. It was more of a painful, coming of age story. It just took Raina a little longer to come of age. Now, don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the book. The glimpse into the Indian culture and community was fascinating. The descriptions of all the wedding preparations was amazing. I liked the glimpse into Raina and Nani's lives. But I didn't like Raina very much. There was a point about a third of the way into the book that I almost put it down. She was just so annoying! Am I glad I read it? Yes. Am I going to recommend it? I don't know. It depends on what type of book someone is looking to read. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review The Matchmaker's List.

I really enjoyed this book! I love when books have a minority main character so I can learn about a different culture. This did not disappoint! I also loved that the protagonist, Raina, was a strong, independent female fighting against cultural and gender norms. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a strong female character!

Raina is half Indian and she doesn't want to abide by all the traditions that are expected of her, namely an arranged marriage. So when her Nani hands her the list of suitable men that she should date, she finally caves, if just to stop her Nani's constant hounding for marriage and a family. Some of the dates are disastrous and some just aren't for Raina at all, but she really wants to make it through this list. But in the process of going through these dates and navigating life, Raina starts to discover what she really wants. She makes mistakes and, try as she might to hide from them, she needs to face them. Lalli has done an excellent job of portraying life as an Indian-American and the expectations that still live on today. Through Raina's friends, she also does a great job portraying how life growing up can be so hard for people in the gay community because as if the world isn't hard enough, being gay isn't acceptable to their parents, who want to see their children successful, straight, doctors and lawyers. While I didn't agree with all of Raina's decisions, I thought that her process of self-discovery was relatable. And as much as her Nani's constant nagging irked me, I haven't had to deal with that, so if what I've read and watched in movies is true, then it's completely accurate of the culture. I did love Nani's level of supportiveness in Raina, even when it became downright hard to do. Nicely done.

2.75 This book started off strong, cute and funny. Soon enough it was not as interesting following Raina, our main character. The grandmother was extremely adorable and having more of her perspective could have proven beneficial. This was by no means a horrible story, just hard to comprehend Raina's goal.

So this book was nothing like what I thought I was getting. This is a good thing and a bad. It's bad if you're looking for a light hearted romance to read. Because that's not what this is. It's an intense story about love, friendship and trauma. The themes in this book were important and well written but this is not what I thought I was getting. I loved that The Matchmaker's List was diverse and tackled important issues. It's a really great read, if you're not expecting a fluffy romance.

Loved it! 5 stars! The heroine had a perfectly described ennui surrounding her love and work lives. I felt it also and yearned for something more exciting for her. I think the ennui was so profound that it almost took too long in the narrative for her to meet Asher, who made a big step forward in introducing a way to break that tedium (though it took Raina a while to realize it). This book could have been average, but what really took it over the top was how the Indian culture and community was so central to the plot. There were some grammatical errors and time/date issues which can be fixed before publication with a second read-through.

A bit of family and social drama goes a long way. With pressure to marry before the dreaded 30, Raina accepts her Nani’s offer to help arrange a good match. She has somewhat of a hard time, and after committing one little lie of omission, things go out of control fast. Raina grows a lot as she figures out the situation she has gotten herself into and figures out what she has to do to clean things up. However, she finds it difficult to get a handle on things while working long hours and helping her best friend plan her own wedding. I kept finding myself yelling at her for not being honest, time and time again. I normally have such a hard time appreciating characters of such weak substance, but it’s refreshing that the leading character isn’t some sort of heroine, but a teal person with real fears. I enjoyed the social and family aspect as the Indian culture was portrayed. The format switching between full chapters of dates, then present tense, then switching to the third person to narrate Raina’s past birthdays is a little confusing. However, it was a great story and moderately difficult to put down the whole way through. If you’re thinking about marathoning Netflix all Saturday, read this instead. You won’t regret it.

This was a great book! It went beyond my expectations and kept me on my toes. Plenty of humor, insight, romance, and illumination. The characters are personable and have you cheering for them throughout. I'd love to read more from the author (and maybe more about some of the secondary characters). A great read!

