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MR. PERFECT ON PAPER by Jean Meltzer

From the author of The Matzah Ball comes a pitch-perfect romcom following a third-generation Jewish matchmaker who unwittingly finds her own search for love thrust into the spotlight…

The perfect Jewish husband should be:
* A doctor or lawyer (preferably a doctor)
* Baggage-free (no previous marriages, no children)
* And of course—he must be Jewish

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…

Title : Mr. Perfect on Paper
Author : Jean Meltzer
Format : ARC
Page Count : 288
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : MIRA
Release Date : August 9, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 

Hollis’ 2 star review

Even though I made it through to the end, I think I gave up on the spirit of this book right around the 40% mark. Because while I enjoyed the start, and learning about the lead character’s faith, their family’s history of matchmaking, when we finally got to the supposedly “com” portion of this romcom, I was immediately checked out.

The series of dates Dara goes on, all curated by the non-Jewish man she’s obviously going to end up with, had these mishaps that were completely ridiculous to the point of incredulity. Worse, we’re meant to believe the whole situation made Dara, a multimillionaire creator of a dating app, relatable as opposed to instantly meme’d and mocked. Sure sure, have you even seen the internet?

Also, while I appreciated the conversation around her generalized anxiety disorder, I swear we heard the same spiel about it three or four times in quick succession. Less tell, more show, please. But even worse than that, Dara had these really unreasonable reactions to her terrible dates (maybe not after all of them, but I swear it happened more than once) where she blamed these bizarre situations on Chris, the man bending over backwards to set things up — sure, there’s something in it for him, don’t get me wrong, but still. Brutal.

But she wasn’t the only one to have bizarre seemingly out-of-character reactions, Chris did, too. Showing odd moments of snappish behaviour or temper during situations that didn’t deserve said reactions to begin with. It really took me out of the story because it almost felt like the author didn’t actually know her characters.

However, the real thing that sold the deal? When, for reasons I won’t get into, these two almost kiss, Dara is immediately introduced to someone else and she just.. drops Chris like a hot potato, flirting and carrying on with someone else, right in front of him. Sure, she’s still believing him to be a non-viable option but it was gross to watch.

Honestly, beyond feeling empathy for Dara’s anxiety, I didn’t like her all. Chris was easier to like, with his charming persona that had, much like Dara’s professional mien, hidden depths and a tragic backstory — but even he couldn’t save this. He just helped to make it less painful.

I know nailing comedic beats and humour is very hard, and also subjective, but I’m a pretty easy to entertain human and this just wasn’t it. But to have the romance fail, too? What else is left.

Sadly, I’m not sure I would read from this author again, and I definitely can’t recommend.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

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