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

This was not what I was expecting based on the summary. I was hoping for a fun, romantic read but it was quite dark and opposite of what I expected.

Although I started this book, I had trouble connecting with the main character, Raina. I ran out of time to complete it, but this was definitely not a page turner for me.

Just not my cup of tea. DNFed at 25%.

I started but didn't finish. I just didn't get the excitement to continue sadly :/

**3.5 Stars** Wow, I have mixed feelings about this book. First off, this is not really a romance novel, I wouldn’t really consider it to be a rom-com either. A couple is not at the center of this story and this book delves deep. It’s not even a little bit fluffy. Even the humorous parts are a bit dark. I found the plot to be refreshing, but I do think you will be disappointed if you are looking for a true romance novel. Back to my mixed feelings. On the one hand, Sonya Lalli is an incredibly gifted writer and I cannot wait to read more from her. Her descriptions, particularly the use of smell, made it so easy to get lost in the world she created. I read the first 100 pages in a flash. On the other hand, Raina is an unlikeable heroine in many ways. I loved and related to her at the beginning of the story. I am of a similar age, and while I can’t relate to the cultural pressures Raina was facing, (though, I loved learning about them) I deeply relate to many of the other issues she was facing. I think the isolation people can feel, even when surrounded by friends and family, especially when they’re single, is expertly articulated. If the whole story had stayed along the lines of the first half of the book, this would have been a wholehearted five stars. But as the book progresses, Raina becomes more and more selfish. Her poor decisions and downright hurtful behavior to the people who mean the most to her made me truly sad. As I mentioned, Raina isn’t perfect, she drinks too much on a first date, judges men before she truly gets to know them, obsesses about an unhealthy relationship and lies to her friends and family. She is deeply and intrinsically human and her character resonated with me more with every misstep she took. Did I like Raina by the end of the book? Not really. Not even when she redeemed herself. But I don’t think you need to like the main character of a book to appreciate the emotions it invokes. I understand why this book is so polarizing, but because of Lalli’s writing alone, I couldn’t dislike it. I wanted to talk about this novel with random people on the street as soon as I finished. Whether they loved it or hated it, this book will elicit a response from readers. Overall, if you’re looking for a romance novel, this book isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a comfortable read, this book isn’t for you. If you’re looking for an interesting and thought-provoking novel with a completely flawed heroine at the forefront, give this book a try. **I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**

I was hoping for a clever Rom com book but this wasn't it. I enjoyed the main characters' Indian family, but I just didn't feel a lot of compassion for the main character Raina.

Thank you First To Read for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy of The Matchmaker’s List. After getting into the book I did enjoy it but felt the main character, Raina could have done things differently. Raina a 29 year old single Indian girl hasn’t found her soul mate yet and her grandmother can’t wait for her to get married. After being set up on several blind dates by her grandmother Rania says she is a lesbian just to get out of the dates. This decision had an effect not only Rania life but of those in her life. The part that I enjoyed was learning of the Indian culture and their beliefs in marriage.

Unfortunately, the galley expired before I had a chance to read this!

For a book that is supposed to be a romantic comedy, The Matchmaker's List was surprisingly serious and sobering at times. I found myself tearing up at times because I'm the single, unmarried, 30-something eldest daughter of a traditional Asian immigrant family. I GET IT. I empathized so hard with Raina. And yeah, much of the plot could have been resolved earlier and cleaner if she'd just been honest with her family and friends. But hey, in some cultures, you just keep your trap shut because social conventions (hi again). I did find myself cringing midway through when she just let her grandmother believe she was gay to stop the barrage of blind dates. But I was pleasantly surprised at how the author handled that plot point, and even used it as a vehicle for some pointed commentary about the conservatism found in these traditional Asian communities. Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was fun at points but also had much hidden depth. I'd definitely read another by Lalli.

I wanted to like this book but could not relate or like the protagonist. Cute but just not what I like.

I wanted to like Raina, but she suffers from the cascade of bad decisions some protagonists are prone to. She lies, or allows something to happen, and events go from bad to worse, and it just isn't her fault. She's torn and conflicted and full of angst, and it wears on me after a while. Yes, conflict is needed for the plot, but I prefer most of it not from the protagonist's mistakes. Especially when they hurt others.

