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. Until now. 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 PerfectFeatured
Just like her sisters before her, Winnie isn’t allowed to date in high school. With strict Thai parents, she’s always been a rule follower. Then her mom changes her mind, deciding Winnie needs practice with boys before going out into the real world. Enter Mat, son of her parents best friend and Winnie’s sworn enemy/ex-friend. They hate each other.
But the only thing stronger than hate is love.
What I loved: pretty much every cultural aspect. Asian representation in romance is sorely lacking and Winnie being Thai adds an element of depth to the story. It’s a huge part of her identity, making her an entirely lovable character. She’s clumsy and awkward but kind and endearing. The arguments with Mat are funny and full of chemistry. These two are so good together that from the very first fake date, you want them to end up together.
Despite being first person, the writing style manages not to be overly young or annoying. It flows super well and doesn’t rely on inner monologue to let the reader know what Winnie is thinking.
What left me wanting more:
There’s not a ton or originality. The story felt like it’s been done many times over - yet this one is better than similar books in the genre.
There were some drama moments that made Winnie seem younger than she was, but they were always fixed quickly and don’t leave the reader guessing for too long.
An engaging story with a rich cultural element and the kind of chemistry great romances are made of.
Although this may sound odd, Winnie is willing to play along to get to a place where she can date and go to prom with a boy- something previously forbidden. The biggest problem is her mother's choice for the boy she will go on these practice dates with- Mat. Mat and Winnie were best friends all throughout their childhood until they became enemies in middle school. They have pretty successfully hated each other since. However, once they start spending time together, they are able to air out the events that led to their animosity and nothing is quite so simple.
What I loved: Winnie, Mat, and Winnie's family are all fully developed characters, and I loved every single one of them. I also appreciated the perspectives of Thai culture that are sprinkled throughout with the celebrations, foods, and views on relationships. But I also appreciated that Winnie's parents and sisters approach everything with a lot of love.
The book is filled with funny moments and all the fun of the enemies-to-lovers and fake-dating tropes that made this a total delight. The relationship builds at an absolutely perfect pace, and I loved the inclusion and focus on consent at every step (nothing more than kisses here, but even those deserve consent). I really cheered for Mat and Winnie along the way, and I was definitely shrieking with joy by the end. This book is a true delight to read.
Final verdict: An absolute pleasure of a romantic comedy, DATING MAKES PERFECT should be on all the lists. Prepare to laugh, sigh, and cheer for this delightful read!