The Matchmaker’s Playbook

This book is pretty special for several reasons: it’s the first new adult ARC I’ve been sent, and it’s also the first new adult romance I’ve read that has been told entirely from the male’s point of view. The latter made me hesitant at first; it’s no secret that men don’t function and think the same way women do when they’re falling in love…and by that I mean they can be a bit dim and completely deny that they’re in love. I see this very often in dual POV romances: the woman is head over heels and the man is dragging his. However the synopsis looked interesting, and it was my first ever new adult ARC so I had to read it, and I am so, SO glad I did. Rachel Van Dyken has created a beautiful love story that has everything a reader could ask for: humour, romance, angst, heartbreak, and self-discovery. The characters are easy to fall in love with; the chemistry, not only between Ian and Blake, but also between Ian’s friends is flawless.

“So who better to teach women how not to get played than an actual player?” 

The concept of Ian and Lex’s business, Wingmen Inc. is pretty interesting; they embrace their status as players and use it to keep girls from being victimized by their fellow players…I guess it’s their way of saying sorry to all the women they’ve wronged. Either way they’ve created a word of mouth dating service devoted to helping girls get the boys of their dreams; I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t have taken advantage of something like this if it were available at my college.

“How’s it feel?”

“Um, getting my heart broken? Gee, I don’t know, Lex. It kinda tickles, like a feather getting stuck up my ass. What the hell, man, are you serious right now?”

The characters are easy to fall in love with. The chemistry, not only between Ian and Blake, but also between Ian’s friends is flawless. There was no insta-love, the fatal flaw of all romance books, but instead Blake started out feeling the same way about Ian that I did. In the beginning Ian comes across as completely dislikeable—he is cocky, arrogant, full of himself, haughty…I could go on—and this initially puts Blake off, as it should. However when the two of them are thrown together when Blake enlists the help of Wingmen Inc. to get the attention of her longtime crush, David, they begin to realize that maybe they judged each other too quickly at the beginning. Ian and Lex have a hilarious friendship, filled with witty banter and jokes, which really adds a nice layer of comedic relief to the story. I don’t think there is any other fictional friendship that could compete with theirs it’s that great. I keep trying to think of a popular TV bromance to compare it to, but seriously, it’s so brilliant I can’t think of one that holds a candle to it. Maybe Sean and Gus on Psych? That’s the best I can do y’all, guess you’ll just have to read the book! Van Dyken also does a superb job of building the base for the next book, which revolves around Lex and Gabi, both of whom are best friends with Ian and refuse to admit they’re totally in love with each other. But that’s a story for another time (a time that I can’t wait for).

“You’re kind of a pig.”

“Right, but I’m more like one of those cute little pigs, you know, the teacup ones. Still a pig, but you can’t help but want to keep it forever because it’s so damn adorable.”

There’s a nice, slow build-up to the moment Ian and Blake realize they’re feelings for each other, and as a result we get a story filled with laughs (or in my case snorts), a few tears, and a lot of interesting moments. We also get to see these characters grow throughout the story, which isn’t something that always happens unfortunately. I loved Blake because she’s so relatable; she wears what she wants and doesn’t give a care in the world what others think. She’s someone I think every college girl can relate with, a girl who pretty much lives in athletic clothes and exists in a constant state of comfort. Who can blame her? College is tough, why wear uncomfortable clothes? Even when Ian gives her a “makeover” she sticks to her style and merely glams up her athletic gear-filled wardrobe, something most girls have done at some point when you realize you actually do want to catch the attention of that cute boy in your Brit Lit class. Ian goes from being a bitter ex-NFL player, side-lined by an injury, to a guy who realizes a future without football can be just as rewarding and fulfilling as one with an NFL career. He also gets a major attitude adjustment, but without losing his sassy charm, which is a relief.

“Sometimes different is exactly what we need.” 

In short, I LOVED THIS BOOK. I’ve actually already read it twice, it’s that perfect. The Matchmaker’s Playbook was the most unique new adult book I’ve read in a long time, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Rachel Van Dyken has crafted a beautiful start to what promises to be an amazing series, and I cannot wait to read The Matchmaker’s Replacement, which comes out in July!

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