“A holiday romance author desperate to find inspiration for her next book reluctantly reaches out to her former summer camp nemesis.

Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is Jewish, but she’s keeping a secret from her whole family: She’s obsessed with Christmas, and not just in terms of wanting to collect every Santa figurine in existence. She’s been writing Christmas romance novels under a pen name, creating worlds where happy endings are possible. But when her publisher says it’s time for a change—and they want a Hanukkah romance instead—Rachel panics, then finds herself leaning on the last person she ever expected to ask for help. Jacob Greenberg, Rachel’s childhood crush and No. 1 enemy from Jewish summer camp, may have broken her heart all those years ago, but his company is hosting the biggest social event of the holiday season, and Rachel’s certain she can find the inspiration she needs for her next book at the Matzah Ball. Volunteering to assist in the week leading up to the event is a way of securing herself a ticket, but she’s not anticipating how seeing Jacob again will remind her of all her old feelings, especially when she’s also shoving down the truth of her chronic fatigue syndrome so she can work hard to save her writing contract. Meltzer’s debut romance is a reminder of the genre’s ability to tell a wide variety of stories from different perspectives—it presents Rachel’s lived experience with religion and chronic illness while being wrapped in the most comforting of familiar tropes. Every subject is handled with care, from the main characters’ Judaism to the heroine’s chronic (and often seemingly invisible) illness, and the end result is a very satisfying addition to the holiday romance subgenre that will be enjoyed at any time of year.

A sparkling holiday romance told with both honesty and heart.” – Kirkus

THE MATZAH BALL will be publishing in the US from MIRA (HarperCollins) on September 28, 2021.

Jean is represented by Carolyn Forde and Marilyn Biderman.