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Playing With Matches

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  266 ratings  ·  78 reviews
A cross between Jane Austen’s Emma, Dear Abby, and Yenta the matchmaker!

When 16-year-old Raina Resnick is expelled from her Manhattan private school, she’s sent to live with her strict aunt-but Raina feels like she’s persona non grata no matter where she goes. Her sister, Leah, blames her for her broken engagement, and she’s a social pariah at her new school. In the tight-
Paperback, 248 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by ECW Press (first published January 1st 2014)
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Suri Rosen Great question, Karen! A few years ago, I was hanging with one of my teenage daughters and an idea popped into my head. What if someone her age was a…moreGreat question, Karen! A few years ago, I was hanging with one of my teenage daughters and an idea popped into my head. What if someone her age was a matchmaker? And what if no one knew that this legendary Internet matchmaker was just a teenager living a double life? The humour seemed way too irresistible...
So glad you enjoyed!

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3.89  · 
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 ·  266 ratings  ·  78 reviews

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Alice-Elizabeth (marriedtobooks)
Read for free on Scribd!

Well, it's not often that I say this about a book. But for Playing With Matches, this is an exception. Playing With Matches is a little gem of a read, and I'm really surprised that it hasn't been talked about more. Set in a Jewish community in Toronto, Canada, main character Raina has had a rough past. Getting into trouble at school and having fall-outs with her family. After she finds herself setting up a friend on a date (which blossoms into a cute romance), she turns i
This was so cute, and I'm not usually a fan of "Comedy of Errors" stories but I guess it was just the combination of everything with FINALLY FINALLY seeing a Modern Orthodox Jewish voice in YA that just made me so happy. This book doesn't read like it's trying to be Ortho Jew rep; it just is. Like, the whole thing about how Leah reads a website with people's engagements? That was my life in college. (Sadly, Facebook took its place for the more modern set, but until Facebook blew up, I was on Onl ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Playing with Matches wouldn’t have been on my radar without Dahlia Adler, reccing ball and author extraordinaire. She recommended this book highly for the authentic voice and being a fabulous contemporary on top of that. Obviously, when Dahlia recommends a book to me and the description mentions Jane Austen, I’m sold. Though not quite what I was expecting, I’m very glad that I gave Playing with Matches a chance, because it’s a sweet, heartwarming book.

Raina Resnick takes some getting used to. Sh
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
The concept - with the matchmaking, the engagement announcements, the *quick* courtship, all of it - is very outside of my own experience. But getting to learn about it all was a great deal of fun, especially considering how hilarious it all was. Raina's tiny idea, to find her sister a match, completely lost control and the best part was the anxiety while waiting for everyone to find out. Though very humorous and over the top at times, the ending was touching and heartfelt as well. I also loved ...more
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Raina is your everyday teenage matchmaker who involves herself in the love lives of perfect strangers and ruins the life of teachers in her spare time. After Raina sets up her friend successfully, she decides to make an anonymous matchmaking business. After her sister (who blames Raina for her broken engagement) applies for a match, Raina gets very involved in matchmaking. She neglects her school work, messes up numerous times and makes terrible choices. She also insults this girl and calls her ...more
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
PLAYING WITH MATCHES by Suri Rosen was such a bundle of cute, quirky, hilariousness that I can't help but recommend it when it hits shelves in September. I believe this is a debut novel for the author, and I am entirely impressed with her skill in weaving a story that is adorable, funny, and moving, all while mish-mashing crazy interesting tidbits about Orthodox Jewish culture, which I can't deny isn't something I've read a ton about in young adult literature.

