The Soulmate Equation

- Christina Lauren


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.



Jessica Davis used to think it was an honest-to-God tragedy that only twenty-six percent of women believed in true love. Of course, that was nearly a decade ago, when she couldn’t imagine what it felt like to be anything but deeply and passionately obsessed with the man who would one day be her ex. Tonight, though, on her third first date in seven years, she was astounded the number was even that high.


enjoyable/easy to read:
If you’re surprised by my rating, I would have to agree with you. With an incredibly strong start, The Soulmate Equation swept me off my feet with imperfect characters and a heavy emphasis on science and maths. It was almost enough to distract me from the blah of the last 25% or so.

I finished The Soulmate Equation on a serious high that crumbled as quickly as Jess’ resolve when faced with adversity. Considering this entire narrative is based on the strength of her character as a single mother, I was left with the opposite impression. I’m all for imperfect characters, but Jess only seems to be able to fight for something she wants once it’s unrealistic for her to do so. She creates bigger hurdles for herself and makes everything seem so difficult when she has a stronger support system than many couples do when raising a child. Not to mention she doesn’t have to worry about housing (living in a building owned by her grandparents), she works remotely and can afford to sit in a cafe every day with her best friend buying endless coffees and muffins and everything in her life is within walking distance. Sounds like a pretty sweet setup to me. Her decision to not prioritise herself, to not focus on dating, and to feel overwhelmed by normal everyday chores and routines was a good place to start, but the lack of growth or even acknowledgement of these issues began to grate with time.

While I can appreciate River’s significant personal development throughout the narrative, it’s almost the opposite problem I have with Jess. Lauren excuses River’s terrible first impression and horrible comments (“entirely average” is a prime example) by… saying he’s shy? In what world is making rude comments about someone’s appearance, ignoring social norms, and acting like an aloof asshole okay because you’re shy? But then, he does a complete 180 and becomes a sweet, emotionally available partner and stepfather with almost no effort. What happened to the shyness? It must have been all the public appearances and interviews in which he was incredibly suave and didn’t act like a jerk that cured him immediately.
I wish it had taken more than a couple of sentences for Jess to forgive River for forgetting about her for a week over a work crisis. He never really acknowledged how his actions affected her and her daughter; he just assumed they’d be waiting for him when he climbed out of his hole in the lab. And Jess shrugs and moves on. Clearly soulmates.
Once again, I think my review makes it sound like I hated The Soulmate Equation when I really found it pretty enjoyable. The DNA dating app was an interesting premise, and while River and Jess could be infuriating, they did have pretty decent chemistry. Lauren’s writing is captivating and I probably enjoyed her side characters even more than her main ones; some fascinating people populate Jess’s life. Juno and her grandparents are fun and supportive, and I’d love a sequel about Fizzy’s dating life. We spent much more time focused on Jess and her life, but the brief glimpse of River’s family and their interactions made me wish we could have spent more time with River’s sisters.

If you’re looking for a unique and science-based romance, The Soulmate Equation is a pretty good, if slightly shallow, option.


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