The Code for Love and Heartbreak
Published October 6, 2020
About The Code for Love and Heartbreak
From bestselling author Jillian Cantor comes a smart, edgy update of Jane Austen’s beloved classic Emma.
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.
As a contemporary romance, I really enjoyed CODE FOR LOVE AND HEARTBREAK. I tend to like smart heroines, so it was a pretty strong possibility that I’d love Emma going into the book. And it turns out, I totally loved her.
I’m also a pretty big fan of sister relationships, so I loved the relationship between Emma and Izzy. I loved that they were so different from each other and that sometimes that caused sparks to fly and other times, they needed each other in ways that only sisters truly do.
As an update of Jane Austen’s EMMA, though, I have much more mixed feelings. I missed some of the dynamics in some of the relationships. I missed the Miss Bates of Austen’s version, in all her sweet, trying chattiness. I missed the connection between characters– the Westons and Frank (Sam) Churchill, and between Jane and Miss Bates.
In fairness, I don’t know how someone could bring all those relationships and the complexities they add AND tell CODE FOR LOVE AND HEARTBREAK without adding like 100 more pages. Which I probably wouldn’t have minded once I was into the story, but I imagine the average reader might not feel quite the same! Ha.
All in all, I think this is a super cute romance with smart characters and interesting relationships. Fans of friends to lovers or of sister stories will find lots to love here. I think the story will appeal to fans of WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU by Marisa Kanter and TODAY TONIGHT TOMORROW by Rachel Lynn Solomon.
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
Major characters are white. Some minor characters are gay.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used very infrequently.
Couples hold hands. A group of senior class boys who make a bet on who can have sex with an underclass girl first. This behavior is pretty strongly condemned. Kissing between boy and girl.
Emma remembers a party her sister threw that someone brought alcohol to. She hid upstairs and didn’t participate in the party.
Note: I received a free copy of THE CODE FOR LOVE AND HEARTBREAK in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog.
About Jillian Cantor
Jillian Cantor is the author of award-winning and bestselling novels for adults and teens, including In Another Time, The Hours Count, Margot, and The Lost Letter, which was a USA Today bestseller. She has a BA in English from Penn State University and an MFA from the University of Arizona. Cantor lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.