Last year (I think it was last year?), I read a book by Christina Lauren that involved the two romantic leads being the only two characters in the story who didn’t participate in the opening scene’s vomit-mania. It was actually pretty decent, despite the mass puking, and I knew the name sounded familiar when I downloaded The Soulmate Equation from the library, but I didn’t connect the two until I went to write my review. I’m not sure what the point here is, other than you have to respect two women who can make a wedding scene where everyone pukes kind of funny.
In The Soulmate Equation, we meet single mom Jess, a thirty-something freelance data analyst who spends her nights with her daughter, Juno, and her grandparents, who live across the courtyard, and her days with her best friend Felicity, a romance novelist who shares Jess’ coffee shop table every morning. Through a series of events, Jess and Felicity sign up for a dating service, but this isn’t your normal Match.com, or whatever people use these days. This is a genetic dating service, one that matches something like 3,000 DNA strands to find compatibility.
Felicity is all in; Jess is a bit more reluctant. She likes her tidy little life and her tidy little apartment, and men are not exactly something she wants to deal with. But then it comes out that she’s matched with the founder of the company – Dr. River Pena – with a whopping 98% compatibility rate, and suddenly, she finds herself in a three-month dating experiment with the tall, dark, and handsome Ph.D.
The story is a bit hard to believe, I guess you would say, but in a world where you can pick what color your baby’s eyes are, maybe it’s not that farfetched. I mean, Amazon already knows when I need to order dog food, my hair salon emailed my husband the other day to remind him that he normally buys a gift certificate this time of year and could he please get on it, and, Facebook, well, Facebook knows everything, even before we do. So once you set aside the scientific disbelief, it’s a cute story with a cute little meet-cute, and of course, a cute kid and cute grandparents.
For me, though, the best part of the book was Felicity. She’s a great friend, one that would be played to perfection by Kathryn Hahn or Judy Greer or Christine Baranski. My closest girlfriend lives 4,000 miles away from me, and is so not a romance novelist (nor has she ever read a romance novel, I don’t think), but I finished this book and sent her a text because I wish that we could sit at the coffee shop every morning people watching and gossiping. The friendship between Jess and Felicity is so spot on – that female friendship where your kids call her aunt and she knows your daughter almost as well as you do, the kind of friend who will not only bring you clean underwear in the hospital but flirt with the doctor on your behalf, your true ride or die. It’s rare to see that fleshed out in a typical romance novel, and it was nice to see.
The Soulmate Equation isn’t going to win the Pulitzer Prize for literature, but it was cute, funny, a bit far-fetched, and it left me with a smile on my face.