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 an award-win­ning poet and his­to­ri­an who focus­es her writ­ing on the Jew­ish expe­ri­ence in Amer­i­ca and dur­ing the Holo­caust. She teach­es in the his­to­ry depart­ment of The Col­lege of New Jer­sey and serves as Direc­tor, Mer­cer Holo­caust, Geno­cide & Human Rights Edu­ca­tion Center.

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