Matchmaker's List
by Lalli, Sonya

Raina Anand navigates a series of disastrous blind dates in her efforts to balance her tight-knit Indian-immigrant community's traditional expectations with her own ideas of what modern romance is. Original.

Sonya Lalli is a Canadian writer of Indian heritage. She studied law in her hometown of Saskatoon and at Columbia University in New York, and later completed an MA in Creative Writing and Publishing at City, University of London. Sonya has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and loves travel, yoga and cocktail bartending. She lives in Toronto with her husband.

*Starred Review* Straddling the cusp of Western culture and Eastern values is where we find Raina Anand: a successful investment analyst living the single life in Toronto while trying her hardest to please her traditional Indian grandmother. Nani is desperate to see her granddaughter get married and start a family, but Raina's heart is held captive by her first love, who keeps her dangling by a string. As she nears her thirtieth birthday, Raina declares that she's done waiting and is now ready to meet the eligible men on her grandmother's "pre-approved" list, which represents everything her culture tells her she ought to want but that she doesn't have the stomach to live with. The stress of disappointing her family wreaks havoc with her emotions, and when the pressure gets too strong, she hides behind Nani's false assumption that Raina might be gay. At first, Raina's lies buy her some time but not enough to avoid a fight with her best friend, a rift in their conservative community, and a romantic catastrophe with Mr. Right. Lalli's debut is a delightful, multicultural romantic comedy full of humorous banter and loads of life lessons about family, happiness, love, honesty, and acceptance. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

A woman lets her grandmother run her dating life, with disastrous consequences, in Lalli's debut (originally published in the U.K. as The Arrangement). Raina Anand isn't exactly happy that she's 29 and still single—but Raina's grandmother is horrified. In her Indian immigrant community, a single granddaughter is a scandal. And so Raina finally agrees to let her nani set her up with a long list of eligible Indian bachelors, none of whom Raina actually likes. As her best friend, Shay, plans a wedding (that, in a terrible coincidence, is happening on Raina's 30th birthday), the pressure is on for Raina to find a nice man—any nice man—and settle down. But Raina can't let go of the one who got away, a dashing charmer named Dev who broke her heart with his inability to commit. Now that Dev's back in the picture, but just as noncommittal as ever, Raina finds herself unable to stomach the endless list of bachelors. Eager to ease the pressure of being the perfect In dian granddaughter, Raina lets her nani believe she's a lesbian. Now she won't set Raina up with any men—but Raina's little white lie threatens most of her relationships. Should Raina tell the truth even if she risks hurting her nani, her friends, her family, and the man she thinks she might be falling for? Less a romantic comedy than a romantic drama, Lalli's debut deftly explores arranged marriage and Raina's conflicting views of her culture and family. Even as she feels stifled by their expectations and pressure, she loves the strength of her community and how they always support one another through hard times. Raina's desire to both please her family and stand up for herself is deeply relatable, and readers will cheer for her as she learns to take control of her life and make her own decisions. A warm and refreshing look at cultural identity, unexpected romance, and unbreakable family bonds. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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