Emma Woodhouse is a genius at math, but clueless about people. After all, people are unreliable. They let you down—just like Emma’s sister, Izzy, did this year, when she moved to California for college. But numbers…those you can count on. (No pun intended.)
Emma’s senior year is going to be all about numbers, and seeing how far they can take her. When she and George, her Coding Club co-president, are tasked with brainstorming a new project, The Code for Love is born—a matchmaking app that goes far beyond swiping, using algorithms to calculate compatibility. George disapproves of Emma’s idea, accusing her of meddling in people’s lives. But all the happy new couples at school are proof that the app works. At least at first.
Emma’s code is flawless. So why is it that perfectly matched couples start breaking up, the wrong people keep falling for each other and her own feelings defy any algorithm? Emma thought math could solve everything. But there’s nothing more complex—or unpredictable—than love
The Code for Love and Heartbreak is a clever modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s classic, “Emma,” with a somewhat nerdy twist. I loved the premise of this story in which a somewhat socially awkward number/data-focused girl creates a dating app along with her coding club in order to win the national championship. The app is programmed to use algorithms to find a person’s perfect romantic match, and, according to Emma, the math is always right. So given that we’re delving into the realm of human emotions and feelings, it’s not surprising that all sorts of drama and hijinks ensue, and of course, things go horribly wrong.
This was such a cute and lighthearted young adult contemporary. The characters were incredibly well-developed and complex. It was especially fun delving into Emma’s head as she failed to understand why some of the matches weren’t working as she anticipated — or when she learns that some people were using her app for nefarious purposes. It was also fun to watch her have to deal with suddenly becoming popular overnight.
It’s always refreshing to see realistic characters in stories, especially stories about high school. From the moment I met Emma and started to feel the pressure that she was under to succeed and get into Stanford, I immediately formed a bond with her, flawed and stubborn though she was. She grows so much throughout this story, even though it takes place over only a couple of weeks as she begins to understand that feelings and relationships may not be as quantifiable with math as she thought.
Though the book’s plot was more or less predictable, the story was endearing and a joy to read. The friends-to-lovers theme also helped, as this is a trope that I typically enjoy. I liked how the love story aspect fell into place as certain realizations were attained (coupled with an enormous romantic gesture). All in all, I found this to be a delightful and endearing young adult romance with lovable characters and an engaging storyline.
A huge thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a review copy of this book.
The book goes on sale October 6 but is available now for preorder.