The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because they’re not asked. Not because they’re not interested. Not even because no one can pronounce their long, Thai last name—hence the shortened, awkward moniker. But simply because they’re not allowed.
In a move that other Asian American girls know all too well, six months after the older Tech twins got to college, their parents asked, “Why aren’t you engaged yet?” The sisters retaliated by vowing that they won’t marry for ten (maybe even twenty!) years, not until they’ve had lots of the dating practice that they didn’t get in high school.
In a shocking war on the status quo, her parents now insist that their youngest daughter, Orrawin (aka “Winnie”), must practice fake dating in high school. Under their watchful eyes, of course—and organized based on their favorite rom-coms. ’Cause that won’t end in disaster.
The first candidate? The son of their longtime friends, Mat Songsomboon—arrogant, infuriating, and way too good-looking. Winnie’s known him since they were toddlers throwing sticky rice balls at each other. And her parents love him.
If only he weren’t her sworn enemy.
Dating Makes Perfect was the perfect enemies to lovers romance that I’ve been searching for. It follows Winnie who’s parents rule of not dating in high school backfired on them with their oldest girls. To make sure they get an engagement right away from Winnie in college they set her up to fake date a Thai boy that they approve of. The only problem is that boy might be Winnie’s sworn enemy.
Winnie was such a fun character to follow. She’s a total klutz, a loving sister, a good Thai girl and the opposite of smooth. While the main plot was romance and fake dating, it was also about Winnie and what it means to be apart of a Thai family. She was so scared of upsetting her parents and trying to be this perfect Thai daughter. We even got to see what it was like for her to be Asian American and unsure how to combine the Thai and American cultures. Luckily she has some amazing people in her life like her best friend and sisters to help her stay true to herself and fight for what she wants.
One of my favorite parts of this book was Winnie’s relationship with her older twin sisters Bunny and Ari. She gets teased a bit for not being as perfect as them or hiding in their shadows but that wasn’t how she viewed it at all and neither did her sisters. They all lifted each other up, helping the others to shine in their own ways. It was such a close knit relationship that was just incredibly positive with no resentment when one was better at something than the other or when the twins were praised more by their parents.
I’m obviously not a Own Voices reviewer so I can’t speak on the Thai representation too much. What I can say is that I loved learning about it through Winnie; from the traditional foods, to Songkran (Thai water festival) and just what was expected of a her culturally. It was really interesting and eye-opening. I’m really glad Dunn shared all of this with us readers and I hope others find the representation they deserve in this book.
Romance was the focal point of this book obviously and who doesn’t love the whole fake dating trope? Plus the fake dates were based off of classic American rom-coms planned by Winnie’s mom. It was the cutest. Oh but the actual boy, the enemy, Matt was a mix of swoon and straight hottie. I liked that I never knew the direction the romance was going and that Winnie had possibilities but that it all cake down to what her mom had planned and then to her fighting for what she wanted. But back to my true love Matt. He was so sweet and I had him dialed in from the first introduction. Boy wasn’t as smooth as he was led to believe but of course naive Winnie had some learning to do which was such a fun journey.
If you’re a fan of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, My Best Friend’s Wedding, When Harry Met Sally or any other rom-com I highly suggest adding this to your TBR. Dating Makes Perfect was the perfect mix of rom-com, sisterly love, Thai culture and the ultimate struggle of trying to figure out what is worth fighting for.