This book was fantastic! I loved the characters and there were so many funny moments. I just wanted to reach into the book and hug Nani and beg her to cook me a meal! I can't wait to read more by this author. There was not a single thing in this book that I would change- it was lovely.

Unfortunately, this was not a book I could finish. The main character was very frustrating to follow throughout the story and when she pretended to be gay to get her grandmother off her back about finding a husband, I couldn't read anymore. There are so many ways to add conflict or a twist to a story, but pretending to be gay is not one that should be used. It is harmful and honestly, completely unnecessary. I wish I would have liked this book better because we need so many more diverse experiences and voices in fiction, but this one fell flat for me.

I enjoyed this book for the most part. I haven’t read many books with an Indian main character, or books about Indian culture in general, so it was interesting to learn about Raina’s modern Indian/Canadian life. While most of the characters were fleshed out and interesting, some, most notably Dev and Sarla, seemed a bit two-dimensional, as though they were only included to cause conflict. I really enjoyed the relationships between Raina, Nani, Shay, and Zoey, though. They felt real and believable. While Nani was overbearing at times, you could tell her heart was in the right place and she really just wanted to understand and help her granddaughter. The one slightly problematic facet of this book is how LGBT persons were incorporated. It’s fantastic that LGBT characters were included, but having Raina pretend to be gay to catch a break from Nani’s matchmaking wasn’t the best choice. The LGBT characters and the problems they faced still could have been explored without that aspect. Overall, though, I did like The Matchmaker’s List. It’s an enjoyable rom-com that explores some heavier themes. If you’re interested in Indian culture and typically enjoy light romance and coming-of-age stories, I would give this one a try.

This book is a hard one for me to review, because I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. For one, I don’t think the current marketing has the right angle for this book, so it didn’t quite meet my expectations. I know I am not the only reviewer to voice this, but the cover and the description of this book makes it seem like it’s a fun light-hearted romcom, but it’s more of a self-discovery book that is a lot about identity. Which is fine, but…that’s not what I was looking for in this book. I think one of the things that I particularly had issues with is our main protagonist Raina. I just didn’t get her at all. Her motivations were questionable to me, and I just didn’t get why she was so hung up on her ex-Dev. He seemed like the worst, and also, he came off a little two-dimensional that the text itself just didn’t make me care about him at all. When he showed up later in the book, I just wanted him to go away. I also take a lot of issue with Raina just letting her Nani think she was gay just, so she would get off her back about finding a husband. That is a very hurtful thing to do, and it has a lot of repercussions for other characters in the book. I found this to be such a frustrating part to this book, and it really rubbed me the wrong way. I will say that I loved Raina’s Nani. Yeah, she was a little pushy, but I feel like she really tried to understand Raina. Her relationship with her daughter was interesting and I wish this book had focused more on that. Nani is pretty progressive compared to others in their community, so I really adored that she really tried to understand Raina, even if she wasn’t actually gay. I think she was just trying her best, but a lot of people around her made it a little difficult. I think I would have enjoyed a book about her more. I did enjoy that this book was #OwnVoices and you can really feel that the author's own experience coming from an Indian background shines through in this novel. There is a lot about Indian culture that I know nothing about, so I really like that we get some details about the community, the Hindu religion and the how a Hindu wedding takes place. I didn’t know any of these things! So I really think the community and the cast of characters felt so real and authentic. There were some good things about this book, but in the end I just didn’t love it as much as I could have liked it. I’m a character-driven reader so if I can’t understand or like a character it is sometimes hard for me. I do that this love helped get more diverse stories out in the world, but it just didn't completely "wow" me.

