Tuesday, May 30, 2017

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Release Date -  May 30, 2017
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  380 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

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. 
I love a good rom-com movie. They are the equivalent of a good hug, a cozy blanket on a cold day, and a mid-afternoon nap. They make you happy. They leave you a grinning, happy sighing fool who hums love songs. When Dimple Met Rishi is exactly this in novel format. It's the kind of book that helps you break out of reading slumps, and the perfect novel to read after an emotionally heavy book due to its sheer cuteness.

This novel, at least for me, explored Indian culture (and Indian-American culture) in a way that is seamlessly woven into the story through the characters. It was shown to us through them, rather than being told to us. It made the characters backgrounds read as being something that was part of them instead of the sole thing that defined them. It was important to the story, but it is really just an epic love story at its core. It also, for me, offered the chance to get to learn things about arranged marriages that I wasn't aware of before. It offered a perspective I hadn't had before, and I predict many other readers will feel the same and that makes me excited for others to pick this up so they can have that experience for themselves. However, what |I am most excited for from people being able to read this novel is for those who share the same background as Dimple and Rishi to see themselves in this story.

The themes of falling in love, family pressure, and self doubt are all ones that are universal. Everyone experiences them. It makes the story feel recognizable, which adds to the rom-com feel. It ensures that the reader will fall into the story because we are able to sympathize with both Dimple and Rishi. This is a story that is in no way new, but feels fresh thanks to Sandhya's take on the genre.

The romance is, of course, the focus. The heart of this novel is getting to see Rishi and Dimple fall in love, and work towards being on the same page so they can (hopefully) move forward together. The romance is dependent on who each of the characters are and what they are feeling at the time. Rishi knows that he wants to get married. He is a romantic, and more traditional. Dimple is unsure of what the future holds but she knows what she doesn't want from it - anything that will hold her back from her dreams. It may seem like they are too different for a relationship to work, but they challenge each other. They balance each other out, and bring out the best in one another. This pushing outside of each other's comfort zones is what makes their relationship work so well. There is also plenty of fun banter between the two. I knew I was going to love them as a couple right from their first meeting when Dimple throws her iced coffee on Rishi. It sets the tone for this relationship that is filled with memorable moments.

While the romance is what is going to sell this novel, the secondary stories are just as interesting and well developed. Both Dimple and Rishi have story arcs outside of the romance which add dimension and nuance to their characters. It made them feel more realistic and made the story feel fleshed out. The side characters, such as family and friends, are also given the chance to shine. Care was taken with these characters, even the secondary ones, and that shows through the entire novel.

When Dimple Met Rishi is a cute, smile inducing, rom-com novel that will leave you feeling happier than when you began reading it. Sandhya Menon is a promising new voice in contemporary young adult novels and I cannot wait to see what adorableness she writes next. If you're looking for a perfect summer read I highly recommend this one.

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