{Book Review} The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer

Posted December 5, 2021 by shooting in Book Review / 11 Comments

The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer

book for review; all opinions are my own

affiliate link above; I get a small % of any sale

Official Summary: Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a shameful secret: she loves Christmas. For a decade she’s hidden her career as a Christmas romance novelist from her family. Her talent has made her a bestseller even as her chronic illness has always kept the kind of love she writes about out of reach.

But when her diversity-conscious publisher insists she write a Hanukkah romance, her well of inspiration suddenly runs dry. Hanukkah’s not magical. It’s not merry. It’s not Christmas. Desperate not to lose her contract, Rachel’s determined to find her muse at the Matzah Ball, a Jewish music celebration on the last night of Hanukkah, even if it means working with her summer camp archenemy–Jacob Greenberg.

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.

Review: Okay, I really wanted to love this one, but it was more of an “okay” read for me than anything. I figured I’d share some pros and cons that I had for The Matzah Ball instead of a traditional review.


  • I really felt for Rachel and her Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, because I get what it’s like to have “invisible illnesses” and how people look at you and think you’re fine.
  • Rachel has a really great best friend in Mickey. I kind of wish we had more of him, to be honest!
  • I loved that Rachel was an author and it was fun getting a little “behind the scenes” of the publishing industry.
  • I thought the idea of The Matzah Ball was fun, and it was really cool to see how it all came together!


  • So much of Rachel and Jacob’s relationship is surrounding miscommunications from when they were kids. I really wanted them to just act like grown ups and TALK!
  • Because they didn’t really clear the air from being kids at camp, they continue to have miscommunications and false ideas about each other.
  • Secondary characters are also hiding things and it would have been so much better if they’d been honest way before they actually do!

A lot of my complaints come from the characters not being more honest with each other. I think it could have been a better book without all of the lies, miscommunications, and secrets. In the end, I gave this one 3 stars. I’d be curious to see what the author does next though as this is her debut!

11 responses to “{Book Review} The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer

  1. I don’t love miscommunication in books either, but to me the relationship took a back seat to it being a Jewish book. I had my issues with it, but it’s so nice to see a book with so much Jewish representation!

  2. This title tis adorable! And I agree – miscommunication as a plot device can so easily be overdone and that’s super frustrating, especially when everything else seems to have been well done.

  3. Jen

    I hear you on the not-talking complaint. Ugh, be adults. I do like the premise though and that covers Holiday traditions that aren’t just about Christmas!

  4. I loved this book. I know miscommunication annoys a lot of readers, but there has to be some sort of conflict, and that doesn’t seem to bug me too much. I agree with the CF depiction. It was well done, and I can’t say I knew all the ways people with CF are affected.

    Sam@WLABB recently posted: Top Ten Tuesday: Not What I Expected

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