The Arrangement
You can't choose who you fall for...but it helps if there's a listRaina, twenty-nine, is still unmarried much to the dismay of her family who think that by now she should have been married in a dream Indian wedding. The pressure to settle down reaches new heights when her grandmother, Nani, decides to play matchmaker in order to find her the perfect man.Eager not to disappoint her family, Raina goes along with the plan but when the love of her life returns - ex-boyfriend Dev - she's forced to confront her true feelings and decide what she really wants.Funny, feelgood and heart-warming, The Arrangement shines a light on being single in your twenties, societal and cultural expectation of women, and modern day arranged marriages. Perfect summer read for fans of Ayisha Malik's Sofia Khan is Not Obliged and Aziz Ansari's Master of None.

The Arrangement Details

TitleThe Arrangement
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 10th, 2017
PublisherOrion
ISBN-139781409171300
Rating
GenreRomance, Contemporary, Fiction, Adult, Womens Fiction, Chick Lit

The Arrangement Review

  • Susanne Strong
    January 1, 1970
    4 Stars.Full of laughs, heartbreak and lots of little surprises.Sometimes life is about finding your truth and about being brave enough to fight for it. Raina is twenty-nine. Her Nani desperately wants to see her married before she turns thirty. Raina, however is not ready. After all, she isn’t dating anyone and her breakup with her last boyfriend, Dev, two years ago left her completely broken hearted. Her Nani and her best friend Shay seem to think that marriage will somehow make everything bet 4 Stars.Full of laughs, heartbreak and lots of little surprises.Sometimes life is about finding your truth and about being brave enough to fight for it. Raina is twenty-nine. Her Nani desperately wants to see her married before she turns thirty. Raina, however is not ready. After all, she isn’t dating anyone and her breakup with her last boyfriend, Dev, two years ago left her completely broken hearted. Her Nani and her best friend Shay seem to think that marriage will somehow make everything better. Nani has it all figured out – she comes up with a matchmakers list – a list of potential suitors for her Raina. Let the games begin! A bit of hilarity mixed with just the right touch of, well, everything! Family, friendship, heartbreak and yes, love. For Raina, who would like more than anything to find her own way in life; for her Nani, who discovers that it’s hard to see your loved ones struggle and not obtain the future you want for them. “The Matchmaker’s List” by Sonya Lalli is a novel that makes you ponder what’s most important in life and it is an absolute delight! It has received a lot of mixed reviews – all I can say is, don’t follow them, read this novel and decide for yourself. This was a buddy read with Kaceey! Thanks for sharing this one with me!Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing Group and to Sonya Lalli for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.Published on Goodreads on 1.20.19.*Will be published on Amazon and Twitter on 1.22.19.Excerpt to be published on Instagram.
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  • Kaceey - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    Five heartwarming 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟A positively sweet, romantic comedy that had me smiling with joy, (and yes crying!) from page one right to the very end!At only 29, Raina is a successful business woman living in Toronto. Raised in a traditional Indian home, and introduced to all the culture, beliefs and values that her beloved Nani shared with her since birth. Only problem, (at least according to Nani.) Poor Raina is still single. And so, in lieu of her upcoming milestone 30th birthday, Raina reluctantly Five heartwarming 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟A positively sweet, romantic comedy that had me smiling with joy, (and yes crying!) from page one right to the very end!At only 29, Raina is a successful business woman living in Toronto. Raised in a traditional Indian home, and introduced to all the culture, beliefs and values that her beloved Nani shared with her since birth. Only problem, (at least according to Nani.) Poor Raina is still single. And so, in lieu of her upcoming milestone 30th birthday, Raina reluctantly agreed to allow her dear Nani to help arrange dates for her. Basically the modern prelude to an arranged marriage. I’ve been BLISSFULLY (cleverly added by my sneaky husband.🙄) married for years now, but wow did this book take me back to my single days and the horrible, yet laughable blind dates I endured! Some real doozies! Nearly as bad as Raina's! But alas, one did work out – that’s how my husband and I met.Sonya Lalli shines a focused light on the struggle of old-world culture clashing with the new generations. Something usually has to give, one side or the other.Whether it’s letting go of your family’s beliefs and your upbringing, or perhaps parting with a piece of yourself. While this book explores all the complicated give and take, it is joyfully laced with humor throughout. It was such a light and heartwarming tale of family and love. Learning to let go of the past and opening yourself to the future.Beautifully written, I highly recommend!A wonderful buddy read with Susanne!❄️Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing for a copy of this book to read and review.
