Cover Image: The Mismatch

The Mismatch

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Member Reviews

I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of the characters in a book I assumed was a rom com.  Soraya is tired of being the quiet, obedient Muslim girl.  Her family came to England to find more opportunity, especially as Neda, her mom was accepted into a graduate program.  Soraya hooks up with Magnus, a popular rugby player known to break hearts.  Soraya and Marcus find somethings in common that are disturbing, and the discussion of alcoholism and drug addiction’s impact on a family adds to the story.  Reading the book emphasized how being Muslim and following strict rules can be daunting in a modern era.  Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. I recommend especially if you like multicultural story lines.
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The Mismatch by author Sara Jafari is the perfect unlikely romance for the fall 2021 reading season. Featuring a charming rugby player, a love-weary university student, and loads of witty banter, I adored The Mismatch.
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The Mismatch tells the story of a young second generation Iranian-British woman who has just graduated from university. Without a plan or direction, she struggles with being a "Good Muslim Girl," knowing what's next for her life, and with her desire for a relationship despite wanting to maintain her virginity. She begins an unlikely relationship with her handsome former classmate. On the surface, her former classmate is popular and the life of the party; however their relationship becomes more than she expects when she begins to genuinely fall for him. This book vividly captures the feeling of being in your mid to late 20s and not quite knowing what to do next and constantly comparing yourself to your friends. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants a book halfway between Normal People by Sally Rooney and a romantic comedy. However, it is much lighter on the comedy than one might expect.
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3 Stars. I have a lot of complicated feelings about this book, which is why this review took so long. I feel like if this book had been marked as a romance but as a straight contemporary my expectations would have been better met.

I will start with the good... I loved Soraya and Magnus together, I thought they had great chemistry and the awkwardness of their early relationship felt very real. 

However, I didn't really care for the flashback portion of this book. I didn't really care about the mother and older sister's story and those storylines didn't really feel like they fit with the present-day storyline. 

If you are expecting a straight-up romance then I think this is not the book for you but if you are interested in a contemporary novel with a lot more emotional drama then you might like this. Overall, this book was a miss for me. 

Thank you to the publisher, Netgalley, and the author for the ebook to review
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I honestly thought The Mismatch will be about a love story. Soon after I started reading the book, I realized I was mistaken but happily surprised at the storyline as it went on. The Mismatch is a story about Soraya, a British-Iranian Muslim girl, and her journey of adulthood and understanding herself, family, and first love.

Soraya was told to be a good Muslim girl ever since she was little. To her, it meant no dating, no drinking, no talking back to parents, no talking about family business outside, etc. Especially the no dating / no boy rule comes with a heavy consequence from her dad threatening to kill her. I feel like these are the typical rules in the Asian household (for girls), and they are ridiculously unfair.

These "rules" do not apply to her brother Amir whereas both Soraya and Parvin have to follow these. Reading about Neda, Soraya's mom, had me realize that the same rules are also applied to Neda and her husband Hossein. To me, it was unfair, exhausting, and suffocating to follow these rules when my own brother is exempt from the consequences.

Even with these rules, Soraya falls for her first love, Magnus. He couldn't be more different than Soraya, but somehow the opposites attract. From this relationship, she learns to love herself, to face her family, to pursue her dream of becoming an artist. 

As I was raised as a good Catholic girl, I was able to relate to Soraya from the beginning. Her Muslim guilt and feeling like she's never good enough for anyone and anything are both what I felt being in late teens and early 20's. I think growing up under strict parents causes children to struggle in their teenage and adulthood where you are not completely sure of yourself and figuring yourself out. At least, that is how I and Soraya both felt. 

Throughout the book, I often felt the heavy tug in my stomach whenever the unfairness and injustice came up. I wish I was in the book to tell these people off! We as Asians are always told to save our face; this results in not asking for help when you need one. In a way, you are stuck inside your body because you have no one turn into for help; you bottle up until you explode. It made me happy that eventually both Soraya and Neda were able to speak up for themselves and find their inner peace. I know that took a long journey to get there, and I hope they are living in a new, happy life. I loved this book so much! 

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for giving me an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Firstly, this is not a story about Soraya and Magnus. This is a story about Soraya and her mother Neda, and navigating complicated family relationships, religion, and sex.

I don’t think I could categorize this story as a romance. So I feel a bit misled since this book is nothing like the summary it’s given. The real mismatch is how this book is being marketed. It’s a bit of a disservice to this complex story to categorize it as a romance.

I had a hard time getting into this one. It was a bit of a rough read, and I knew if I put it down, that I probably wouldn’t pick it back up again.

With so many various heavy topics from addiction to infidelity to racism, I really think this book may have taken on more than it needed to. The bouncing back and forth between Soraya and Neda’s perspectives was just too much, they each had their own sets of problems and by the end it kind of felt like a pile on of bad things happening. 

