*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: Mr Perfect on Paper
Author: Jean Meltze
Publisher: Mira (HarperCollins)
Publication Date: August 9, 2022
As the creator and CEO of the popular Jewish dating app J-Mate, matchmaker Dara Rabinowitz knows the formula for lasting love—at least, for everyone else. When it comes to her own love life, she’s been idling indefinitely. Until her beloved bubbe shares Dara’s checklist for “The Perfect Jewish Husband” on national television and charming news anchor Chris Steadfast proposes they turn Dara’s search into must-see TV. As a non-Jewish single dad, Chris doesn’t check any of Dara’s boxes. But her hunt for Mr. Perfect is the ratings boost his show desperately needs. If only Chris could ignore his own pesky attraction to Dara—a task much easier said than done when Dara starts questioning if “perfect on paper” can compete with how hard she’s falling for Chris…
What an adorable bit of fluff! Mr Perfect on Paper is the perfect summer read. It’s got romance, comedy, family dynamics, and viral high-profile dating shows. Dara and Chris are both in the spotlight in very different ways. As the founder and CEO of a Jewish dating app, Dara seems like she’s got love all figured out. But who know this leading lady can’t seem to get a romance to stick. As a daytime show host, Chris seems to have everything together. But with his ratings falling and his relationship with his daughter stretched thin after the loss of his wife and partner, things aren’t looking great for him behind the scenes. These two characters instantly connect, but there is one crucial problem: Chris isn’t Jewish. Dara isn’t supposed to fall for someone who doesn’t share her faith. It’s everything to her. But everyone who seems to be the perfect match just doesn’t seem to click. Dara is caught between a rock and a hard place.
Dara is such a realistic character and is probably my favourite part of this story. Her overwhelming anxiety threatens to bring her to collapse at any moment, but her introspection and self-awareness allows her to not only cope with her disorder, but to thrive and reach immense success. She’s so relatable and is a true representation of many women out there today. Her Generalized Anxiety Disorder may sometimes impede her personal life, but professionally, she’s perfect. She’s built an empire out of 3 generations of matchmakers and is committed to helping the Jewish community find true love. She’s quirky and her relationship with her bubbe infuse this story with some silliness and hilarity. It balance out her ongoing struggle so that this story is the perfect blend of serious and fun. It might be a little ridiculous at times, but it heightens the comedic flare.
Further leaning into the comedy, Meltzer leads Dara into a sequence of completely unbelievable blind dates that are equal parts amusing and over-the-top. Dara finds herself in all sorts of raucous situations that are, at times, potentially life-threatening, but in the end, all works out for the best and all characters walk away unscathed. It’s fun and full of adventure. It’s a great story to bring to the cottage or the beach, especially if you’re looking for something that’ll bring a smile to your face. What more could you want?