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  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    4 stars!! The Matchmaker’s List was a fantastic debut novel by Sonya Lalli. By the cover and the blurb, I was expecting this to be a cutesy and fun rom-com. While it was that, it was also much more angsty and emotional than I thought it would be. Raina is almost thirty. Raina’s grandmother is from India and holds their traditions to heart. She wants Raina married and settled down, and it seems all Raina wants to do is work. After having her heart broken years ago, Raina just isn’t in the dating 4 stars!! The Matchmaker’s List was a fantastic debut novel by Sonya Lalli. By the cover and the blurb, I was expecting this to be a cutesy and fun rom-com. While it was that, it was also much more angsty and emotional than I thought it would be. Raina is almost thirty. Raina’s grandmother is from India and holds their traditions to heart. She wants Raina married and settled down, and it seems all Raina wants to do is work. After having her heart broken years ago, Raina just isn’t in the dating game right now. But her grandma isn’t having that. Grandmother plays matchmaker much to Raina’s dismay. Raina goes on some awful dates an meets some questionable characters, all per her grandma's picking. Nothing feels right. Raina is desperate to get her grandmother off her back and ends up getting herself in a bit of a pickle. It’s one of those lies that seems harmless at the time then gets completely out of control. Trying to navigate life, she is at a crossroads. Coming clean could mean hurting a lot of people she loves but she can’t keep on as she’s keeping on. Raina will have to decide what she wants in life and what is most important- her own self love and happiness. I really did enjoy The Matchmaker’s List. It was part romance, part chick-lit, and it had a lot of heart. I loved the family ties, the friendship, and the self acceptance. This was a coming of age story of sorts, and I loved being along for Raina’s journey. Raina who never felt good enough finally got that validation she needed, but more importantly, she felt it herself. “I don’t need you to have husband.” She moved her left hand to my cheek. “You are perfect, my Raina. Just as you are.” 
If you’re looking for a heartwarming story of self discovery, family, friendship, and love- pick this one up! It was highly entertaining and a lot of fun to read.
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  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    January 1, 1970
    I told myself I was going to make myself finish this book tonight. I lost that battle. This book had so much potential! It just ended up being soooo boring. The story was a almost 30 year old woman had promised her Nani that if she wasn't married by thirty that she would let her help her "find a mate"..and it could have worked. Nani's character sorta tried to bridge the gap of being a modern woman with her Indian heritage. Her- I tried to like. I just felt that enough time was not given to flesh I told myself I was going to make myself finish this book tonight. I lost that battle. This book had so much potential! It just ended up being soooo boring. The story was a almost 30 year old woman had promised her Nani that if she wasn't married by thirty that she would let her help her "find a mate"..and it could have worked. Nani's character sorta tried to bridge the gap of being a modern woman with her Indian heritage. Her- I tried to like. I just felt that enough time was not given to flesh out her character. BummerThen the main character Raina..she just got on my dang nerves. At the point where I gave up the ghost on the book she was back to mooning over the guy that dumped her years ago. He refused to meet her family and this girl was old school with her Nani and we were supposed to buy that? Not. Plus, he treated her like poo but of course that was the guy of her dreams. He lurrrrvvved her. *gag*She reads as so immature for a almost thirty year old woman. I went into this book wanting a rom-com that touched on some subjects that haven't been done to death..such as arranged marriages. I didn't get that. My head hurts. Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review
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  • Katie B
    January 1, 1970
    I've looked forward to reading this for months so I guess my expectations were too high. My biggest problem with the story was I just didn't understand the main character. By the end of the book I just wished the story had revolved around her grandmother and mom instead. Raina Anand has decided she will let her grandmother, Nani, find her a man. Living in an Indian-immigrant community there has to be at least one guy who Nani will approve of and will make Raina happy. Right? I thought for sure t I've looked forward to reading this for months so I guess my expectations were too high. My biggest problem with the story was I just didn't understand the main character. By the end of the book I just wished the story had revolved around her grandmother and mom instead. Raina Anand has decided she will let her grandmother, Nani, find her a man. Living in an Indian-immigrant community there has to be at least one guy who Nani will approve of and will make Raina happy. Right? I thought for sure this would be right up my alley but it ended up being such a disappointment. I just didn't get Raina. It makes for a frustrating read when you don't understand the character's motivations. I thought the backstory of her mother and grandmother was so much more interesting and would have enjoyed a book about them instead. Maybe others will enjoy this one, but unfortunately it just wasn't for me. Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy! I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.
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  • Pavlina Read more sleep less blog❤❤
    January 1, 1970
    4 starsSuch a nice surprise, I devour it in one sitting.The plot was good and I loved the heroine.I like the writing, and I hope we can see more from this author.I loved most of it, I just didn't liked the ending a lot and this is why I give it 4 stars.However, it was a great story.The Matchmaker's List is sweet, intense and heartwarming.    
