YA Review: WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI by Sandhya Menon

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Title: WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI

Author: Sandhya Menon

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

My Review:

A fast paced story about a hate-to-love romance full of humor that takes a deeper look into the lighter side of arranged marriages and relationships in desi culture.

The book follows Dimple and Rishi, two eighteen-year-old Indian-Americans set up by their parents to meet each other the summer after highschool before their arranged marriage. Even though the two have their differences and might not want to accept their parents’ plans, they slowly find themselves falling for each other as they spend a summer together.

I love how Sandhya Menon creates such relatable independent girl characters and adorable soft boy characters. Dimple is a kick-ass girl in stem, which already makes her amazing and easy to fall for when reading. And her being Desi (almost)without the presence of overprotective parents? LOVED it! Rishi is just as much loveable. He respects his parents and his culture and Dimple and I’ll perform black magic to bring him into reality. That’s how much I loved the characters.

The story is filled with cute romantic moments. Menon’s classic clumsy-fall scenes are always something to swoon at. There was equal humor and tension that it kept me turning the pages until the end even though I knew it was going to end happy. And the way Dimple’s parents came around to support her as all parents do in Menon’s books, was truly heartwarming.

One thing that upset me a little was how there was barely anything about the coding. It’s a book set in a coding camp, Dimple’s life revolve around coding, yet the book was about everything but coding. Even the talent show seemed to be more important than that. The mention of coding camp and Dimple being in stem excited me and I was hoping to see some more of Dimple and Rishi actually making the app. Sure I didn’t hope to read about the two spend the entire book coding to create the app, but this book could be about a dancing competition instead of coding and you would barely notice the difference.

The level of allonormativity in the book was a bit… cringe. I know it’s a romance book but the whole ‘romantic love is the true happiness’ and ‘life without romantic love is meaningless’ narrative was a little too strong in this one.

Overall, I related to the book on so many levels from the MCs being desi to their choices of accepting and denying their parents’ expectations of them. This is a must read for all fans of cute healthy romance and anyone looking for positive rep of arranged marriages.

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