Play­ing With Matches

  • Review
By – June 19, 2015

Ban­ished to her strict Aunt Mira’s in Toron­to after her expul­sion from her Man­hat­tan school, six­teen-year-old Raina Resnick looks for­ward to her sis­ter Leah’s arrival for her wed­ding. But Leah is cold toward her, her wed­ding plans can­celed because of Raina’s actions. With nag­ging at school and now at home, Raina seeks to help the young woman she calls Gingie-Locks on the bus find a suit­able hus­band in Toronto’s close-knit Ortho­dox commu­nity. Her match­mak­ing, anony­mous through email, becomes a hit and Raina’s heart begins to mend when Leah asks Match­maven” for help. The more Raina helps the com­mu­ni­ty, the deep­er into trou­ble she gets, always doing the wrong thing, always being blamed, until the engage­ment par­ty of two seniors, brought togeth­er by her matchmaking.

Suri Rosen has cre­at­ed a set of char­ac­ters ful­ly real­ized. Each has pos­i­tive traits and some flaws, mak­ing them inher­ent­ly human. Raina has an indomitable spir­it and per­se­veres in her quest to help, not always mak­ing the right choic­es, but with her heart in the right place. Read­ers will find them­selves root­ing for her the whole way. Pre­sent­ed with great voice, Raina rep­re­sents that six­teen-year-old who ques­tions her place in the world and the gifts she can offer it.

Rosen smart­ly chose not to give Raina a love inter­est, unlike Austen’s Emma. Instead, she focus­es on the del­i­cate rela­tion­ship between Raina and her sis­ter and its poignant moments. Read­ers may want to keep a box of tis­sues nearby.

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 12 and up.

Bar­bara Kras­ner is the author of many books across gen­res, includ­ing fic­tion, poet­ry, cre­ative non­fic­tion, and chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture. Her recent titles include 37 Days at Sea: Aboard the M.S. St. Louis, 1939, Civil­ian Casu­al­ties in War and Ethel’s Song: Ethel Rosen­berg’s Life in Poems. Her book Goldie Takes a Stand! Gol­da Meir’s First Cru­sade was a recip­i­ent of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Hon­or Award. She holds a Ph.D. in Holo­caust and geno­cide stud­ies from Gratz Col­lege, teach­es in the Holo­caust and geno­cide stud­ies pro­gram at the Col­lege of New Jer­sey, and serves as direc­tor of the Mer­cer Coun­ty Holo­caust, Geno­cide, and Human Rights Edu­ca­tion Cen­ter. She also holds an MFA in writ­ing for chil­dren and young adults from the Ver­mont Col­lege of Fine Arts.

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