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  • Kate Olson
    January 1, 1970
    SPOILERS BELOW but they are regarding problematic content and I believe they are important for deciding whether to invest your reading time.***********Okay, I'm not going to waste time talking about the things I did like about the book. Because the problematic content so far overshadows that. It is NOT OKAY to have a woman pretend to be a lesbian to avoid her grandmother's pressure for her to find a husband. It is NOT OKAY to lie to everyone on earth and pretend to be gay to make life easier for SPOILERS BELOW but they are regarding problematic content and I believe they are important for deciding whether to invest your reading time.***********Okay, I'm not going to waste time talking about the things I did like about the book. Because the problematic content so far overshadows that. It is NOT OKAY to have a woman pretend to be a lesbian to avoid her grandmother's pressure for her to find a husband. It is NOT OKAY to lie to everyone on earth and pretend to be gay to make life easier for yourself. It is NOT okay to lie to a gay teen who has the courage to come out to you, and then continue to lie about it. The whole situation is so so so so wrong and I'm appalled that Berkley published this. I *think* the author was trying to share issues in conservative Indian families but this is so far from the right way of doing it that I'm disgusted. And then to even have her (for real) lesbian friend just go along with the lie too? And only have ONE person really call her out on the horrible nature of what she's doing, but then be like, oh, but we can't tell people YET. WTF. This book is so hetero-central that I can't promote it.And now for nitpicking.1) Why is she so obsessed with her Blackberry in 2019? People from Toronto assure this US reviewer that they are just as outdated there as here.2) The differing POVs in the flashbacks and last chapter were very weird. Those alone knocked this book down to a 3 star for me even before the fake-gay thing. 3) I understand having conflicted views on your heritage, but the overall tone regarding being Indian in this book were incredibly negative. 4) The cover is deceptively cutesy for the content and the blurbs are ridiculous. There was NOTHING funny in this book. Seriously. And it's not a romance. Don't call it that - it's a discredit to the actual romance genre.Okay, that's all! This was a free review copy but obviously that didn't influence my opinion ;-)
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  • Kendall
    January 1, 1970
    I was very excited to read this book and had super high expectations for this. I have been putting off doing this review because I didn't know how to put in words how this book made me feel without mangling the book.Raina decided that she wants to have her grandmother Nani help her find a man. I was expecting this to be a romance and I was pretty much thrown completely off guard with this book. Raina is feeling extreme pressure from her grandmother about getting married. But, Raina made so many I was very excited to read this book and had super high expectations for this. I have been putting off doing this review because I didn't know how to put in words how this book made me feel without mangling the book.Raina decided that she wants to have her grandmother Nani help her find a man. I was expecting this to be a romance and I was pretty much thrown completely off guard with this book. Raina is feeling extreme pressure from her grandmother about getting married. But, Raina made so many questionable and odd decisions throughout this book. My biggest issue and in all honesty I was completely shocked that the author would have used this in her book... but Raina pretended to be gay during her dating process. Ok.. I don't even know where to start but this was absolutely appalling to me. I can't image someone that identifies as LGBTQ would think reading this book. I'm not exactly sure what the author was trying to do here? But... after I read this part.... the entire book was ruined for me. This book is supposed to be about culture and love etc. How can this be about different cultures with "pretending" to be gay. Yikes... No... just plain wrong. So... ok your family having extreme pressure on you to get married and settle down. Clear up in the book right away that Raina wasn't a lesbian. Don't have this through the ENTIRE book and continue to make this a theme? Why... that's just wrong. I didn't like this book at all and would not recommend this. This was definitely not for me :(. Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley for the arc in exchange for my honest review.1.5 stars for me on this one.Publication date: 2/5/19Published to Goodreads: 1/22/19
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
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  • Tabs
    January 1, 1970
    It’s been ages since I’ve read a book with a main character who was this horrible a person. This is a women’s fiction/chick lit novel so selfishness is really not an unexpected protagonist trait. But lying about being gay for more more than half a book is something else entirely. And lying about being gay to an actual gay vulnerable teenager who asks for your help? UNFORGIVABLE. Full review to come closer to release date.
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  • nick
    January 1, 1970
    2.5/5Any time I hear about a brown romance author coming up with a new romance read, I am more than excited. As a brown woman, the feelings that I get seeing someone like myself being represented in a book with a happily ever after are just magical. I have been excited for The Matchmaker's List for precisely that reason since early last year. I wanted so much out of this book and ultimately, these expectations wound up being crushed.A big part of why this book didn't click for me was my expectat 2.5/5Any time I hear about a brown romance author coming up with a new romance read, I am more than excited. As a brown woman, the feelings that I get seeing someone like myself being represented in a book with a happily ever after are just magical. I have been excited for The Matchmaker's List for precisely that reason since early last year. I wanted so much out of this book and ultimately, these expectations wound up being crushed.A big part of why this book didn't click for me was my expectations. I went into The Matchmaker's List thinking that it was going to be a romantic comedy of sort. I would hardly categorize this book as such having now read it. It was actually angstier and a little bit darker than I was expecting it to be. Right off the bat, I was thrown off by this. Regardless, I decided to pause my reading for a bit and came back to it with a fresh perspective. Still though, there was just something preventing me from completely enjoying the story. I soon found out that it was the main character, Raina. I wanted to love Raina, but she wasn't my type of heroine. I understood her struggles and why she felt so much pressure from her Nani, her grandmother, wanting her to urgently get married. She often made questionable decisions and I found it hard to connect with her. Becky described her as a hot mess and I think that's a perfect description of Raina. I don't mind reading about hot-mess heroines, but I found that Raina took things too far. (view spoiler)[ I absolutely hated that she pretended to be gay to get her Nani off her back. (hide spoiler)] It wasn't a white lie, and it affected and hurt so many people around her. Perhaps if we had seen her working towards fixing this lie sooner I would have grown to care for her, but she dragged it and I thought she got off really easily at the end.The whole matchmaking process and romances were also emotionally draining for me. I think that was the whole point with the matchmaking process at least, but I don't quite think the author intended for the romances to come across as tedious. So we know that Raina is hung up on this guy that she met and fell in love with while she was in London years ago. She goes on these dates with the guys that her grandmother suggests, but she is undeniably still in love with Dev. When Dev comes back into the picture things get really complicated for Raina. I think I'm going to sound like a broken record but Raina's romantic drama was just too much for me. I didn't like or care for any of the guys that were introduced, mostly because they were one-dimensional and there were so many of them that there was hardly enough time to get to know them. I genuinely disliked Dev as a person and couldn't see what Raina ever even saw in him. When she finally "picked" a guy at the end of the book, I was surprised by how quickly declarations of love came to be. I was honestly even surprised that the person was even a contender. I didn't dislike everything about The Matchmaker's List. There were some elements I really enjoyed - I thought the discussions of culture, dating, and arranged marriage were thought-provoking. I also adored Raina's Nani, who obviously deeply cared for her granddaughter, but wanted the best for her future. Lalli's writing is also strong, which is why I read the book to completion.My advice to readers going into The Matchmaker's List is to go into it not expecting a contemporary romance, but more of a women's fiction read. I am sad that this didn't work for me, but I do hope that it works for other readers.