The romance in the book takes the backseat to everything else that is going on. What little bits there were in it weren’t developed in a way that felt believable or authentic. And honestly, the book could have done without it entirely.

I was genuinely really intrigued about this book, and was excited to read it. I really wish I could rate this higher. And while it thought provoking and complex, it lacked the finesse to effectively handle such heavy topics.
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A strong debut. A multicultural romance that is a genre mashup of women's fiction and romcom. I was pleasantly surprised when the book addressed more than just the romantic developments.
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Have you ever not wanted to introduce your practically perfect boyfriend to your family? In The Mismatch by Sara Jafari, Soraya is trying to keep her new boyfriend a secret from her family.

Soraya is originally from Brighton, England. She currently resides in London. Her parents emigrated from Iran many years ago. Soraya liked having freedom to do as she pleased while living away from her parents. She doesn’t want to move back home and live under her parents rules.

Soraya meets a handsome British man named Magnus. She doesn’t think he’ll be interested in her romantically or in general because of who she is – a British-Iranian Muslim woman. However, he is interested in her. Soraya is beginning to learn that is just as easy for her to stereotype someone as it is for others to have preconceived notions about her. Magnus isn’t exactly who she expects him to be. On the outside, they don’t seem like a good match but that’s not what matters.

Although Soraya has graduated from college, dating Magnus would be difficult to explain to her family since he isn’t Muslim. The reader learns that Soraya has an older sister who became pregnant out of wedlock by her non-Muslim boyfriend. The father makes the family cut off all ties to the sister and her baby.

The father is a piece of work. First of all, he is a drug addict. Secondly, he is abusive in many ways. The mother finally has enough of his shenanigans and begins to do things her way, whether he likes it or not. The father takes a trip to Iran and hopefully he stays away from the family for awhile. The mother regrets all of the time that she has lost with the sister and grandchild. If I were her, I would definitely trade my husband in so I could spend time with my child.

The relationship between Soraya and Magnus takes the usual romantic comedy twists and turns. They fall in love and then they have a falling out. During the falling out, Soraya starts to write and talk about her family life with people. So she’s making some progress in life on her own terms. Will she get back together with Magnus? Does she even need a boyfriend?

If you enjoy romantic novels with a bit of drama, then you will probably enjoy The Mismatch.

If you are like the jerk face father in the book, then you might not enjoy the book. Is jerk face one word or two?

Anyway, don’t be afraid to put The Mismatch on your TBR list.

I received this ebook from NetGalley. All opinions are my own. Obviously
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This was an impressive book. The story-telling going between the mother character, Neda, and her youngest daughter, Soraya; was inspired. Their views from growing up in Iran vs. the U.K. and how they see their lives and family situation was an interesting comparison through the story. I found the characters to be well formed and grounded in the story. Learning about the different customs/beliefs; if even only peripherally, of this Iranian-Islamic family was very interesting. The author wrote in a way that brought the characters to life. I could feel Soraya's feelings and some times those of her mother. It connects the reader to the characters and I needed to keep reading to see where they were going to go. I found myself routing for Soraya to conquer her fears and anxiety. This is such a well-written story that spans decades; from 1970's Iran to 2014/2015 England. It touches on the fall of the Shah of Iran and the Iran-Iraq war and the reign of the Ayatollah Khomeini and the plight of Iranians living in Iran and those who were able to leave and living in the U.K.. In my humble opinion; this is an excellent book.
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I really enjoyed this book. I've read some negative reviews but they appear to be about this genre. If you like rom-coms then I think you will find this book to be charming and the characters likable.
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This book was so good! What immediately drew me in was the cultural representation but honestly, there is so much to love. This is a multicultural romance that sheds light on a lot of societal issues. It was such an intriguing read and was worth taking the time to process! 9/10 definitely recommend reading!
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This was similar to another book I had recently read only this time it’s coming from a women’s perspective.
Premise
Now that Soraya Nazari has graduated from university, she thinks it’s time to get some of the life experience she feels she’s lacking, partly due to her strict upbringing—and Magnus Evans seems like the perfect way to get it.
 I loved Sorayas character and how she is determined to gain some of the life experiences she has been missing due to her strict cultural upbringing and Magnus was a huge part of that as well. I love that he was British as I tend to enjoy romances ect with a British heroine. What I loved most was how he helped her on her journey and how at the end of the day she respects where she came from but knows that pursuing her own dreams and life path is most important.
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Thought-provoking and heartfelt, this book delivers when it comes to an exploration of family, culture, religion, and self-discovery. It was well written and an enjoyable read.
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"Now, her future lay ahead of her, with no plan, no time line of what was to come, and she realized she was falling facefirst, ungracefully, into adulthood."

I'm not sure I would categorize this book as a romance because it limits the scope and focus of all this book is. It's a poignant look at the transition from college to "adulthood," such that that means anything. It's nerve-wracking, overwhelming, and portrayed with astute detail here.  British-Iranian Soraya is our protagonist. We join her as she struggles with finding a job and a passion (separate but related questions), feels crushed by family secrets and expectations, and experiments with her first romantic relationship. The story also draws attention to racist and xenophobic experiences and sexist encounters that bombard Soraya's journey.

