By Christina Lauren
“Biological compatibility is independent of whether or not we like each other.” A horrified laugh ripped out of her. “Is that the company slogan or your best pickup line?”
This was a very light high concept pleasant romance. Jess is a single mother who earns a pretty good living as a freelance accountant. She is burdened with a profligate drug addict for a mother who comes and goes from her life, buoyed by her grandparents who raised her, a great girlfriend, Fizzy, and a wonderful young daughter. Every morning she and Fizzy go to their local coffee shop with their laptops to do some work and have some coffee. Also every morning an attractive yet unpleasant man also visits to get coffee. Jess does not like him from the get-go, so of course, he is the love interest. River Pena is a founder of a new genetic technology that matches singles together scientifically based on their DNA. When Jess is talked into giving it a try, she is matched with the unlikable Dr. Pena himself with the highest compatibility score in the history of GeneticALLY, inc. which is about ready to go public. What a great opportunity to boost their IPO and garner some free publicity that would make their venture millions and millions of dollars! Jess isn’t all that interested for some strange reason so to encourage her to go along with it, they will pay her $10,000 per month to publicly date him until they go public and they have their huge payday.
Most of the rest of the book is about their falling in love with a few glitches in the form of her disaster of a mother and a health crisis with her beloved Nana. Lots of descriptions of “electric touches”, “vibrating hums,” and “traitorous zings.” The main crisis is towards the end where Jess discovers (thanks to her genius with numbers, data, and statistics) that they were not a “Diamond” match after all. The Raw data was tampered with! I loved that Christina Lauren did not gloss over the mathematics and the statistics of Jess’s detective work. She goes into math and data deep dives throughout the whole book. I thought it was very respectful of her readership. Was River involved in the fraudulent results? Will their love survive without the validation that they are scientifically made for each other? Will the company be ruined? Is River’s life’s work meaningless? Will Juno win first place in her school science fair? Some of these questions are answered at the end. It’s a happy ending if you don’t analyze it too closely.
As soon as Jess breaks the news to him, he’s out the door and ghosts her for over a week. He never replies to her texts and phone calls including at least one professing her love. He only comes back (and I don’t regard this as a spoiler, because really?) after he does the work involved in repairing the potential damage to his company, and his life’s work is validated. Here’s the spoiler:
Jess’s one essential question was “Did River need a particular score to be sure about her?”. And the thing is that he only came back after he knew they still had a Diamond score, though not as high as everyone thought. Of course, he said he would have come back anyway but we only have his word for that. Jess says she didn’t need to know the actual number, she loved him regardless. But River had to know, apparently. Jess and River’s public love story was one of the reasons that the IPO is projected to be so high and that River will be a gazillionaire. They never publicly disclose that all the publicity they got, including The Today Show and People Magazine no less, was based on deceit. He specifically states that it will not be disclosed, despite her qualms. I may be missing something, but I had a problem with that.**end spoiler**
The overall concept was interesting, and the writing was good. It doesn’t get a real high rating from me because I was never moved to laughter or tears. There were some amusing passages and some developments that should have brought the drama and emotions, but just didn’t. **3 stars out of 5**
June 10, 2021