• The Dating Plan

  • By: Sara Desai
  • Narrated by: Soneela Nankani
  • Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (374 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A Marie Claire Book Club Pick!

Even with a step-by-step plan, these fake fiancés might accidentally fall for each other in this hilarious, heartfelt romantic comedy from the author of The Marriage Game.

Daisy Patel is a software engineer who understands lists and logic better than bosses and boyfriends. With her life all planned out, and no interest in love, the one thing she can't give her family is the marriage they expect. Left with few options, she asks her childhood crush to be her decoy fiancé.

Liam Murphy is a venture capitalist with something to prove. When he learns that his inheritance is contingent on being married, he realizes his best friend's little sister has the perfect solution to his problem. A marriage of convenience will get Daisy's matchmaking relatives off her back and fulfill the terms of his late grandfather's will. If only he hadn't broken her tender teenage heart nine years ago....

Sparks fly when Daisy and Liam go on a series of dates to legitimize their fake relationship. Too late, they realize that very little is convenient about their arrangement. History and chemistry aren't about to follow the rules of this engagement.

©2021 Sara Desai (P)2021 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Romance

Critic Reviews

A LibraryReads pick!

One of:

Buzzfeed's Best Romances of 2021

SheReads’ Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2021

GoodReads Hottest 2021 Romances

Marie Claires Best New Romance Novels of 2021 (So Far)

PopSugar’s Best New Romance Books of March 2021

HelloGiggles’ Best New Books to Read in March

"Outrageously funny, meltingly hot and tender, and wrapped up in heartwarming community, this book will warm you in the best ways. Daisy and Liam are just the kind of sexy joyful magic we need in the world right now." (Sonali Dev, author of Recipe for Persuasion)

"Geek-chic Daisy makes an endearing heroine, and the dysfunctional Murphy family provides believable tension. Desai’s fans will be thrilled to reconnect with the eccentric Patels and new readers will be hooked. This is a gem." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

"A smart, sexy read. If you haven't done so already, prepare to mark Sara Desai as your new fave author!" (Sajni Patel, author of The Trouble with Hating You

What listeners say about The Dating Plan

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Soft porn, anyone?

Oh my god, don't listen to this in a public place/in the car with your kids/while making dinner for your family because wow--those are some pretty graphic sex scenes. And there are several of them. If a little soft porn disguised as chick lit is what you're into, this book is basically a B movie you might watch when everyone else has fallen asleep and there is nothing else on. It's cute, it's entertaining (if not totally predictable from page 1), the characters are fun and narration good but it's nothing ground breaking and while a good sex scene can spice things up, this was seriously overkill. Just make sure to listen with your ear buds!

13 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Absolute Garbage

I agree with another reviewer, this is soft porn disguised as a Bollywood romance.

Soneela Nankani is a global treasure. Her performance is excellent as usual but there is only so much she can do with a book this bad.

Stay away for your sanity!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Light hearted and fun loving.

Such a delightful summer read. Refreshing love story for all ages to enjoy. Go sharks!

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Couldn't finish...

The narration is amazing, that got me to chapter 9. This woman deserves a trophy and a private island for having to read this outloud. What couldn't get me further?
1. This book feels like human fanfiction written by an alien from another planet who sort of knows how humans interact and kind of understands how we speak and emote. This alien has no understanding of inheritance laws or how humans communicate their feelings to one another. And it shows over and over again. People don't act, feel, react correctly and they speak like they're in an art house film. It's, on many occasions, incredibly unnerving and frustrating.
2. The whole plot was useless, as the entire plot would implode if any of these adult characters had a single genuine conversation with a single one of the other adult characters. What's the point of all the scheming anyway, since it seems everything up until the first sex scene was filler for the super sexy part of the book. Erotic fanfiction authored by an alien, written about humans who speak weird, emote weird, are overwhelmingly dramatic and don't react to situations like real humans do. Pass. There's better alien porn out there, I promise. The sex was spooky and a surprise, as I skipped ahead to see what I had to look forward too. I did this three times and each time landed on a sex scene, meaning there's at least three. Pretty yikes, considering the plot had just started by chapter 9 and all we know about these people are they're bad at talking to each other about reality and would rather manipulate for their own gain instead. Sounds... consensual.
3. The characters are problematic, to say the least. Why is the main character dwelling over her senior prom at 27 years old? And why does she care about saving face with an ex boyfriend she never liked? Why does she talk about people like they're disposable and for her use only? Why doesn't she set boundaries with her family to keep from hurting them and herself? Why is she so hostile to someone she hasn't seen in ten years? Why did the author decide to have this man cope with heartbreak by being a serial womanizer and why was that sprinkled in so casually? Like not remembering your last sexual partner's entire name is okay because you're a sad boy? Also, he has no boundaries with his family and let's his brother treat him like trash. He's also still dwelling over a crush he had on a girl 10 years ago but won't talk to her about it, like he isn't a 30-something year old, fully grown man. Hard pass. This plot wouldn't exist if these characters (better yet, the author) chose therapy and self respect.
4. Why are we still writing toxic romances in the future? I'm so tired of reading about narcissists having sex with neurotic women in STEM who talk more about their ample breasts and jiggly asses than science. I could be reading about a badass woman in STEM changing the world and a humble man with a personality and a life passion (like a baker or a veterinarian) helping her do it. It's so exhausting seeing characters abuse one another, manipulate one another, lie and deceive and exhaust every avenue available to them besides basic respect and calling it romance because there's a dash of "his glistening eyes made my heart stutter, him hurting broke me little by little" in there. It's not romantic. It makes me want to file a restraining order against a book.
5. It's not a modern romance just because the main character is smart and in a male dominated field of work. Especially if the entire plot thwarts her lived autonomy to such an extreme she has to marry a man she hates to get her father to stop imposing his will on her dating life. Which is the most over-the-top and ridiculous idea imaginable, considering she could have spoken to him instead.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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This series is so good and narrator is amazing!

Love it - just as good as the first book in the series, and love that the original characters still make appearances! Sara Desai has a fantastic writing style and is such an awesome storyteller. Absolutely love her! I really can't wait for book 3 later this year!

The fake relationship trope is my favourite, and she did it so well here - he needed a wife to save the family business (due to his grandfather's will requirements), and she was willing to take on the role in order to get her match-making Auntie's off her back, because she didn't want to get married anytime soon. Liam was Daisy's childhood crush back in school - her brother's best friend, so what could it hurt? He'd only broken her heart by disappearing and standing her up on her Prom night, and had just now come back, 10 years later. The trials they have to go through to get to the HEA are a great rollercoaster ride!

Soneela Nankani has narrated quite a few books I've listened to recently, and I'm really loving her!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Bollywood movie turned into a book

The book is full of cliches and dramatics like a Bollywood movie. it was okay. Not a great read but not bad if you're looking for over the top romance.

1 person found this helpful

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GOD AWFUL - COULDN'T FINISH

The summary seemed like it would be a light fun romance beach read. It stressed me out with how terrible this is. The plot is shallow and the characters are just atrocious. The protagonist is a woman who could deal with some serious therapy (letting her senior prom still impact her life and go into spirals about it 10 years later? And feeling over the hill at 27?). I see from some other reviews that I probably am missing the book getting even worse should I have proceeded but I'm not even going to try to finish this piece of kindling.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

It’s a fictional romance book…

Exactly what the title says. It’s a fictional romance book. If you’re looking for some deep, well thought out think piece of a book; this isn’t for you.

The story is clichés as all get out. Former nerdy girl shut off from love because some bad boy she pined over as a teen stood her up a decade ago. *eyeroll*

The “bad boy” is some emotionally unintelligent womaniser “martyr” and instead of communicating with the “woman of his dreams” he just leaves. *eyeroll harder*

They cross paths again, she hates him, he still loves her(?) and the story ensues…

Idk where the “soft core porn” comments are coming from. There are sex scenes and I definitely wasn’t expecting that, but they’re not as horrific as other reviewers were making them out to be — but they were predictable asf.

The only character that didn’t irritate me was Max the dog.

It was a good listen, the narrator did a good job of reading it out loud and it was hard for me to stop listening. But I wasn’t crazy about the plot line at all.

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Meh

It was cute but a bit drawn out and lacked connection. It lacked something and was just ok.

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Sweet, Silly, and Sassy

I loved it, start to finish. were there moments I wanted to throttle the main characters, of course, that just means I was invested in the outcome. It was a good balance of believable and ridiculous.

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  • 10-09-21

Really enjoyed this

So pleased to find a fun romance with an interracial couple where the woman is an Asian/Indian. There are so few of these. Loved the two main characters. They were fully rounded. Daisy and Liam had so much chemistry. Great story, lovely side characters and really related to the extended family of Daisy, with her brood of “Desi aunties“. Only reason I gave the storyline four stars was because it just needed a little tightening here and tweaking there to iron out a few staccato moments. But I enjoyed the plotline in itself. Great job Sarah, please write more interracial couples! Can’t wait for the next one! Forgot to mention, the narration was brilliant! Great choice! I am going to look out for more books by this actress.