I'm always here for romance/women's fiction/commercial fiction/whatever written by women of color. The protagonist here navigates the challenge of navigating cultural expectations that you're not sure that you want, in the face of not really know what you want at all. She's complex, and "unlikeable", but aren't we all, really?

I really struggled through this one. I had a hard time staying interested because it was really predictable and quite dry. It was a great idea for a story but not executed really well. I didn't like the main character, as much as I tried. And I was really having a hard time rooting for her and I was really trying to finish this and get through it, and then the galley expired and I couldn't. So, can't really review much, but I got the gist of it and wasn't really into it. Sorry!

I am not sure why but this one wouldn't open for me :(

My goal in 2018 has been to read more books by authors of color, so when I read the plot summary for this book, I was looking forward to diving into this story. Unfortunately, this book fell flat for me. It was fairly predictable, but beyond that, the protagonist is highly annoying. I don't expect the main character to be likeable in every book that I read, but I couldn't believe how childish she could be at times. Also, the way she pined after this so-called love of hers had me rolling my eyes. I just refuse to believe that a 29 year old, successful, high powered investment banker would be as daft as that. Overall, while the premise of the story was good in theory, I think it could have been written with more depth.

It took a while for me to get into it and finish. The beginning is really slow and the characters blend together. The ending was a refreshing change from the rest of the book and I continued to read only to find out who she ended up with. Some of plot lines were uncalled for. Would only give a 1.5/5

I struggled with this book. To me, it felt like it lacked substance, and if it were a TV show, would have been canceled after the pilot. Raina, the main character, is childish and immature, though she is 29 years old. I struggled to root for her in her quest to find love, and felt like her mishaps were predictable and uninspired. The twists were barely curves and though the the multicultural romance is intriguing, it really didn't cover those bases whatsoever. I feel bad in saying this, but I would have to give this one a 2/5. Maybe I'll have better luck with the next Sonya Lalli novel.

Well...this has never happened to me before. I was about 1/2 through The Matchmaker’s List and the galley expired on me. I guess I didn’t read carefully enough because it doesn’t pub until Feb so I thought I had plenty of time to finish it! Whoops - the galley expired 11/27 so I am unable to finish it and therefore can’t fully review it! I can talk about what I did get through and I had such high hopes for this one. The synopsis read as a romcom type novel that I was really looking forward to. I can say it didn’t really read like that and was more of a women’s fiction book. I struggled with understanding Raina’s motivation for a lot of her decisions, which was frustrating for me a lot of this book. I also questioned a lot of her choices making it hard to root for her without understanding her reasoning. I absolutely adored her grandmother though and wished we had gotten more of her! I think because my expectations were of a light romcom I was a little disappointed in that this book was not that. I think I may have enjoyed it more if I didn’t have any expectations but I just couldn’t really move past that. Since I don’t know how the book ends I can’t really comment on the book as a whole or really rate it. Of what I did read, I was a little disappointed but if you go into it with an open mind I think people may enjoy it more than I did. Thanks to First to Read for the chance to read this early!

I was really looking forward to this book. I was engaged the first third of the story but then really struggled to finish and ended up skimming the remaining two-thirds. I was able to anticipate most of the plot twists and ending and it times it felt like something out of a sit-com with the misunderstandings. Overall, I would give it a 2.5/5. Thank you for the opportunity to read and provide an opinion.

What started off as a charming little romcom full of education on the modern Indian family soon devolved into a lot of angst and some questionable decisions by our “heroine”. I mean, I love a hot mess, but at least have your bad choices make sense. We didn’t get enough from Raina to really root for her, in my opinion. It almost felt like there was a battle between the author and the editor. Would love to see more POC represented in the field!

I will say this book is not the fastest to read, I struggled but the more I got into it, I just had to finish to see what happened to Raina - did she meet Mr. Right or Mr. Wrong. But, a "little white lie" sure gets Raina into TROUBLE. I did like her Nani (grandmother) who also was the woman who raised her. Lots of culture, lots of family drama - what is that saying you can't pick your family. Tahnks First to Read for the e-ARC

I really liked this book. Raina is very flawed but likable, she tries to do the right thing, she buckles under the pressure and expectation of marriage in a very traditional Indian family and makes some poor decisions, but she's ultimately redeemed in the end. It was a little light on the romance, but it's a good story about self-discovery.