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  • Ari
    January 1, 1970
    *I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.**2.5 Stars!* It may be too early to call, but I definitely feel like 2019 is gonna be the year for brown girl romances! I've been adding romance books written by brown women featuring brown heroines to my TBR left and right and it makes me so excited to read romance books about girls just like me. The Matchmaker's List was one of those books on my list and I had really high hopes for it. Too bad it didn' *I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.**2.5 Stars!* It may be too early to call, but I definitely feel like 2019 is gonna be the year for brown girl romances! I've been adding romance books written by brown women featuring brown heroines to my TBR left and right and it makes me so excited to read romance books about girls just like me. The Matchmaker's List was one of those books on my list and I had really high hopes for it. Too bad it didn't end up living up to my expectations and I'm pretty bummed about it to say the least. Let's get this mini rant of a review started!At twenty-nine, Raina Anand is tired of her family constantly badgering her about when she will find husband and finally settle down. So she decides to let her Nani play matchmaker as she sets Raina up on numerous dates with men who are deemed "husband material". Failed date after another, Raina is ready to throw in the towel and claim the single life for good. But when a blast from the past comes waltzing back into her life wanting a second chance, Raina finds herself having to make some tough choices that could either make or break the relationships with the ones she loves.When I first picked up The Matchmaker's List, I had a hard time putting it down because I was really enjoying it. The whole story of Raina feeling pressured to find a husband and settle down is something I related so hard too because I'm literally going through the same thing right now. I swear, brown parents are okay with you being single until you reach a certain age and then they just want to you get married already. I loved seeing the Indian culture in this book and I especially loved Raina's relationship with her Nani. Her Nani was so sweet yet sassy and she's was definitely my favorite character in this book. So I was pretty much enjoying this story until about 40%—basically that's where shit hit the fan as the plot twist was introduced and I was so not here for it. Raina doesn't have the courage to tell her Nani that she is back with the ex that broke her heart, so the avoid being set up on anymore dates, Raina lets her Nani believe that she is gay. Like we really out here playing the fake gay card as a plot twist? In 2019?? Like who even approved this because y'all out yo damn minds if you thought a plot twist like this would sit well with readers! As for Raina, she is the worst because she let's this lie play out to the point where a secondary character confides to her that he is gay too and looks to Raina for help to come out to his parents. Like this isn't a cute look and we shouldn't be using sexuality as a twist like this. Honestly after that mess, I just hated Raina and I didn't really care for who she ended up with. The romance itself is just a whole mess because I didn't feel like Raina had any actual chemistry with any of the love interests we were introduced to. It was just awkward as a whole and even the way the story concluded left me confused. I think one of the major issues I had with this book besides the problematic plot twist has to be the way it is being promoted. This story is being promoted as a romantic comedy but it's anything but. This reads more like women's fiction and not a good one at that. The Matchmaker's List had the potential to be such a good book but I can't overlook the problematic twist which is why I won't be recommending this book to anyone.
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  • Simone
    January 1, 1970
    ::SPOILERS WARNING:: Just letting you know that halfway through this review, there's a big spoiler but I have to talk about it because it's the reason why I couldn't give it a full five stars.I think when it comes to romance novels, you're expecting there to be two main characters. They're the love interests and you read throughout the novel as they volley back and forth before finally getting together. Even though this book is said to be a romance novel, I actually didn't see it that way. Yes, ::SPOILERS WARNING:: Just letting you know that halfway through this review, there's a big spoiler but I have to talk about it because it's the reason why I couldn't give it a full five stars.I think when it comes to romance novels, you're expecting there to be two main characters. They're the love interests and you read throughout the novel as they volley back and forth before finally getting together. Even though this book is said to be a romance novel, I actually didn't see it that way. Yes, there's romance and love, but it's also about women and their dating lives. In many ways, I resonated a lot with Raina. She's this young Indian Canadian woman with a lot of people lobbying men for her to marry. Not even date, but to become her husband. I think I resonated the most with her when she had an ex she couldn't get over. The way she felt about him was the way I felt about my ex and the years I spent trying to both get over him and still hold out in case he still loved me. That kind of experience really messes you up and regardless the number of dates you go on, it's hard to let go of.I thought it was so interesting that Sonya Lalli used arranged marriages and the pressure many cultures have on marrying off their daughters. In many ways, Raina's life reminded me of my own. Yes, I have been asked by my parents if I wanted them to find me a husband. Yes, I've been in love with one person who repeatedly broke my heart. It finally took time and patience to find someone who really loved me for who I was and become my partner. I'm so glad that I waited it out and I think Raina does the same thing.I also loved that Raina was a real person. She wasn't that "oh I'm so clumsy and quirky I can't even take myself seriously" like many women in romance novels are depicted. She's working at a job she doesn't have passion for. She's dating men her grandma thinks would be suitable husbands. She's helping her best friend get married and trying her best not to feel like this will never happen for her. I feel like women everywhere have felt exactly what Raina has felt before. You can say that she's a "hot mess" but if you think about it, we've all been a hot mess when it comes to love at one point in our lives.But I felt like romance wasn't the primary theme in this book. In fact, I wouldn't really categorize this book as a romance. It's more contemporary fiction or womens' fiction where the fiction really speaks to women and their dating lives. This is the truth, people! Dating is messy. Love is messier. And this book shows what I feel is a real example of what dating life is like for many young folks. They may not have an eccentric grandmother, but they do have everything else. SPOILERS BELOW!The only thing I had issues with (and honestly, went back and forth in my mind) is the gay commentary. In the book, Raina's grandmother somehow gets it into her head that Raina must be gay. It's the reason why she's not with anyone and why she's disinterested in dating people. Of course, that couldn't be far from the truth but Raina doesn't correct her immediately. Raina doesn't deny it, but she doesn't do anything to fix it. Instead, she allows her grandmother to believe she's gay and she believes it pretty much up to the end of the novel. The whole community knows and it splits everyone down the middle.As you can see, there's a few problems with that particular narrative. First off, no one should be "pretending" to be gay to avoid dating. If you don't want to date, then don't date and do what other responsible Asian kids do which is lie through your teeth about your dating life. It just makes a mockery of the LGBTQ community especially when one of the characters is a lesbian and is okay with Raina masking herself as a lesbian. But despite it being problematic, I thought that it was an interesting way to spark conversation regarding the discrimination within the Indian community. I love that this became a big theme in the book, but I hate the way it was executed. If you wanted to touch on this topic, I think that the best way to do it is to make Raina actually a lesbian and the rest of the story about her struggle to come out to her family and her community. Of course, that would have changed the entire dynamic of the story, but at least it would feel more honest. And I get it. In the anxiety and stress of your family pressuring you to get married and settle down, it might have slipped her mind to clarify right away that she wasn't gay. But when it kept going on until the end, I thought it was too long. I honestly thought it would be a quick moment in the book, but when it became one of the major themes, I was not happy about that.I think if you focus on the fact that this stirred up some conversation about discrimination in the Indian community, then it doesn't feel as problematic. But aside from that, I really enjoyed this book. I even teared up towards the end because I resonated so much with Raina and thinking about my own messy past love life. But the one thing I took away from this is that time heals all wounds. Time helps to get over those exes. It helps you find new loves. It helps you find yourself and what you really are meant to do in this life. If anything, that's the best message you can get from this book.
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  • Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
    January 1, 1970
    Loved it so much full review to come
  • Leigh Kramer
    January 1, 1970
    After reading excerpts, I have addressed the publisher and am declining to review my advance copy due to problematic content. A plot line around a character pretending to be lesbian so she doesn't have to deal with her family wanting her to get married, even as a gay teen is coming out to her, is offensive to the LGBTQ+ community. She also proceeded to out that teen to all of her family and friends when she finally fessed up. How no one at the publisher recognized how deeply problematic this is After reading excerpts, I have addressed the publisher and am declining to review my advance copy due to problematic content. A plot line around a character pretending to be lesbian so she doesn't have to deal with her family wanting her to get married, even as a gay teen is coming out to her, is offensive to the LGBTQ+ community. She also proceeded to out that teen to all of her family and friends when she finally fessed up. How no one at the publisher recognized how deeply problematic this is only shows how much more work needs to be done in the industry. You can find details in Kate's review.
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  • FMABookReviews
    January 1, 1970
    'The Matchmaker's List' is more than a romance about matchmaking. It is a story about family and tradition, and the responsibilities that come with those. It is about figuring out who you are and what you want to be while being okay with the fact that there will be people who don't agree with your life choices. ❝Gay. Straight. Indian. Not Indian.❞ She moves closer to him. ❝Not everyone is brave enough to be themselves.❞ 'The Matchmaker's List' chronicles the life of Raina Anandas as she tries to 'The Matchmaker's List' is more than a romance about matchmaking. It is a story about family and tradition, and the responsibilities that come with those. It is about figuring out who you are and what you want to be while being okay with the fact that there will be people who don't agree with your life choices. ❝Gay. Straight. Indian. Not Indian.❞ She moves closer to him. ❝Not everyone is brave enough to be themselves.❞ 'The Matchmaker's List' chronicles the life of Raina Anandas as she tries to balance the new, modern world of Canada, with the tradition and rituals of old world, India. With her 30th birthday on the horizon, Raina's grandmother is worried that if Raina doesn't marry soon, she never will. ❝You work, and work, and life is passing by. Men are passing by. Tell me, when is the right time? When will you be ready?❞ To put her grandmother at ease she agreed to allow her to set Raina up on dates. But the pressure to marry doesn't ease because these dates are with, ❝men whose family, religion, background, values, and sometimes even astrology match your own. It is having parents who want their children to marry into the 'culture', and so they hurl them against a brick wall of blind dates until one finally sticks. It is arranged dating, really; an agreement to decide quickly whether you are in love.❞ With one bad encounter after another, Raina questions the wisdom of arranged marriages and wonders why she isn't good enough as she is, and why she needs a man to complete her. These thoughts led her to make some questionable decisions. I am so glad, that the author showed the pain those decisions caused and showed us how Raina tried to redeem herself.While I loved this story, I wasn't crazy about the ending. I felt it too abrupt and left so much unsaid and questions unanswered. In reality, I just didn't want it to end.'The Matchmaker's List' is a heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking read, about the struggles of growing up in a family with strong opinions about right and wrong, and one that is heavily influenced by religion and tradition.I was provided a review copy by the publisher. This did not influence my opinion of the book nor my review.