Also by this author: My Favorite Half-Night Stand, The Unhoneymooners
Also in this series: The Real, My Oxford Year
Published by Gallery Books on May 18, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Tropes: STEM, Enemies-to-Lovers, Fake Relationship
Source: Netgalley, Gallery Books
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Audible, Buy on Libro.fm
Narrator: Patti Murin
Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents--who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno--Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father's never been around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn't "father material" before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard...and lonely.
But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that's predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands. At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98% compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly's founder, Dr. River Pena. This is one number she can't wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Pena. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we'll pay you. Jess--who is barely making ends meet--is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the "Diamond" pairing that could make GeneticAlly a mint in stock prices, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist--and the science behind a soulmate--than she thought.
A geneticist and a mathematician? INSTANT catnip for me. Add a single mom trope to it and there was nothing for it when THE SOULMATE EQUATION pinged my radar, I had to have it.
Jess was a likable but out of the whole cast she was my least favorite. She was a little judgmental and . She had abandonment issues and I was curious how they would come into play with the steady, reliable man River was. When you are matched with someone based on science and not on real intimacy that comes from getting to know someone the natural way you wonder what is real and what is projected feelings because you’re supposed to feel that way. I thought that was very well done here and also shows one of the issues in this futuristic scenario.
River seems to be a bit of a brooder and in the beginning we get a little enemies-to-lovers trope that resolves rather quickly when you realize how shy River really is. He was there when Jess needed him and had no one else to ask for help and quickly became her go-to person when she needed someone to step in. He turned out to be so sweet and kind and able to show his vulnerability. I fell head over heels.
The way he looked at her—the sweet devastation pinching his brow—made Jess feel like she’d been plugged directly into the sun.
The main characters are supported by a handful of incredibly lovable friends and family. Fizzy is Jess’s best friend and a H O O T. You can’t help but laugh about her one-liners and fall in love with her. Fizzy is loyal to a fault and have I mentioned she is a romance writer? Jess’s grandparents are really everything you need as a family. Pops and Nana stepped up in a big way when Jess’s mom took off. And Juno? God, that child. She had me laughing so hard. She was so inquisitive, smart and funny. ADORABLE!
All the talk about the chemical components of DNA, OH compounds and genes, alleles and chromosomes made my nerdy heart pitter-patter. Heads up – the scientific terminology of both genetics and statistics may be a little bit too much for someone who isn’t interested in either fields. Ultimately though the scenario to match people’s DNA for highest compatibility is only a few steps away from today’s way of dating. I wouldn’t be surprised if this became reality one day, as scary as it may sound.
“The DNADuo can bring us together, but it can’t make us fall for each other. It can’t know your past or mine, or predict what would scare us off, or entice us to be together. All of that is up to us, not the algorithm.”
This author duo knows how to write a sexy, sweet romance without getting super explicit and how to showcase the chemistry between characters. This story everything I hoped for. It was very cute, charming, delightful and I really wouldn’t mind a book for Fizzy.