Summary: 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.
Review: The summary had me immediately. Do I love fake dating stories? Yes. I’ll admit it. Enemies forced together? Yes. That too. There are lots of rom-com formulas here, but they’re so fun. One reason there are so many is that Orrawin’s mom is planning the dating practice and based on rom-coms she and her husband have watched. You’ll see nods to Always Be My Maybe, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Pretty Woman, When Harry Met Sally and many more.
In addition to rom-com references, there are so many mentions of food. So, so many. You do not want to be hungry when you read this. That would be pure torture. Orrawin, also known as Winnie, loves food and focuses on it quite a bit. She’s not particularly interested in cooking, but certainly makes a point to appreciate everything that finds it’s way onto her plate. Food is also one way to win her heart. Seeing all of the mouth-watering descriptions may inspire readers to head to the kitchen or nearest Thai restaurant. Sometimes authors or readers create an audio playlist for a novel, this one is calling out for an accompanying cookbook.
Besides a serious appreciation for food, Winnie is also an artist and spends a lot of time sketching Mat so she can shoot Nerf darts at his annoyingly attractive image. Winnie made me smile so many times with her goofiness. She also has the ability to find joy in small things like a skirt featuring the heads of cats or tights decorated with hedgehogs, which is also endearing.
As a child of immigrants, she is walking the tightrope of trying to find her way without disappointing her parents. Her family and her Thai culture are extremely important to her. This is how she gets all mixed up with the fake dating scenario though. She doesn’t think she can fully be herself and still keep everyone happy. There are plenty of cringe-worthy moments as she struggles to find her way. There are also sweet, fumbly, romantic scenes too.
Recommendation: Get it soon especially if you’re looking for something to make your heart a little lighter. Winnie shines brightly and her story is just the thing if you’re wanting or needing a distraction.