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    This book was nothing like I expected. The summary made me expect a far lighter read and this one wasn't that. It was intense and introspective and I actually thought I might not like it. But it's good for books to surprise me and this one did surprise me. Raina is a hot mess. She is working a job which doesn't excite her. Planning a wedding for her best friend she is a little bit jealous of. And she's stuck being forced into date upon date with nice Indian boys her Nani sets her up with because This book was nothing like I expected. The summary made me expect a far lighter read and this one wasn't that. It was intense and introspective and I actually thought I might not like it. But it's good for books to surprise me and this one did surprise me. Raina is a hot mess. She is working a job which doesn't excite her. Planning a wedding for her best friend she is a little bit jealous of. And she's stuck being forced into date upon date with nice Indian boys her Nani sets her up with because her Nani just wants her to be happy. And Raina doesn't know what she wants but she wants to make her Nani happy even if she doesn't know how.This book is complex. Raina's family structure is complex and slowly unfolding the past layers of how her family worked was amazing. It was great seeing her relationship with her family how it was in the past to grow and develop to today. I didn't get why she didn't get along with her mom but as time went on I slowly learnt how there was far more going on than we realise.I expected a cute romance and this isn't that. There is romance, and it's cute but it's more. It's Raina realising what she wants in life. Its about her learning what love really is and when to give up on someone when they aren't good people. Just a whole heap of self discovery and I adored that. I was all set to dislike Raina with her terrible life choices (seriously I cringed a few times) but who isn't flawed and making mistakes? Who doesn't mess up? And I adored seeing her slowly figure things out.This was such an enjoyable read with all its surprises. I am so glad I bought it and I hope to read again.
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  • book bruin
    January 1, 1970
    After seeing the cover and blurb for The Matchmaker's List, I was excited to get my hands on it. It sounded like a fun (oh, those meddling matchmaking grandmothers!) and diverse read. Though I enjoyed the multicultural aspect of the story a lot, and there are plenty of silly and hilarious moments, I wouldn't consider this one truly a romcom. It was much more poignant and polarizing than I anticipated.Our heroine, Raina, was sadly one of the main reasons why I did not love this book. I can defini After seeing the cover and blurb for The Matchmaker's List, I was excited to get my hands on it. It sounded like a fun (oh, those meddling matchmaking grandmothers!) and diverse read. Though I enjoyed the multicultural aspect of the story a lot, and there are plenty of silly and hilarious moments, I wouldn't consider this one truly a romcom. It was much more poignant and polarizing than I anticipated.Our heroine, Raina, was sadly one of the main reasons why I did not love this book. I can definitely relate to the overwhelming pressures that family, friends, and community can unwittingly place on an individual. Even with this and the sadness surrounding her childhood, I had a hard time sympathizing with Raina because of her behavior throughout the book. I understand that it was part of her character arc to grow and recognize certain truths, but it was frustrating to see an almost 30 year old woman act this way. I don't want to be spoilery, but a good part of the book has her basically being a doormat (I wanted to throat punch Dev so badly!) and then she tells a lie by omission that ends up having HUGE repercussions. There were so many opportunities to come clean and explain, but over and over fear ruled her and she let the lie perpetuate and change lives. The situation with Asher felt forced and I'm a bit skeptical of the declarations that were made given their sporadic history. I really just wanted more from Raina and when she finally did come into her own, it just felt like too little too late.Something I did love, however, was the overall message of love and acceptance. Yes, this is a romance, but it's more a romance about falling in love with yourself. Loving who you are and recognizing that you are enough exactly as you are. The writing was entertaining, but sometimes too detailed and descriptive for me. Overall I did enjoy Raina's journey and think the book's message will resonate with readers.*I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book*
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  • Juliana
    January 1, 1970
    I received a digital ARC from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest reviewThis book had a lot of potential, especially with the Indian representation. I was excited to read about the culture of dating as well as the elaboration behind a wedding. While that part was interesting, the rest of it fell short of my expectations. It started out funny but it quickly fell by the wayside to become convoluted. Cutting back and forth from the present to different points in the past felt more I received a digital ARC from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest reviewThis book had a lot of potential, especially with the Indian representation. I was excited to read about the culture of dating as well as the elaboration behind a wedding. While that part was interesting, the rest of it fell short of my expectations. It started out funny but it quickly fell by the wayside to become convoluted. Cutting back and forth from the present to different points in the past felt more clunky than anything else. Raina was not a character that I sympathized with and she honestly felt immature for her age. While I understood some of her motivations, other times were just nitpicky and annoying. Don't even get me started on (view spoiler)[ the gay rumor that she essentially didn't stop. It just got completely out of hand and it was handled poorly (hide spoiler)]. I was more interested in the supporting characters and her best friend more than her. I didn't even like any of the guys enough to root for any of them. Overall, this was a disappointment.