Anyways, sixteen year old Raina has
Shira Glassman
Dec 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen, jewish
Two things I hear people asking for a lot are "YA books with a female lead and no love interest/no romantic subplot for lead" and "Jewish books (especially YA) not about the Shoah." Not that one book is an antidote to any problem, but here's at least a great one to start with that fits both of these perfectly. In fact, I'm pretty sure the book has an entirely Jewish cast and a plot completely free of anti-Semitism (without ignoring who we are; there's a mention of someone's relatives having met ...more
Sep 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
3.5 stars?
I don't know. It's emminently readable. The setting/culture is really interesting (a tight-knit Jewish community in Toronto). I certainly haven't read anything like it. The writing style is fun.
I just think that I need to take another break from YA. I get a little tired of teenage hyper-drama, which this has in spades (although the lack of teenage relationship drama was kinda fun) and this book also has a dollop of the main character's impulsiveness often resulting in some really unfor
Julia Nashif
Be sure to stop by my blog for a chance to win a free print copy! The giveaway ends Friday, September 19, 2014. http://runningthroughthestars.blogspo...

I'll describe this book in one "word": LOL.

Thank you so much, NetGalley and ECW Press, for this free book to review!

For being such a funny book about matchmakers, Raina has a ton of depth. She really grows throughout the book. She's also relatable (not that I'm a sixteen year old Jewish matchmaker who has a ton of trouble in school. Really. I'm n
Jan 07, 2015 added it
This is the first YA book involving religious Jews that I've read and actually enjoyed. A lot of times the religious aspect is used as a caricature or Judaism is portrayed so inaccurately that it's offensive, but it injected both humor and warmth into the story. I like that this book is about more than religion. It's about picking yourself up and dusting yourself off. Whether it was heartbreak or the loss of a loved one or an insensitive prank that got them down, many characters in PLAYING WITH ...more
First of all, I love living in the future. My libraries didn't have this book, but Scribd did! Yay, subscription services!

Anyway, I like the idea behind it, but the execution wasn't all there for me.

It's one of those sort of comedy of errors books, which . . . I don't find comedic. I could just see all the bad things being set up to happen and noooo. Do not like.
Sara Raizel
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this! I liked the true-to-locale feel, I loved the storyline and its twists, and I loved the characters (I want a friend like Rain! :)) and how real they are. All-around a great read!
Michelle Wrona
This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!

Playing With Matches is one of those books that I knew I wouldn't enjoy from when I read the first page. It's a limited short read that was quick and satisfying for one of those readers who enjoy chick-lit and nonsense reads. And by "nonsense," I literally mean one of those that come with no-plot, no message, just plain drama and complaining from the protagonist, Rain. I'm pretty disappointed, but what could I expect
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
*5 Stars*!!

**I received an advanced copy from ECW Press in exchange for an honest review**

Opening Lines
"Here’s some advice if you plan on taking the Number 7 down Bathurst Street at 7:36 a.m. Do not sit downwind from the woman eating the industrial-grade tuna fish. And if The Groomer is on the bus, get ready to duck at the first sign of the nail clippers."

The Good
If I could sum up Playing With Matches using only one word it would be Cute with a capital C!! Seriously, I think my face still hurt
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Playing With Matches is so utterly charming and fun. I flew through it in the course of one afternoon. Suri Rosen has concocted a sweet story that will make you laugh out loud at times and grown in frustration in Raina's stubbornness at others.

Raina Resnick is a bit of a trouble-maker. She has little concern for her school work and is more interested in being stylish and well-dressed than a model student. Because of her actions, she has been kicked out of her New York private school and relegate
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I won a copy of this book from the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway program. Many thanks to the publisher/author for giving me the chance to read and review this book from the Goodreads First Reads program.

To be perfectly honest, I had a shaky start with this book. While the synopsis sounded really interesting and I loved the cover, the beginning wasn't doing much for me. The story started off kind of slow, the baseball stuff confused/annoyed me, and then there was the character of Raina (Rain), w
Chana Stiefel
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
Have you ever tried to fix up two people for a date? Complicated, right? Playing With Matches, a debut YA by Suri Rosen, offers readers a glimpse into the wild world of matchmaking in a Jewish Orthodox community. But this time the matchmaker isn't an elderly yenta from the shtetl. She's a savvy, fashion-conscious, independent 16-year-old girl named Raina Resnick. Raina is a troubled teen who's been kicked out of a NYC private school and ends up living with her strict aunt in Toronto. Feeling lon ...more
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever screwed up royally and been willing to do anything to make things right? Have you ever tried to repair the damage, only to create more? Have you ever wondered if you’d make it as a matchmaker? Then this book is for you!

