Though Rachel and Jacob haven't seen each other since they were kids, their grudge still glows brighter than a menorah. But as they spend more time together, Rachel finds herself drawn to Hanukkah — and Jacob — in a way she never expected. Maybe this holiday of lights will be the spark she needed to set her heart ablaze.
... fabulous ... The cultural aspect of this book is spectacular. Rachel’s Judaism is more than just the typical window dressing of lighting a few candles – we’re shown how her faith affects every aspect of her life, from what she eats to a world view that places family and community central to her identity ... The author also does a great job of showcasing living with a chronic illness...Ms. Meltzer captures with complete credibility the impatience and intolerance of others who don’t understand what being chronically ill means and the frustration and hurt caused when people accuse the sufferer of faking or exaggerating their illness to get out of things they don’t want to do ... And Rachel is, frankly, fabulous ... I loved their romance in spite of the above foibles. The author does such a wonderful job showing us who these people are and why they’re perfect for each other that I found myself rooting for them from the start ... Ms. Mehtzer’s love for Judaism and her real-life experience with myalgic encephalomyelitis help The Matzah Ball to ring with sincere, heartfelt authenticity. I was completely charmed by the story and think readers looking for a poignant, slow burn romance will enjoy it too.
Up close, it’s centered around Judaism and chronic illness. From above, it’s about the universality of love. Melded together they create a story accessible to readers across categories ... Many absurd and sometimes slapstick things happen among the characters—especially the heroine and hero—that bring laughs (or groans) ... All this is carried along by light, clear prose, making Matzah Ball readable and entertaining even while it examines profound questions many people grapple with during their lives ... a holiday second-chance romantic comedy with literary underpinnings told by diverse, often ignored, voices. Something for almost everyone!
In her first novel, Meltzer makes sure that, despite some misunderstandings and hurt feelings, Rachel and Jacob do find their bashert (soulmate) in the glow of the Hanukkah candles. Fans of second-chance and holiday romances will find much to enjoy in this welcome variation on the holiday theme.