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  • Bookish
    January 1, 1970
    Sonya Lalli’s The Matchmaker’s List was a refreshing surprise. I read it on a whim, mostly because it was compared to The Wedding Date, which hit a tender part of my heart I didn’t even know existed. The initial conceit is that the narrator, Raina, while still heartbroken over an ex, has to manage her grandmother’s expectation that she settle down and marry a nice Indian boy sooner rather than later. I was expecting the story to show a series of charmingly terrible bad dates that would end in a Sonya Lalli’s The Matchmaker’s List was a refreshing surprise. I read it on a whim, mostly because it was compared to The Wedding Date, which hit a tender part of my heart I didn’t even know existed. The initial conceit is that the narrator, Raina, while still heartbroken over an ex, has to manage her grandmother’s expectation that she settle down and marry a nice Indian boy sooner rather than later. I was expecting the story to show a series of charmingly terrible bad dates that would end in a happily ever after with both Raina and her Nani perfectly content. What I got was so much more complicated. The Matchmaker’s List takes on generational trauma, complex female friendships, tradition, sexuality, cultural identity, and the murky line between what we want and what we have been told to want. But don’t worry: There are still charmingly bad dates. —Nina (excerpted from Bookish's Staff Reads)
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  • Olivia (The Candid Cover)
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come!
  • Steph Hayward-bailey
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book. It's an original idea for a rom-com that identifies the pressures of cross cultural dating. I loved the characters and couldn't put it down.
  • Aneesa
    January 1, 1970
    Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review, thank you to Orion BooksWhen I first heard about this book I was a little sceptical, I thought this would be one of those plots with a insta love kind of story. But I am so happy to be wrong. This book is so full of surprises you will be spitting out anything you eat/drink.Where should my love for this begin and where should it end??The characters are totally loveable, funny, you will be catching yourself saying O-M-G RAINA NO WAY!!! Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review, thank you to Orion BooksWhen I first heard about this book I was a little sceptical, I thought this would be one of those plots with a insta love kind of story. But I am so happy to be wrong. This book is so full of surprises you will be spitting out anything you eat/drink.Where should my love for this begin and where should it end??The characters are totally loveable, funny, you will be catching yourself saying O-M-G RAINA NO WAY!!!!! so many times you will lose count. The plot I will admit is a little typical cliché, you know parents or in this particular case a grandmother wanting to set her daughter for marriage which she thinks is best for her. I like that everyone had someone's best interest at heart yet the person who needs to know what makes them happy is YOU. Nobody can make that decision for you. Raina is a 30 year old Indian woman who works in the banking industry but yet is to find a suitable husband according to her Nani. Her mum who we come to know as Manavi comes and goes as she pleases so really her only role model is her Nani who she is extremely close with. At this point in the story, I am intrigued to know what happened to her mom? Why does she end up like this? She had Raina when she was 16 and is quite fair for an Indian. We never get to know her father or about her Nana as he unfortunately passes away, we are not told when.Nani has made it her life mission to get Raina married, with help of her best friend Shay and Auntie Sarla she comes up with several proposals for Raina to choose from, unfortunately for her Raina is too picky in her opinion; she always finds a fault. We are told that Raina's Nani has become very acceptive and broad minded of westernised culture since she came to live in Canada.Shay's mum, Auntie Sarla is sooo annoying in this book, I suppose we all have this one person in every family who thinks very traditionally and has a problem when the status quo is challenged or changed. She always criticises Raina for every little thing, constantly comparing her to Shay sometimes in the book I really wanted to give her a slap.Asher, although he does not have a long role in this book is a sweetheart, he is your typical traveller, adventurer and giving back to society kind of person. Plus he is hot which is always a plus ;)The plot is what I loved most about this book, apart from Nani's antics there were many times in the book when the past would be told and I wanted to know more, for instance, Nani was hard with her upbringing on her daughter Manavi, we are shown times when Raina was born and she wanted to pick her daughter up but her mom was in my opinion was acting callous and always hard on her with endless lists of have you done this yet? She also has the same notion of wanting to get her kids married which is why they never come home, I can understand this. With someone always telling you get married or with the idea you need a partner and have kids to be a complete woman is really frustrating. Coming from an Asian family myself, it is really depressing to see parents be so harsh with their daughters to even suggest a woman's worth only comes from a man. I really hate this, it is self deprecating to your own self worth. I really sympathised with Raina on this one and struggled. But I don't agree with how Raina decides to get out of this situation, she ends up making more of a mess. It was nice to see a gay character introduced, it really showed how the norm can be broken with a little open mind.Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | G+ | Pinterest
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  • ✰ BJ's Book Blog ✰Janeane ✰
    January 1, 1970
    Copy received via Netgalley for an honest reviewI really wanted to really enjoy this book, however to me it fell flat.I liked the premise of the book, and I thought things could have been funnier, more of a rom-com than we got.Though the main thing that made this fall flat for me was our leading lady Raina. Though she is nearly 30 years old, she came off as immature. I was sure at times I was reading about a 14 year old girl not a smart, successful woman.I just didn't get her. She came across as Copy received via Netgalley for an honest reviewI really wanted to really enjoy this book, however to me it fell flat.I liked the premise of the book, and I thought things could have been funnier, more of a rom-com than we got.Though the main thing that made this fall flat for me was our leading lady Raina. Though she is nearly 30 years old, she came off as immature. I was sure at times I was reading about a 14 year old girl not a smart, successful woman.I just didn't get her. She came across as childish and selfish and like she was going to stamp her foot and chuck a tanty every second page.But this could just be me.I really think that this book had potential. This might be a case of it's not you, it's me.
