The Love Match

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The Love Match
Age Range
12+
Release Date
January 03, 2022
ISBN
9781665901109
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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets Pride and Prejudice in this delightful and heartfelt rom-com about a Bangladeshi American teen whose meddling mother arranges a match to secure their family’s financial security—just as she’s falling in love with someone else.

Zahra Khan is basically Bangladeshi royalty, but being a princess doesn’t pay the bills in Paterson, New Jersey. While Zahra’s plans for financial security this summer involve working long hours at Chai Ho and saving up for college writing courses, Amma is convinced that all Zahra needs is a “good match,” Jane Austen style.

Enter Harun Emon, who’s wealthy, devastatingly handsome, and…aloof. As soon as Zahra meets him, she knows it’s a bad match. It’s nothing like the connection she has with Nayim Aktar, the new dishwasher at the tea shop, who just gets Zahra in a way no one has before. So, when Zahra finds out that Harun is just as uninterested in this match as she is, they decide to slowly sabotage their parents’ plans. And for once in Zahra’s life, she can have her rossomalai and eat it too: “dating” Harun and keeping Amma happy while catching real feelings for Nayim.

But life—and boys—can be more complicated than Zahra realizes. With her feelings all mixed up, Zahra discovers that sometimes being a good Bengali kid can be a royal pain.

Editor review

1 review
Predictably Cute Story
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
THE LOVE MATCH by Priyanka Taslim brings readers to Paterson, New Jersey where Zahra Khan is trying to figure out what’s next in her life. After her Baba died, she took a job at a local tea shop to help her mother pay the bills, but now that she’s a high school grad, she’s struggling with how to stretch her paycheck enough to include college. Her Amma, however, has other plans to fix their financial woes: marry Zahra off to a rich husband. Amma has her sights on Harun Emon, a young man with new money, but Zahra is falling for her co-worker, who can’t provide for her the way Harun could. In order to please Amma and solve their financial woes, Zahra may have to give up all her dreams at the ripe age of eighteen.

What I really love about this book is that while it’s a heartwarming romance, it simultaneously tackles important themes, such as the loss of a parent, socioeconomic disparities, the immigrant experience, the celebration of culture, and the pain and joy of coming of age. For such a sweet story, it has substance, and I appreciate that the ending is more realistic than happily ever after. That being said, even though I don’t generally mind the predictability of this genre, I do wish this book had some more surprise elements. I was able to guess at the plot from the beginning, even though I did still enjoy going on the ride.

The relationships are the strongest feature of this novel. Zahra has such a beautiful, tight-knit group of friends, and I appreciate how they show up for one another. Taslim does a great job at making each friend feel as though they’re living their own lives when not on the page. The familial relationships are also precious, as is the love triangle. This trope is most successful when it’s tough to choose between both options, and in this case, it is! That being said, the pacing of the story gets in the way of a truly satisfying ending. The novel has a slower start with heavy exposition, and then once we get into the romances, they fall in love fast, and the resolution is rushed. For instance, a bigger payoff in the final chapters would’ve been to see how Zahra sorts out her romantic options and feel her emotions in those moments, instead of being told about what happened after the fact. Perhaps, a quicker beginning would’ve allowed space for that at the end, as well as stronger development in the middle.

Overall, THE LOVE MATCH is a predictably cute story, perfect to curl up with on a free afternoon.
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