Lauren, Christina. The Soulmate Equation. Dial Press, 2022. ISBN 400 pp. 978-0593379165 $17.99
I spent 2 years on Plenty of Fish, Bumble, Tinder and OKCupid just looking at profiles until I met my the love of my life. I was holding out for a 90% or better compatibility on OKCupid (and striking out) when I accidentally swiped UP (superlike!) on a not-yet-divorced man on Tinder (a site I barely used, because I was looking for long term, not a quick hookup). Tinder was a stopover for him while he was perfecting a J-Date profile. I’d like to think if we had completed all those tests on OKCupid, we’d be a solid 90% match.
In The Soulmate Equation, single mom statistician Jess has just sworn off dating. She and her best friend work from a local coffee shop, a place where you could set your watch by the attractive man who comes in at 8:24 every morning, face buried in his phone. When it turns out he runs a dating company that finds matches based on genetic compatibility across 200 genomes, Jess and her friend romance novelist Fizzy end up getting a tour, the pitch and send in a spit sample for a possible match; Jess ends up 98% compatible with the grumpy but hot owner, River.
The company, poised to go public, offers to pay Jess $30,000 to date River for three months; the match is too good not to share, and a real relationship for the two of them would solidify the data. Jess agrees, so long as her adorable 7-year-old Juno is kept out of the PR spotlight. River comes up with the clause they are under no obligation to get physical. Jess and River find themselves ordering the same meals, making similar gestures on their dates, and their chemistry is palpable. River shows up for Jess in all kinds of ways–picking up Juno at school, standing vigil at the hospital after the grandmother that raised her has an accident–but when Jess comes upon some information that could compromise the data, and the company, she can’t remain silent, even though she risks losing everything she ever wanted.
San Francisco is a strong presence in the book, and Jess’s grandfather’s love of crossword puzzles is one of the things that adds depth to the characterizations. Jess’s addict mother Jamie keeps everything a little too real. I completely geeked out over all the data science. My only complaint is I would have liked some remaining questions answered.
If my love and I were able to get a genome sequencing, like the characters in the book, would we come out with a strong match? I think so. Would we want to know the results? Again, I think so-it would just prove what I already know to be true.
I received an advance reader’s review copy of #TheSoulmateEquation from #NetGalley