August 18, 2020
Blurb: 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.
When I heard Pintip Dunn had a new book coming out in August, I was a nagging Nelly trying to find out if I could get a copy to review. Dunn has been one of the most reliably great writers I’ve encountered since I started blogging. (Yes, hers was one of the first books I reviewed and only about six people ever saw that review.) I was only momentarily taken aback to find that this writer of thrillers and sci-fi had taken on rom-com.
Dating Makes Perfect is another 400 page book that reads like it was a hundred pages. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to put it down. Dunn is as adept at writing rom-com as she is writing thrillers. The family dynamic is extremely heart-warming. I love the closeness of the three sisters, how they really do look out for each other and love each other. Winnie says at one point:
“. . . I will never be insulted by a compliment to my sisters. The competition among us has never amounted to a grain of rice. Their wins are mine and vice versa.”
I love that although their parents are strict, there is so much love there. And, Papa Tech has to be one of my hands down favorite characters of the year. He’s quirky and lovable and unexpected.
The romance between Winnie and Mat is sweet. The two had been best friends as children since their parents were close but experienced a falling out four years ago that they both perceived differently. While sometimes break-ups in YA fiction are given little thought, this one showed an unexpected depth that really points toward Dunn’s plotting. I never feel like anything is taken for granted in her books.
In support of #ownvoices, the reader partakes of an exploration of what it is to be Thai, from relationships to festivals to traditional dress to dancing, and most salivating of all–food. Oh, the descriptions of the food! Warning: do not read if you’re hungry!
Dating Makes Perfect is definitely one of the top YA books I’ve read of the year. If you love YA rom-coms, I think you’ll enjoy this one.
I received (begged for, literally, begged for) an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
5 out of 5 butterflies
Other Pintip Dunn books I’ve reviewed: