The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
May 18, 2021, by Gallery Books
Review by Angela
When I read the blurb for Soulmate Equation I wasn’t sure what to think. I mean a romance based on genetic testing and DNA analysis just seems weird to me. Not romantic or sexy. And I wondered how this writing duo would handle all the sciencey parts and if I would even be able to understand the sciencey parts (I didn’t), but in the end that didn’t matter. I really enjoyed this romance.
Let me start off by introducing you to Jessica Davis; statistician, single mother to an amazing kid, fabulous best friend, wonderful granddaughter, and someone just trying to keep it all together one paycheck and day at a time. She has a great if hectic life living in a quaint neighborhood where she can walk to her favorite coffee shop in the mornings after taking her daughter to school and where her grandparents are just a courtyard away. She has a circle of trust consisting of four people and those are the people she puts first in all things. She has no time or inclination to start up a relationship, even if she is a bit lonely at times.
Her soulmate in the titled Soulmate Equation is River Pena aka Americano, the man who pops in at 8:24 every morning for coffee while Jess and her BFF Fizzy are occupying their favorite table working at the corner coffee shop, something they do every single day with each other. River is pretty damn hot but distant and cold and his demeanor puts Jess off right from their first real interaction.
It comes up in conversation that River has a new startup company that pairs people by matching their DNA in something like 3,000 categories. There are different levels of compatibility from base all the way up to diamond. After an invitation from River, and a whole lot of peer pressure from Fizzy, Jess agrees to accompany her BFF to the facility and check it out. As a statistician, Jess gets the gist of the research and data, but she is still dubious about finding your soulmate in this way. (Same) But when she gets a phone call that she and River have been matched and it’s no less than at a Diamond status, she will have to make some decisions about what to do about it.
One of the best things about any Christina Lauren book is its ability to make readers care about their characters. They write quirky, smart, interesting, real people that I am excited to get to know. Jess is surrounded by a fabulous cast of supporting characters and I loved them each and every one. From her daughter Juno to her amazing grandparents to her best friend Fizzy. At times I just wanted to jump into the pages and be a part of this wildly supportive and wonderful, tight-knit group. I adored them.
River and Jess kind of start out as enemies, not really for any other reason other than bad first impressions and misunderstandings. She thinks he is too aloof and not a very pleasant person, it’s not until they decide to get to know each other that she realizes he’s much, much more. Readers don’t get River’s POV, so we aren’t sure what is going on in his head, but from what I can gather he’s a bit shy, was an awkward teen, and really, really smart. The kind of smart that makes people single-mindedly focused and hard to read. Yet when they click, they click hard.
Their romance is definitely slow burn, lots of getting to know each other. Jess worrying about introducing him to her daughter and River being sweet and doing things like bringing her coffee and offering help when she desperately needs it. I think this book is a bit more open door than some of this duo’s previous stories, but I still miss the heat from their earliest work. I believe this couple would have singed the pages with their chemistry.
There is a BIG MISUNDERSTANDING at the end after something happens, but it seemed in character and didn’t bother me. It also didn’t last too long, LOL. The DNA matching does play a big part in their getting together, and both do take it seriously, but after they become a couple it feels like just something that doesn’t really matter. Like they would have been destined to find each other regardless.
I really enjoyed this romance. Recommend.
Final grade- B+