The Matzah Ball

by Jean Meltzer

Mira, 2021

Adult Contemporary Romance

Summary: Rachel is the daughter of a rabbi, has a chronic illness, and she has a secret career as a Christmas romance novelist. Jacob, her summer camp archenemy, has come back to New York to throw a huge party called the Matzah Ball Max celebrating Jewish musicians and Hanukkah with a twist. They both have emotional baggage and history between them to resolve but a miracle could bring them together.

Overall this was a lot of fun. Rachel has a complex situation. She has an illness that a bunch of people don’t acknowledge as real. She is also a Jewish girl who loves Christmas and writes under pseudonym so that her community won’t know. She has a complicated relationship with her parents, they love each other but she feels a lot of pressure to be the perfect kid. There’s a lot of scrutiny. Jacob has a complicated situation too. His mom had a chronic illness and his dad abandoned them. Luckily he has a grandmother who cares about him. Individually they have to work stuff out. But they also have to work stuff out with each other because at summer camp they had some miscommunication and other issues but they still have that as adults. There’s a lot that’s funny though. Jacob and Rachel are both into pranks. Also the Matzah Ball is extreme. I love how much food is involved. The romance itself wasn’t as strong as the other elements but I still thought it was cute. I’ll probably put this on some recommendation lists in November or December.

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