It was no use. Whatever courage Dara had inside her totally dissipated. In spite of all her best efforts to appear poised, her lower lip fell to the floor. Christopher Steadfast was easily the prettiest man she had ever seen. Dara could not help herself. She fell into the colour of his eyes.

Mr. Perfect on Paper is a laugh-out-loud rom-com that you will want to read again and again. 

The perfect Jewish husband should be:

* A doctor or lawyer (preferably a doctor)

* Baggage-free (no previous marriages, no children)

* And of course—he must be Jewish

As the creator and CEO of the popular Jewish dating app J-Mate, matchmaker Dara Rabinowitz knows the formula for lasting love—at least, for everyone else. When it comes to her own love life, she’s been idling indefinitely. Until her beloved bubbe shares Dara’s checklist for “The Perfect Jewish Husband” on national television and charming news anchor Chris Steadfast proposes they turn Dara’s search into must-see TV.

As a non-Jewish single dad, Chris doesn’t check any of Dara’s boxes. But her hunt for Mr. Perfect is the ratings boost his show desperately needs. If only Chris could ignore his own pesky attraction to Dara—a task much easier said than done when Dara starts questioning if “perfect on paper” can compete with how hard she’s falling for Chris…

I loved Jean’s The Matzah Ball novel, so I knew I wanted to get my hands on her latest book Mr. Perfect on Paper. This book was just so much fun to read! Jean has created a fresh and diverse rom-com that is both entertaining and meaningful. The pace of this story was perfect; there was just the right amount of romance, drama, and humour that made you want to keep reading. Jean also did a fantastic job at introducing her readers to Jewish culture. I loved that I felt like I learnt something when I finished this book. 

The cast of characters in this book is charming and just so darn loveable. Dara’s bubbe and The Challahblack Girls were the highlights of this novel for me. They were just such a hoot, and I felt like they embodied the wonderful “nana” or, in this case, “bubbe” essence that many of us love. I kind of wish Jean would write a little novella about these outrageously fun and fabulous ladies. All the characters’ interactions are witty and entertaining, but at the same time, their conversations have a lot of meaning and depth. It was also wonderful seeing such a diverse cast of characters interact with each other with kindness and understanding.

I love a romance that can make me laugh, and this book has some pretty funny moments. Dara’s dates were the stuff nightmares are made of. They end in complete and utter disaster, and even though I feel terrible for Dara, I really can’t help but laugh at the situation she finds herself in. If you are looking for a romance that will make your heart light up with laughter, you will want to read this book. 

Even though this book has lots of laugh-out-loud moments, there is still plenty of depth to the story. Dara has Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and readers see what it was like for someone to live with this disorder. I just adore that Dara wasn’t ashamed or tried to hide that she had anxiety. Besides Dara trying to find the “one,” this book is also about her finding the courage to live her life. Dara has created this very small and safe world around her. She is content but not truly happy with the life she is living. With encouragement (or a big push) from her bubbe and an unlikely friendship (and eventual romance) with Chris, Dara finds the courage to walk outside of that safety bubble and live her life. 

Chris and Dara are perfect opposites attract couple. Dara has created this perfect guy in her head and, during a drunken night with her sister, has written all the qualities she wants in a man. Dara doesn’t expect bubbe to find the list and read it to the world on national television. Chris does not check off any of the qualities Dara wants in a man, but that doesn’t stop the sparks from flying between these two. The chemistry between these two is evident right from the first meeting. The major hurdle to their relationship is that Chris isn’t Jewish. Dara is devout regarding her faith and knows the backlash she and Chris will face if they get into a relationship. I like that Jean included this aspect of societal prejudice when it comes to intermarriage between different religions. It is refreshing that Jean didn’t approach the issue with rose coloured glasses. She was quite frank about the challenges that Dara and Chris would face. But what I loved the most about their relationship was Chris. He is so kind, understanding, and keeps such an open mind. He listened to Dara regarding her faith, family, and anxiety. He never tried to be this overbearing presence in her life. He really is a fabulous book boyfriend. 

If you are looking for a romance that will fill you with joy and happiness, then you will want to read Mr. Perfect on Paper. 

Thank you, HarperCollins Canada for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.