Review: Matchmaking For Beginners

By Maddie Dawson

Available on: Amazon, Audible, and Barnes and Noble.

Read as part of the Golden Trio Reading Challenge, “Hogwarts Library”.


Blurb: Blix knows she is ill, knows she is dying. She also knows that her great-nephew’s fiance Marnie is the one to fill her shoes while she goes on to the next adventure. Because it’s not just anyone who can see when people are a perfect match for one another. Marnie is special. She just doesn’t know special she is until she meets Blix.

Trigger Warnings:

Ableism, Bullying, Death, Emotional Abuse, Food, Infidelity, Introversion (Severe), Magic, Poor Coping Mechanisms, Toxic Masculinity

Body Count: 2

The Specs:

  • Genre
    • Technical Genre: Women’s Humorous Fiction, Humorous Literary Fiction, Single Women Fiction
    • Theo Genre: Feminist Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Chick Lit,
  • Page count: 378 pages/3228KB
  • POV: Rotating 1st Person
  • Publication information:
    • Paperback page count:
    • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
    • Language:  English
    • ISBN-13: 9781503901209
    • ASIN: B076CJX3YN

Other Fun Stuff:

To Read or Not To Read (Again):


Rating out of five: 4.0 out of 5

Representation, Morality, and Sexism Tests:

  • Bechdel–Wallace Test
    • Purpose: to establish actual female characters that act independently of male characters in a story.
      • Do two female characters talk about something other than a male character? Yes
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • DuVernay Test:
    • Purpose: to establish characters of color in a story.
      • Are there fully actualized characters of color? Yes
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Ellen Willis Test:
    • Purpose: to show balance in characters regardless of gender.
      • Would two related characters still work to carry the story if their genders were reversed? Yes
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Hays Code Test:
    • Purpose: to ignore outdated and queer-degrading/punishing standards that once were the standard for produced mass media.
    • Part One: outdated moral guidelines
      • Are there any outdated “moral content” rules gloriously kicked in the teeth by this story? Yes
      • Are there people of color allowed a happy ending? Yes
      • Is there an interracial couple? No
      • Is there profanity used at all? Yes
      • Is there one or more homicidal acts and/or murder? No
    • Part Two: queer representation
      • Are there queer characters that get a happy ending? No
      • Is there an illegal or otherwise distasteful age gap between characters, queer or otherwise? No
      • Do the queer characters die tragically, violently, or at all? No
    • Pass or Fail: Half-Pass
  • Mako Mori Test:
    • Purpose: to assure that in the story there is at least one female character independent of a male character’s story.
      • Is there a female character? Yes
      • Does she get her own arc? Yes
      • Does it do anything other than serve to support a man’s story? Yes
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Sexy Lamp Test:
    • Purpose: to assure that a female character in the story serves as an active protagonist, not just a device to be used by the male main character.
      • Would the plot fall apart if the female character was replaced by a sexy looking lamp? Absolutely
    • Post-It Note Caveat:
      • Would the character be able to be replaced by a Sexy Lamp with a sticky note on it for information conveyance? Nope!
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Tauriel Test:
    • Purpose: to help support the existence of competent, independent female characters regardless of a romantic sub-plot.
      • Is there at least one woman in the story? Yes
      • Is this woman competent in her chosen occupation and not immediately shown up by a newcomer male character? Yes
      • If she has or develops a love interest during the story, either implied or explicitly stated, does she suddenly abandon her job and/or chosen path to support or pursue said love interest?  Yes
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Vito Russo Test:
    • Purpose: to establish more characters that are on the SAGA (Sexuality And Gender Acceptance), QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) or LGBTQIAP+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual/Biromantic/Bigender, Transgender, Queer/Genderqueer, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic/Agender, Pansexual/Panromantic, and others not listed here) spectrum.
      • Is there a character on the queer spectrum? No
      • Are they a character beyond their orientation? No
      • Do they actually affect the plot? No
      • Is the character something beyond a punchline? No
    • Pass or Fail: Fail

Overall review:


This was such an interesting read and so much more than I thought it was going to be. I don’t normally find myself flying through first-person reads but I would actually track down and read more of Maddie Dawson’s writings.

There are characters that could so easily be one dimensional that seem fully fleshed out in this story. While you may see certain aspects coming, they won’t happen quite how you expect them to and the pacing, humor, and light given to this story will keep you reading far past bed time just to see what happens. Or, at least, that’s what happened with me.

The story itself was twisty in ways I did not expect. Things didn’t happen in ways I thought they would and the characters grew with surprising but believable speed. Maddie Dawson is a pleasure to read and I will be sure to check out more of her writings.

Was it engaging?


Favorite Character:

Blix, without a doubt.

Review format updated 4 June 2019

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