Etta

Audiobook Review: The Soulmate Equation

Published May 18th 2021

Author: Christina Lauren

Narrator: Patti Murin

Audiobook Length: 9 hours 39 minutes

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 soul mate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands.

At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98 percent 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 soul mate. 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 soul mate – than she thought.

The Soulmate Equation is brings an amazing concept to life. The novel explores using DNA to match you with your soulmate while filtering out your own criteria. Although some of Christina Lauren novels have been hit or miss for me, I could not wait to try this one. It was extremely cute and the concept was very original. Although I am not single now, I would easily still try out this technology to see whom I would be matched with out of sheer curiosity.

Jess is a freelance data statistician who is approaching 30 and single in San Diego, CA. Although she is open to finding love, she does not have the time for dating with being a single mother to her seven-year-old daughter, Juno. She has a complex relationship with her mother and has a close relationship with her grandparents. When her and her best friend, Fizzy, a romance novelist, are at their usual coffee shop, they are invited by River to try out a new dating app. River is one of the founders of GeneticAlly, a match-making app that uses DNA to match its clients, with its headquarters located in La Jolla, CA. Just like Jess and Fizzy who were impressed with the facility, I was very impressed as this company was not fully off the ground yet had the capital to be in a gorgeous and wealthy part of San Diego.

Both Fizzy and Jess send in samples and Jess ends up matching River with a 98% compatibility. As this result is extremely rare, the company convinces Jess to give dating River a chance despite her reluctance for research purposes. Jess finally agrees and her and River begin a fake relationship. The two of them try to figure out getting to know the other, if there are real feelings developing, and having others invested in their relationship.

Jess was an excellent lead character as she has a lot on her plate at all times and she is just trying to figure out the best solutions for everyone in her life. I love that she puts her daughter first and has an excellent relationship with her best friend and her grandparents. Her mother was a lot so I commend Jess for putting up with her without becoming too frustrated. River was more reserved, but I like how his character was revealed little by little. Now, Fizzy, the best friend of Jess, is a complete scene-stealer as she is very supportive and just a joy to read about. I found myself very invested in her part of the story and was rooting for any of her relationships as she was more into finding matches than Jess. I really hope that she gets her own sequel as I would easily read a story with her as the lead!

While I loved River and Jess as separate characters and they shared many cute moments together, it was difficult to fully connect with their developing relationship when they did not even go on their first date until 40% into the story. The two characters went from knowing almost nothing about the other to caring about each other very fast. It almost gave an insta-love vibe based on their compatibility score. It almost took away from the idea that the score does not always matter for two people to fall in love. It felt like the two only loved each other in a more forced way based on a score rather than the two actually being compatible.

Overall, the concept of this novel is amazing. I love the ease of the writing and storytelling with the style that comes with a Christina Lauren novel. The inclusion of statistics added a nice layer of enjoyment to the story as it is a huge part of both characters’ interests. The characters are very relatable and loveable. Although I greatly wish that the two characters spent more time together, they were still cute together. If this were reality, I am not sure they would be a long lasting couple based on this story as I would in other novels, but they did make a very nice couple with great chemistry. It was a great novel and easily I will continue to read and enjoy more novels by this wonderful duo!

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