Blog Tour + Reflection: Dating Makes Perfect

8.18.2020


Thank you to Hear Our Voices Book Tours and Entangled Teen for providing me with an advanced reader copy for this book tour.


"If you love them, you have to give them a little credit. Give them the chance to prove you wrong, to show that they've been growing and adapting right alongside us."

In Dating Makes Perfect, Thai-American Orrawin "Winnie" Techavachara struggles to reconcile her Asian immigrant parents' expectations with her own desires. For as long as Winnie can remember, her parents forbade her and her two older twin sisters, Bunny and Ari, from dating in high school. But when the twins return from their first semester of college without romantic interests, Winnie's mom devises a "fake-dating" plan to introduce Winnie to dating etiquette. The high school student is reluctant to participate but worries that saying no would disrupt her parents' perception of her as the "good Asian daughter". To worsen matters, her mother arranges the first fake date with Mat Songsomboon, Winnie's mortal enemy and former childhood best friend. While navigating her first relationship and conversations with her parents, Winnie realizes that being herself allows her to more fully love others.

Dating Makes Perfect celebrates the Asian-American experience. Author Pintip Dunn highlights elements of her Thai culture while exploring the generational differences and life experiences that distinguish first and second-generation Asian-Americans from their parents. Food is central to this celebration: at fake dates and at home, preparing and eating Thai dishes, like Winnie's favorite dessert khanom krok, provide forums for the characters to engage with each other. Dating Makes Perfect's social events also underscore the importance of preserving and sharing Thai culture. In this story, Dunn's lively depiction of the Songkran festival, marks both the start of the Thai New Year and a turning point in Winnie's hate-to-love relationship with Mat. However, although Winnie appreciates her background and her parents' sacrifices, she questions her comfort within her Asian-American identity.

"I'm just a bumbling Thai American, who doesn't belong fully to either world."

Winnie forgoes the opportunity to dance at the Songkran festival to focus on her academics during her senior year of high school. She, in a passage too familiar to many Asian-American teens, muses that many of her American classmates find the cultural food that she brings for lunch "weird". She declares her intentions to major in economics rather than her true passion, art, as she grapples with fulfilling her idea of her parents' American dream.

While engaging with these inner conflicts, Winnie turns to her older sisters for advice. The bonds between the Tech sisters are the most developed relationships in the story. The girls remind each other that they do not need to adhere to certain standards or be alone to make her parents, and herself, proud.

"My sisters may cast a long shadow, but it's not necessarily a bad thing for me to linger in their shade. I don't have to hide there. Instead, I can seek refuge...I am that much closer to the person I want to be...the girl who can stand on her own-- but who understands that it's much more effective, heartening, and fun to stand with her sisters."

The twins are the catalyst for the most satisfying part of Dating Makes Perfect: Winnie's self-realization, when she recognizes that she can be her own personality and still be proudly Thai-American.

Ultimately, however, Dating Makes Perfect is a romance novel, and Winnie's developing relationship with Mat is, accordingly, the novel's focal point. Awkward interactions and even another love interest initially separate the pair, but readers will want to root for their success after the first fifteen chapters. Nods to To All the Boys I've Loved Before and Crazy Rich Asians acknowledge the book's purpose: to be the adorable, tumultuous, feel-good teen romance story that Thai-Americans deserve to be represented in, too. I can't wait for the young readers that find themselves in Winnie.

About the author


I’m a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. I graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B., and received my J.D. at Yale Law School.

My novel FORGET TOMORROW won the 2016 RWA RITA® for Best First Book, and SEIZE TODAY won the 2018 RITA for Best Young Adult Romance. In addition, my books have been translated into four languages, and they have been nominated for the following awards: the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire; the Japanese Sakura Medal; the MASL Truman Award; the Tome Society It list; the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award; and a Kirkus Reviews Best Indie Book of the Year. My other novels include REMEMBER YESTERDAY, THE DARKEST LIE, GIRL ON THE VERGE, STAR-CROSSED, and MALICE.


7 comments :

  1. This was so well written! I loved how you summed up Winnie's internal struggle with her identity and it's definitely something I wished could have been explored more! I also adored the Tech sisters' relationship so much 💕

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  2. I just marked this book on my tbr. It definitely seems like something I would be interested in! I am such a fan of contemporary books that feature sisterly relationships. I think this book will definitely satisfy that for me and also give me some great cute moments.

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  3. I loved reading your review, Claire! I added this book to my tbr after seeing all the positive, gushing reviews (and that lovely cover, I can't lie about that, haha.) I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed it and I can't wait to experience this cute, entertaining romance. :)

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