Review: Playing With Matches by Hannah Orenstein


Release date: June 26, 2018

Publisher: Touchstone

Genre: Romantic Comedy


In the tradition of Good in Bed and The Assistants comes a funny and smart comedy about a young matchmaker balancing her messy personal life and the demands of her eccentric clients.

Sasha Goldberg has a lot going for her: a recent journalism degree from NYU, an apartment with her best friend Caroline, and a relationship that would be amazing if her finance-bro boyfriend Jonathan would ever look up from his BlackBerry. But when her dream career falls through, she uses her family’s darkest secret to land a job as a matchmaker for New York City’s elite at the dating service Bliss.

Despite her inexperience, Sasha throws herself into her new career, trolling for catches on Tinder, coaching her clients through rejection, and dishing out dating advice to people twice her age. She sets up a TV exec who wanted kids five years ago, a forty-year-old baseball-loving virgin, and a consultant with a rigorous five-page checklist for her ideal match.

Sasha hopes to find her clients The One, like she did. But when Jonathan betrays her, she spirals out of control—and right into the arms of a writer with a charming Southern drawl, who she had previously set up with one of her clients. He’s strictly off-limits, but with her relationship on the rocks, all bets are off.

Fresh, sweet, and laugh-out-loud funny, Playing with Matches is the addictive story about dating in today’s swipe-heavy society, and a young woman trying to find her own place in the world.


One of the first things I thought when I started this one was, thank god I don’t have to navigate dating anymore! Back when I was single the internet was in it’s infancy, there were definitely no apps much less dating apps. Mybfirst cell phone was a travesty, there was nothing smart about it. It wasn’t quite as huge as Zach Morris dinosaur phone, but it wasn’t much better. Hats off to all you guys trying to date in this crazy era, I don’t know how you guys manage! Through Sasha, Orenstein brings this world of matchmaking and Tinder to life with hilarity and genuine warmth, singles and smug marrieds alike will be cracking up at some of these matches.

Sasha is a recently graduated early twenty something with big hopes and dreams and no money. Her new job at Bliss seems like the easiest way to earn a living in the world, but as messy as her life is before she starts, it gets worse. Her professional and personal life starts to blend together and she has some seriously difficult clients as well, girlfriend has her hands full. The clients of Bliss were one of the best parts to me, they represented all ages, races and sociological statuses and they well all pretty picky and demanding as well. So many funny scenarios and situations came about through these dates, you can read this for the comic relief alone and be satisfied.

This was just a really fun and silly read, ideal when you really want to escape your own reality and just be entertained by someone else’s drama. I didn’t have much in common with Sasha but I did still really like her and was rooting for her all the way through. The ending wasn’t as wrapped up as I usually prefer but it did work here and I respect the author for leaving things how she did, it was bold and realistic which is always refreshing.

Playing With Matches in three words: Fresh, Easy and Entertaining.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

4 thoughts on “Review: Playing With Matches by Hannah Orenstein

  1. Susie | Novel Visits says:

    Playing with Matches is a book I’d heard almost nothing about until reading your review. It definitely sounds like a fun summer read. This is just the sort of book I like to listen to on audio. Thanks for highlighting it!

    Liked by 1 person

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