I have mixed emotions about this novel. On one level, I enjoyed it. I found it easy to read and I liked Raina. I didn't always agree with her decisions and she's very flawed, but ultimately, I was on her side. The story itself was good, but it has some problematic aspects to it (Raina lying about being a lesbian as one example). I also wish certain elements of the story were fleshed out more (ex: her fight with her best friend and their distance). I feel like there needed to be more explanation or background into certain things. Also, this is marketed as a romantic-comedy, but it's more serious and a little light on the romance. It's in there, but not the forefront of the story. It's more about Raina and her journey of self-discovery and happiness with a little romance thrown in. While I did like this book, it may not be for everyone, but I think it is worth a try and would recommend if you like women's fiction and/or characters learning to accept themselves.

3.75 stars I'll admit, The Matchmaker's List caught my eye because of the cover; then I read the summary, and my interest was piqued even more. I'm so glad I got to read an ARC of this because I really liked it, excluding one aspect. I really loved the writing. It reminded me a bit of Little Fires Everywhere and The Namesake, the way it's so contemplative and reflective without seeming boring or stagnant. Most of the book is first person, but the flashbacks are in third person. These chapters are short but pack a lot of meaning and subtext in them, and I really liked that. There is no shame in love. We make choices, and then, we try and move on the best we can. We try and live with those choices. Honestly, this book reminded me a lot like The Namesake, not just in the writing, but also culturally (of course) and the family relationships. Although in this book, it focuses on the main character and her grandmother, it still held the same generational differences. Which leads me to the characters. I adored all of them; Lalli has such a way of making each character real and known. Although I disagreed with some of Raina's choices (particularly one big one, but I'll get to that), I still fully understood her reasoning behind them. I also loved Nani with her willingness to be so modern in such a traditional culture out of her love for Raina. I will say that I had read a review before starting The Matchmaker's List saying that this should really be marketed more women's fiction and not romance. I didn't think much of it, but about halfway through the book, I realized how much truth that held. Although the summary (and the title lol) makes the matchmaking seem central, it's a very underlying aspect overall. The romance as well is not a very big part; instead, most of the book is about Raina getting over her ex and dealing with her complex family relationships. I think they made the matchmaking to be a bit more...comedic? The dates are cute, but they're fairly short and trivial in comparison to the whole book to me. I did like who she ended up with though; that was cute. Now onto the big thing that bothered me. I suppose these are spoilers, so ignore this if you don't want to know. So to stop her grandma from setting her on more dates, Raina leads her to believe that she's a lesbian. Or, specifically, her grandma thinks that, and Raina doesn't correct her. Which isn't totally a big deal, if it hadn't dragged on for so long. I personally think that she should have told the truth much, much sooner than she did, and it got a bit tiresome as well as a bit...hurtful? Like at the end where she tells everyone that she's straight, it felt a bit "I'm coming out as straight" and trivial to the experiences of LGBTQ+ people. It is called out by Raina's best friend and her other friend who is a lesbian, so. I liked that Raina had some people to act as her conscience. Actually, Raina does know that it's wrong, so that and the fact that she had people telling her to STOP made how long this act dragged out more problematic to me. I would have rated this book much higher if not for this whole problem. Overall, I really enjoyed The Matchmaker's List; the writing is atmospheric, the characters are detailed, and the relationships complex. Although the romance is not overly apparent, I found what we got was very cute. Unfortunately, there was a plot line that dragged on for too many pages that made me lower my rating. I did really like this book in spite of it, and I do think it's worth a read!

3.5 Stars This was a cute and quirky tale with just the right amount of romance. I liked that it was very modern and challenged some of the norms of a typical romance novel. The cast of characters was great even (although I forgot the names of a few of the minor characters from time to time). I think every woman can see a part of herself in her no matter how big or small the trait is. However, sometimes Raina's situation frustrated me and the progression of the plot became predictable during the second half of the book. From friendship and love to family and community, this book covered it all. But while it dealt with a few big topics as well as cultural and generational differences, this was a light read. Overall I would say I really liked but did not love this book. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy romance and contemporary fiction.

