The Soulmate Equation
by Christina Lauren
Release Date: May 18, 2021
Publisher: Gallery Books
Number of Pages: 368
Source: NetGalley ARC
Contemporary Romance M/F
Read 4/18/21 to 4/19/21
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.
There is so much about this book that I love. The friendship, the chemistry, the different familial aspects, and the setting. Jess lives in the University Heights area of San Diego and, while I didn’t live in the same area, I am familiar with so many of the locations this story uses. I had a complicated relationship with San Diego when we lived there, but this story really made me want to take a trip to revisit some of the things I loved about the area.
Although it’s very tempting to think of River as a jerk who is a bit too full of himself, it was evident to me that he is just achingly shy and isn’t great with social cues. River is not a man of subtleties, he states the facts. Once Jess comes to understand River’s personality more, she actually finds she respects his matter of fact attitude. Jess deals with numbers…facts, figures, data. Don’t tell her how something feels or seems to be, give her proof.
There is a lot of strife between River and Jess at first that makes this story a bit of an enemies to lovers, although they were only enemies for a short time. They really didn’t interact much before she finds out about his dating app and the science behind his matchings. Once the pair get over themselves and relax enough to be themselves, they are extremely sweet together. Of course, with Jess’ past she often tries to find a hidden meaning behind the nice things River does. Yet it obvious to the reader that River really is just a nice guy.
Immersing myself in this story was a joy. It made me laugh, cry, get angry, and swoon. And, of course, it has me daydreaming about a trip to San Diego.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**