Review: The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

Funny, warm, and full of heart, The Soulmate Equation proves that the delicate balance between fate and choice can never be calculated.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Soulmate Equation publishes May 18, 2021. 

First, I want to address those “eugenics” criticisms. I’ve seen reviews that say using DNA to match people together automatically falls under eugenics, but I don’t really agree with that. I think there needs to be actual intent to (or results that) only match certain demographics of people with other certain demographics of people for it to be considered eugenics – which is obviously repulsive. It’s not what’s going on in this book at all, though. I do feel like the authors could have gone a little bit more out of their way to make this distinction more clear, though. And while we’re on the topic of science, I thought it could have been handled a little more thoughtfully than it was. There is a lot scientific terminology thrown out in short bursts and I found it all pretty confusing.

I also struggled a bit with the main character, Jess. She made so many assumptions on River before ever even talking to him, that it colored all of her interactions with him once they officially meet and she was so rude. She went on and on about how he was the worst when she was the one that was acting so horribly. It drove me a little crazy. As she eventually gets to know him and realizes she was wrong about him, I started to like her a little more, just to get frustrated again by how she reacted to the Big Conflict. The unevenness of her character really brought down my overall enjoyment of the book.

While Jess wasn’t my favorite, I did really like River. He made a couple missteps – including how he handled the Big Conflict, as well – but other than those he was pretty perfect. He was sweet and romantic and probably one of my favorite male characters Christina Lauren has written. I also enjoyed Jess’ grandparents and daughter. I thought they were all kind and supportive and I wouldn’t have minded seeing a bit more of them.

Overall, I enjoyed The Soulmate Equation, but I didn’t love it. While there was some good banter occasionally and I shipped the romance, my struggle with the main character brought everything down a bit for me. While this one may not be my favorite Christina Lauren book, I look forward to checking out whatever they write next.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

12 thoughts on “Review: The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

  1. I think you have brought up a really good point at the beginning of your review. I had the same feelings you did. I questioned was it eugenics? Was it not? If you pull up the dictionary definition, it probably isn’t. It’s all that grey area left by the authors and conversations I had with a couple of marginalized readers I had that had me putting it in that category. I didn’t feel like there was enough in the book to explain how it wasn’t. I thought a lot about it and ended up thinking that the authors missed an opportunity there with the topic. Great review!

    • Thank you! I agree that they missed out on having a deeper conversation about the topic. On the other hand, I don’t really expect deeper conversations like that from Christina Lauren books, so I think that helped me more easily take it at face value. I am glad I read your review before I started this, though, because it made me pay more attention to it.

  2. You’ve definitely made me curious about how I would react to Jess now! And I’m going to pay more attention to the whole eugenics dilemma now; I’ve stayed away from the discussions to avoid spoilers, but it sounds like they could have been more specific. Fab review!

  3. I used to be a huge Christina Lauren fan but I passed on an ARC for this. I was concerned there would be way too much scientific talk. It sounds like there are some redeemable parts but I won’t rush out to read this. Great review.

    • Thanks! It wasn’t too bad on the science, but still not one of their best books, so you didn’t miss out on not reading an ARC. You can always get it from the library if you feel inspired to read it.

  4. Pingback: May 2021 Recap | Stephanie's Book Reviews

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