Raina’s snarky narration is everything.

Our main character’s voice sucked me in from the very beginning on this one. Raina fits the bill as my favorite type of character: she’s snarky and a little messed up—and we get to find out why. After a childhood spent moving ar
Lisa Bernstein
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Playing With Matches" was a very fun read. It's nice to see a Modern Orthodox lifestyle represented in a young adult novel with just enough explanation for the unfamiliar reader, without it being too foreign or too educational. It's a very fun story about a teenage girl trying to regain closeness with her sister, manage the expectations of her family and teachers, and make romantic matches for couples in her community. Very amusing and touching, without being over the top in either direction.
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this sometimes sweet, sometimes funny book. I appreciate that, although it was about matchmaking, the teenage main character was not falling in love or crushing on anyone. All the romance (and there wasn't much) was between adults. Finally! A book that has a teenage main character who is not falling in love!

Being that Raina does most of her matchmaking by email without meeting people in person, she learns, as do the people around her, that we never know the whole story and to be carefu
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Not a fan. At all. This book was overly cheesy and didn't have the appeal that I would have hoped for. The story lacks a good climax, rather there is a cliched reveal at the end of the novel, and everyone lived happily ever after. Save your time.
Jun 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Super cute and laugh out loud funny at times. Sometimes a little too cute or neat & tidy, especially towards the end, but always fun and readable.
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Funny, enjoyable, not something I would normally read.
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jewish
Cute. Some of the pacing was wonky but I had fun.
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very cute, enjoyed it, easy reading. As someone told me, in a couple of years when my daughter reads it we can discuss it together!
Kayla (Kayla's Book Nook)
Solely equipped with the knowledge that this book included a Jewish main character, I decided that I needed to check it out. Because I myself am Jewish, it is sometimes hard for me to find representation of this in YA, so when I know of books that do have that representation, I always want to devour them. Plus, this book takes place in my hometown, so that especially sold me into reading it!

I turned out to love Playing with Matches! It was an authentic, light-hearted, memorable, and fun read, an
Gabs {My Full Bookshelf Reviews}
Read more of my reviews at My Full Bookshelf Reviews

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.

Warning: I gush in this review. A lot. (What can I say? I had some serious love for this book.) So, if you aren't into that sort of thing, you probably won't like this review. With that out of the way, I shall begin.

Have you ever read a book that made you laugh so much you cried and then made you cry just because it was so touching the very next moment? Very few stories I've
May 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, young-adult
I received Playing with Matches from ECW Press in exchange for an honest review.

Growing up in a small midwestern town, my exposure to Jewish people was limited to characters in Judy Blume and Norma Klein books that we passed around on the playground in elementary and middle school. Even now, you don’t run across too many Jewish main characters in YA. Before reading Playing with Matches, I didn’t know anything about Jewish culture and I had no idea matchmaking is even a thing.

But it is, and it’s
When 16-year-old Raina Resnick is expelled from her Manhattan private school, she's sent to live with her strict aunt — but Raina feels like she's persona non grata no matter where she goes. Her sister, Leah, blames her for her broken engagement, and she's a social pariah at her new school in Toronto. In the tight-knit Jewish community, Raina finds she is good at one thing: matchmaking! As the anonymous "MatchMaven," Raina sets up hopeless singles desperate to find the One. A cross between Jane ...more
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Suri Rosen dabbles in many arts, but excels in daydreaming. She has worked as a professional artist, filmmaker, journalist, and TV producer. Her debut novel, Playing with Matches, received the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Youth Literature. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.