In terms of the romance, I appreciated the acknowledgment of pre-dating stress and the feeling you need to hit certain landmarks. Soraya and I are motivated by different things, but I appreciated the similar anxieties around not fitting the commonly expected dating mold. While I think there's a burgeoning conversation among millennials about how unhealthy it is to compare milestones with others, I often feel dating expectations are still somewhat assumed. On the other hand, I'm with Soraya's friends that I still wasn't completely Team Magnus by the end of the book. There are still some unresolved red flags with him that I would ideally want addressed. I felt the author skimmed through the relationship for overall effect rather than building up ooey-gooey romantic feelings in the readers. That's part of the reason that I think this works more as a general fiction piece.

Another layer of the story is the background chapters following Soraya's mother Neda, starting in 1970s Tehran. It builds up intrigue by contrasting a bright, young academic and romantic finding her future husband to a future where she can't stand him. There's also the specter of Soraya's older sister Laleh in the 1990s. Cut off from the family under secretive circumstances, her absence is mysterious and lingering, suspicious and upsetting.

 We do get a lot of Soraya's thoughts and struggles with internalized guilt and shame, and I think those portions were striking. It covers weighty topics from anxiety to the ramifications of domestic abuse and addiction in the family. There were many quotes I highlighted for their insightfulness so I could consider them again in future.
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Made it about 15% in and just could not get into the style of the book or the story. I was confused about who was narrating at any point in time. I usually enjoy books with two narrators but I struggled with this one.
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I went into this one expecting a straight-up romance but this book is so much more than that! It dives deep into family dynamics, societal expectations, and I learned a lot about the expectations put on Muslim women. And, we get a love story alongside that. 

Soraya and Magnus meet at their college graduation and begin a relationship. Despite being 21, she has never been kissed so she sees Magnus, a lady's man, as an easy way to get past this milestone. The story alternates between Soraya in the present day in London and her mother 37 years earlier as she falls in love with Soraya's father in Iran and the complications that develop in their relationship. 

Soraya carries a lot of guilt and questions about what it means to be a modern Muslim woman. Her family has taught her certain things, and she wrestles with them as she begins to fall in love with Magnus (a complete lad and white). The dynamic between Magnus and Soraya reminded me of Marianne and Connell in Normal People. 

I absolutely loved this book! I'll definitely be recommending this one and adding it to my list of recent favorites.
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This was a much heavier read than what I was expecting. There isn't anything inherently wrong with that - it was more of myself and my expectations of what the story was going to be about. This is definitely more of a contemporary read than a romance, although it does have romantic aspects. I had intended to read this story on my kindle but decided that the audiobook would better serve for me to absorb the story. And that is exactly what happened.

This story was so intense and I was shocked by some of the things that happened. The plotlines seemed to blur together when it came to the different timelines. Intergenerational immigrant trauma is so real and this put it plainly into the book. I think the author did a spectacular job with it. It was important for those real and upsetting feelings to not be overlooked. There are so many displaced families who find it difficult to understand the cultural differences. Sara Jafari did an amazing job with it - seriously. 

Sometimes Soraya came off a bit annoying or entitled, but I think it was important for us to understand that her character grew up in the age of feminism. It just added really nicely to the story.
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The Mismatch by Sara Jafari is a coming-of-age story that deals with some difficult topics.  Soraya Nazari has never been kissed; and now that she's graduated from college, she'd like to change that.  However, her upbringing makes her very cautious.  This book did such an amazing job of discussing tough topics, and I really enjoyed it.  Jafari helped me see things from a different point of view, and I always appreciate learning new perspectives.  Thanks to NetGalley for the free digital review copy.  All opinions are my own.
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The Mismatch

3/5 Stars

The Mismatch features the story of Soraya and Magnus - two students in their last year of university waiting to figure out what comes next.

Soraya comes from a strict Iranian upbringing and has struggled as a child of an addict. Magnus, also a child of a parent with addiction, is able to relate and empathize with Soraya’s experience.

What starts as a quick romance on Soraya’s part to gain experience quickly becomes something more as the two find that they share a lot more than similar experiences.

The Mismatch was okay, often heavy and hard to get into. While it dealt with many poignant and timely issues - addiction, strict parenting, aimlessness after graduation - it didn’t really feel like it did them justice by giving them the time they deserved. It often times felt like the parental characters and behavior were dangerously abusives and served to glamorize an unhealthy relationship between Magnus and Soraya
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I loved this book, I thought it was a really interesting and heartfelt mixture between lit-fic and romance. I felt so much for Soraya and really connected with her worries and struggles, while also learning a lot about her culture through her story and her mother's story as well. I highly recommend!
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