I had seen this book previously in an article (I forget where) about a new class of Romance novels, typed RomComs, that we're "tricking" people into romance with their Instagrammable covers, and non-obvious Romance novelness. Also on this list was Jasmine Guillory's "The Wedding Date," which I loved, and Helen Huang's "The Kiss Quotient," which has received tons of praise, so I was quite excited when I was selected to read this book. "The Matchmaker's List" met and exceeded my expectations. Raina is an unmarried 29-year-old woman, raised by her grandmother, whose best friend is getting married, and the pressure is on for Raina to do the same, so her grandmother starts setting her up on dates with young men from their community. Meanwhile, Raina is hung up on her ex. I found Raina really relatable as she navigates through rough relationships, familial and societal expectations, the ups and downs of friendships, secrets, lies, mistakes, and the journey to self-acceptence. This is not a traditional Romance novel in that the developing relationship is not always the focus of the book and is not always hit-you-in-the-face obvious. I found it refreshing and highly enjoyable. I found myself rooting for Raina to make the right choices and disappointed when she let her fear triumph for a time and always waiting to see what would happen next. I highly recommend this book and look forward to what else the author has to offer.

I had high hopes for this book. The premise was extremely fascinating. Unfortunately, it turned out to be an overall "meh, okay" read. My problem with the book was the MC herself, Raina. She's 29 years old but acts like a child. Stupid decision, after stupid decision. I get family pressure and expectations. I think that's something we can all relate to on some level. But the way Raina went about things left me feeling uneasy. At one point she pretends to be lesbian to get her Nani to stop setting her up on dates. The thing is. The book was well-written. And despite everything, the story was interesting. Told from Raina's point of view, we tag along as she goes on various dates with the men on her Nani's list.The story also flashes back every few chapters to a certain point in Raina's life. To a certain guy, actually. Something that greatly influences her current life situation. Rating: 3/5 stars *Thank you First to Read for providing an e-ARC in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own and based solely on the book*

Unfortunately due to time constraints I was unable to read this before it expired. However the concept seemed intriguing.

This novel was just okay. Not badly written but not a gripping can't put it down book by any stretch of the imagination.

There were times that I wanted to put this book down. The beginning was strong and the ending kept me interested. However, the middle seemed to be a bit of a drag, and felt drawn out. Overall an interesting story but didn’t keep my attention as I was hoping it would.

I had been hearing a lot about this book on social media, and was excited for the chance to read in before it was published. However, after finishing it, I just felt kind of “meh” about it. I didn’t not like it, but I felt disappointed bc of all the previous hype about it. The story focuses on Raina, an almost 30-year old Progressive Indian woman living within a fairly traditional Indian community in Canada. She had made a deal with her Nani (her grandmother who raised her) that if she wasn’t married by the age of 30, then Nani could help her find a match. While Nani begins setting Raina up on dates as her 30th approaches, Raina is still hung up on her ex-boyfriend, who wouldn’t commit and was essentially “married” to his job. When none of Nani’s matches seem to be working, a misunderstanding leads Nani to assume Raina is gay, and Raina goes along with the misunderstanding, which of causes issues with family and friends within the Indian community. As many in other reviews I’ve read of this book, I found Raina annoying and immature for a number of reasons, including her letting the lie about her being gay grow and grow, and her inability to let go of Dev, the ex-boyfriend who was clearly a jerk. Thankfully, you do see Raina start to “grow up” towards the end, and try to make things right with those she cares about. This book seems to be advertised as a romantic comedy, but to me it was more of her coming-of-age, as well as about cultural tradition within family and community, which was definitely interesting. Overall, I would give it 3 out of 5 stars. Thank you to Penguin’s First To Read program for giving me an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

I wanted to love this book! I really did. But the main character really frustrated me and the only person I truly cared about was her Nani. I felt like what was supposed to be a humorous situation was actually really cruel.

I stuck with this book, and am glad I did. I enjoyed the second half much more that the first half. I had to eventually reframe it from a romantic comedy into a coming of age story. Raina is almost 30 and had a deal with her grandmother. If she wasn't in a relationship or married by 30, her grandmother could start looking for a match. While the matches and dates are kind of disastrous, the real problem is that Raina has some personal issues to work through (don't we all!). While this book is sometimes painful to read as it mirrors Raina's personal journey and angst, this changes as she finds some inner understanding and forgiveness. As she gets more grounded, the book also becomes more peaceful and positive. We get a ringside seat to Raina's inner monologue and stories and we get to see the impact on her interactions and eventual growth. Thanks to First to Read for an eARC of this book!

