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 soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands. At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98% 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 soulmate. 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 soulmate–than she thought.
“Statistics can’t tell us what will happen, they can only tell us what might happen.”The Soulmate Equation, Christina Lauren
I’ve been a huge sucker for Christina Lauren’s previous works, so I was excited to know that they had a new romance novel that I was positive I would enjoy. Coupled with the fact that this book was all about online dating using genetics got me even more interested because I have a Biology degree and I mostly specialized in genetics and cell biology, so this was totally up to my alley. I’m so glad that I did not ended up disappointed.
The Soulmate Equation is about Jess and her daughter Juno, and how she was perfectly managing the stress of being a freelance statistician and a single mother until she was having a very awful day and decided to send out her sample to the newest online dating app that uses a person’s DNA to find compatible matches, maybe even their “soulmate”. Very much to her surprise, she ended up being matched to the stoic Dr. River Pena who she sees frequently at the coffee shop where she and her bestfriend hangs out everyday, and that River is one of the co-founders of this new dating app.
A huge bowl of lovable and quirky characters
A Christina Lauren novel is never without its loveable and quirky main characters, and this book had them. Everyone was very engaging from the very start, and I loved following them along in everything. Jess is such an amazing character. I immediately love her from the very first chapter, and admire so much for her patience, hard work ethics, loyalty, and deep love for her family and closest friends. And her relationship dynamics with Juno, her grandparents, and her bestfriend Fizzy was such a ride, and I craved all these interactions a lot! Personally, I didn’t really like River at the beginning, but slowly warmed up to him as I got to uncover his personality along the way. While he was the stereotypical hard and brooding scientist/CEO, there was a softer side to him that explained his exterior.
Let’s talk about Romance
This novel had the fondly loved romance tropes, such as fake dating, enemies to lovers, opposites attract, but those tropes weren’t stamped out permanently in the story, but helped enhanced it further. I did find the attraction and romance between Jess and River was a bit slower than what I was used to with other CL books, but I didn’t mind it since I always did prefer a slow but intense romantic relationship between my main characters. It also helped that both parties are deeply tied to their family and work, so both have to be considered in their relationship. I loved the blossoming of their relationship throughout the book, but I actually really enjoyed their tender and domestic moments more, especially the ones involving Juno. The major conflict of this book, however unexpected, was a bit underwhelming for me. I do understand that it makes a certain impact to both characters’ lives, but I was just expecting something a bit more. Even the Great Grand Gesture part was just okay. Nothing too crazy or grand, but I think it was made to be done like that because of Juno’s well-being was always going to be placed first.
Feeding my STEM-loving brain
The most absolute thing I love about this book (aside from the romance, of course) was the discussions on genetics and statistics, as these were the main characters’ line of work and both subjects work hand in hand. It was very heavy on STEM-related topics, so I was easily able to understand and picture how all it proceeds and work. While I know how to do DNA analyses, read gene codes and picture data graphs with ease, I could understand how it would be very overwhelming to readers who aren’t familiar with this aspect of the book. I can’t really say what other people might perceive of it, but towards my end, I really enjoyed it. I even love how both Jess and River completely loves their work, and I could perfectly picture their passion towards it. Nothing makes me happier to see more fervent science nerds geeking out and eventually falling in love.
This book has a totally different take on the “soulmates” and online dating plot line, and I highly enjoyed it from beginning to end. It was fun, very quick and easy to read, and obviously swoon-worthy, but full of very tender moments that I’m sure anyone would love.
About The Author
Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced seventeen New York Times bestselling novels. Their books have been translated into 30+ languages. (Some of these books have kissing. Some of these books have A LOT of kissing.)