I really enjoyed The Matchmaker's List by Sonya Lalli. While it was a rom-com it had the multi-cultural twist of finding love in the Indian culture. Finding love and navigating the dating waters is hard enough but throw in a time-clock assigned by your culture, an over involved nani and unrequited love and gracious that's a disaster waiting to happen! Raina is approaching 30 and she isn't married. Although she has a stable job and is otherwise happy, by Indian standards she is running out of time. So who better to help find that special someone or at least that someone from a good Indian family and a worthy job, Raina's grandmother Nani, of course. Nani has Raina's best interest as heart and maybe her reputation in the community on the line but her matchmaking ways is driving Raina crazy, crazy to the point she will do almost anything to stop her poor Nani from meddling. Raina's desperation may lead her to make a choice that could hurt those she loves but may also help those in the community see that times are changing and that's ok. The Matchmaker's List is a fun multicultural romantic read. Light and easy to read, or maybe I was just laughing and entertained that I flew through it. Great read.  5/5 stars! The Matchmaker's List releases January 19, 2019.   I was given an advanced reader copy of The Matchmaker's List through First To Read in exchange for my review. The opinions are my own and I am at no obligation to leave a positive review. Thank you First to Read, Sonya Lalli, and Penguin Random House.

I've looked forward to reading this for months so I guess my expectations were too high. My biggest problem with the story was I just didn't understand the main character. By the end of the book I just wished the story had revolved around her grandmother and mom instead. Raina Anand has decided she will let her grandmother, Nani, find her a man. Living in an Indian-immigrant community there has to be at least one guy who Nani will approve of and will make Raina happy. Right? I thought for sure this would be right up my alley but it ended up being such a disappointment. I just didn't get Raina. It makes for a frustrating read when you don't understand the character's motivations. I thought the backstory of her mother and grandmother was so much more interesting and would have enjoyed a book about them instead. Maybe others will enjoy this one, but unfortunately it just wasn't for me. Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy!

When I discovered The Matchmaker's List, I was so happy to see a multicultural story, especially one that dealt with arranged marriage. In some ways, this book is exactly what I expected. It deals with arranged marriage in an interesting, modern way and also showcases aspects of the Indian culture and how its embraced across multiple generations. However, I think this book is less of a romantic comedy than general fiction. At times it can be a bit darker than other romantic comedies I've read. There were some aspects i really enjoyed, but I ultimately couldn't get over the plot device of "pretending to be gay to make your life easier." While I do think that the author handled this story line in a more considerate way (given that it's still a very problematic story line) it shouldn't have been included in the book at all. Today's readers are too savvy and I fear that this book won't do as well as it could have, because of this plot line. Being gay isn't a convenient choice and it certainly doesn't make anyone's life easier. While Raina seems to understand this by the end of the book, it's not clear that the author understand how upsetting of a story line this would be to many

Raina is a young woman of Indian descent. Her mother Indian, her father was unknown to her, but he was white. She has been raised by her Mothers parents, Her Mother gave birth to her at 16. She has never been a stabilizing influence in Raina’s life. She was self-centered, wild and out of control. Nani has always been Raina’s rock and center of her life. All Nani wants for Raina is a nice Indian boy. In a moment of weakness Raina’s consents to dating men that Nani has found if she was unmarried at 30. And she was, though it actually started at 29. Everything about the dating is a disaster. Most of the men are not really interested either but feel parental pressure. To top it off Raina is in love with a work associate who lives in another country and has commitment issues. And her best friend is getting married, in the traditional way of her Indian customs. That’s just a few of the things happening in this fun, witty book that tackles lots and lots of issues of today’s society. There are hilarious and serious things all mixed up in THE MATCHMAKERS LIST, Many thanks to first to read. Enjoy

Where most YA books can fall into a coming of age category, The Matchmaker's List is an adult novel about self discovery that is like the second round of it all. When we are adults, most still have alot of growing up left to do, figure out what they want to do with their life, who they want to spend that life with and a plethora of other things involved on the adulting shenanigans. This book shows that process perfectly that know one does it remotely perfectly. Thank you Penguin for introducing me to an author I will be on the look out for and the chance to read and review an arc.

Sonya Lalli is a fantastic writer and her new book "The Matchmaker's List" is a perfect fit for anyone whose bookshelf could use a light romantic read this fall.

 


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