When I first read the description for The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli, I was immediately interested because it sounded like a story I would like. However, while there was nothing wrong with the book and the writing was good, I couldn’t get into the story at all. It just wasn’t for me, but I can see how it would appeal to others. As such, I encourage readers to look for different reviews for The Matchmaker’s List, especially if it sounds like a book you want to read.... Thanks to First to Read for an eARC of this book!

The Matchmaker’s List’ is more than a romance about matchmaking. It is a story about family and tradition, and the responsibilities that come with those. It is about figuring out who you are and what you want to be while being okay with the fact that there will be people who don’t agree with your life choices. ?Gay. Straight. Indian. Not Indian.? She moves closer to him. ?Not everyone is brave enough to be themselves.? ‘The Matchmaker’s List’ chronicles the life of Raina Anandas as she tries to balance the new, modern world of Canada, with the tradition and rituals of old world, India. With her 30th birthday on the horizon, Raina’s grandmother is worried that if Raina doesn’t marry soon, she never will. ?You work, and work, and life is passing by. Men are passing by. Tell me, when is the right time? When will you be ready?? To put her grandmother at ease she agreed to allow her to set Raina up on dates. But the pressure to marry doesn’t ease because these dates are with, ?men whose family, religion, background, values, and sometimes even astrology match your own. It is having parents who want their children to marry into the ‘culture’, and so they hurl them against a brick wall of blind dates until one finally sticks. It is arranged dating, really; an agreement to decide quickly whether you are in love.? With one bad encounter after another, Raina questions the wisdom of arranged marriages and wonders why she isn’t good enough as she is, and why she needs a man to complete her. These thoughts led her to make some questionable decisions. I am so glad, that the author showed the pain those decisions caused and showed us how Raina tried to redeem herself. While I loved this story, I wasn’t crazy about the ending. I felt it too abrupt and left so much unsaid and questions unanswered. In reality, I just didn’t want it to end. ‘The Matchmaker’s List’ is a heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking read, about the struggles of growing up in a family with strong opinions about right and wrong, and one that is heavily influenced by religion and tradition.

Raina's life is a disaster. Her family says she needs to be married and have kids to be happy. Her grandmother has a list of all the men she should date and to pick one to marry. But Raina is in love with someone else, who isn't around and never seems to commit to her. She also has a mother who has never been around for her. Then she lies to her grandmother and that lie tears her community apart. She has 2 best friends. 1 from work who she does confide in and one from her childhood who she doesn't confide in. Her lie may destroy everything and she needs to come clean. She should have sat down with her grandmother and her 2 best friends all throughout the book to come clean on her feelings and why. I liked the storyline but Raina I really wanted to slap upside the head and her grandmother was to pushy and needed to be told nicely what Raina wanted.

3.5 stars rounded up. It was a really slow read with it not really getting anywhere until close to the end. I thought this was going to be a light rom com but, it was actually a deep read with controversial topics. The book was not at all what I was expecting but it was definitely interesting reading about the main characters cultural background and I did end up really enjoying it!

I originally requested this galley as I'm always looking for fun reads about cultures other than mine, and the concept of an arranged marriage has always fascinated me. Unfortunately, I had a really hard time getting into this book and relating with the main character. As a recently-turned-30-year-old myself, I found it hard to understand some of the decisions that Raina made, and was frustrated with her immaturity. I thought the story had potential, but overall, found it to be cheesy/annoying/predictable.

I did not dislike this book but I did have a lot of issues with it. The main character has very low self-esteem. Otherwise, how could she continue to be so hung up on a guy who treated her like dirt, for years no less. Also, the idea of pretending to be gay is not really funny. Her family relationships were all skewed in some way. I never did really understand what the problem was with her uncle Kris. If Nani was so great, why were all three of kids she raised messed up in some way? I think the main problem was that the author tried to tackle too many important issues, most of which didn’t get resolved and yet the story was tied up with a neat little bow in the end. I agree with others who wrote that this not really a romantic comedy. It was more of a multi-cultural family drama. In that genre, I prefer the novels of Sonali Dev.

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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