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  • Kath
    January 1, 1970
    Raina is almost thirty and Nani, her grandmother, desperately wants her to get married as soon as possible. She eventually gave in and let her Nani play matchmaker. But Nani doesn’t know that Raina still have feelings for her ex-boyfriend and still hoping that everything will work out for them. This becomes a huge impact on Raina’s decision making and relationship with the people around her.I actually liked Raina at first but it changed as the book progresses. She became too much and it’s exhaus Raina is almost thirty and Nani, her grandmother, desperately wants her to get married as soon as possible. She eventually gave in and let her Nani play matchmaker. But Nani doesn’t know that Raina still have feelings for her ex-boyfriend and still hoping that everything will work out for them. This becomes a huge impact on Raina’s decision making and relationship with the people around her.I actually liked Raina at first but it changed as the book progresses. She became too much and it’s exhausting. I thought she’s a little immature and selfish. Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes consider myself as immature but not when it comes to important matters in my life. I simply lost interest in her and her love life and became more intrigued by her family especially Nani’s relationship with Raina’s mother. My favorite would be Nani. Yes she can be crazy and tiring but she’s a very sweet, understanding and caring person.I thought the book description was a bit misleading. This book isn’t entirely about matchmaking and blind-dates. There’s actually so much drama going on in this book and they take place one after another. Also, this is more of a women’s fiction novel than a fluffy rom-com.I liked that there’s an aspect of LGBTQ in the story but I thought the execution was ridiculous and problematic. It could have been handled differently. I didn’t like the romance in this book as well. It felt flat and forced. I wasn’t even rooting for someone to be Raina’s partner. The blind dates were fun to read though. I had my fair share of blind dates but they were not as hilarious as the ones that Raina had.The writing is still compelling and this was one of the reasons why I decided to finish reading. It was also exciting to read about Indian weddings and celebrations. There are some interesting subjects and discussions which are thought-provoking in this book such as cultural identity, tradition, religion, and culture clash.F I NA L V E R D I C T : The Matchmaker’s List may not be the best diverse book I read but I still enjoyed it.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the publisher, via Netgalley, for an advance e-galley for honest review.This story was an entertaining, interesting, quick read. Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella or Jane Green, but with a welcome difference in setting and character to the Toronto-area Indian community. Raina's life seems well put together to others, but in reality she's struggling with a demanding job, a well-meaning but determined grandmother, and is still hung up on an ex she remembers as perfect. Raina makes a lo Thanks to the publisher, via Netgalley, for an advance e-galley for honest review.This story was an entertaining, interesting, quick read. Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella or Jane Green, but with a welcome difference in setting and character to the Toronto-area Indian community. Raina's life seems well put together to others, but in reality she's struggling with a demanding job, a well-meaning but determined grandmother, and is still hung up on an ex she remembers as perfect. Raina makes a lot of mistakes in her quest to manage all these issues, including some that are pretty harmful, selfish, and shortsighted. Somehow I still found myself rooting for her and hoping she'd find her way- whether or not that included a love interest at the end.
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  • Booksandchinooks (Laurie)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for this free book for review. This book is written by a debut Canadian author. I’m always interested in books where the story is centered in Canada, since so few are, so this appealed to me. Another aspect that drew me to this book was the chance to read more about a culture different than my own. This book takes place in Toronto and the main character is Raina who is about to turn thirty. Raina is of Indian descent and a few years ago she told her grand Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for this free book for review. This book is written by a debut Canadian author. I’m always interested in books where the story is centered in Canada, since so few are, so this appealed to me. Another aspect that drew me to this book was the chance to read more about a culture different than my own. This book takes place in Toronto and the main character is Raina who is about to turn thirty. Raina is of Indian descent and a few years ago she told her grandma that she could help her find a husband if she was unmarried at age thirty. As her birthday approaches, her Nani creates a list of hopefully suitable husbands. She develops her list with advice of her friends in the Indian community where she is a very active member. Needless to say Nani’s list doesn’t work out so well for Raina. As the dates begin there are some funny and cringeworthy suitors and events. Further complicating Raina’s life is the return of her ex boyfriend. This was the man that Raina felt was her soul mate and the person she really wanted to build a future with. After many match made dates and much soul searching Raina decides to make some major changes in her life. There were some plot points that I didn’t agree with and felt detracted from the rest of the story but I’ll let you decide on that. The substance of the story is good and was enjoyable but I was uncomfortable with certain issues. So does Nani’s matchmaking list help Raina find a husband? Does she even really want a husband or is she trying to conform to what she’s been raised to believe is the right path in life? This book is on sale Feb 5, 2019.
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  • DJ
    January 1, 1970
    Copy provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.So this book was nothing like what I thought I was getting. This is a good thing and a bad. It's bad if you're looking for a light hearted romance to read. Because that's not what this is. It's an intense story about love, friendship and trauma. The themes in this book were important and well written but this is not what I thought I was getting. I loved that The Matchmaker's List was diverse and tackled important issue Copy provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.So this book was nothing like what I thought I was getting. This is a good thing and a bad. It's bad if you're looking for a light hearted romance to read. Because that's not what this is. It's an intense story about love, friendship and trauma. The themes in this book were important and well written but this is not what I thought I was getting. I loved that The Matchmaker's List was diverse and tackled important issues. It's a really great read, if you're not expecting a fluffy romance.
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  • Aila
    January 1, 1970
    Not for me unfortunately.
  • Cristal Hummingbird
    January 1, 1970
    3.5-4 StarsA hot mess of a story, but I couldn’t stop reading.
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