Friday, June 2, 2017

When Dimple Met Rishi ~ Sandhya Menon (earc) review [@smenonbooks @simonteen]

When Dimple Met Rishi
Simon Pulse
May 30, 2017
380 pages
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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.

The first thing to say is that I have no idea if When Dimple Met Rishi is in any way like When Harry Met Sally -- I don't think I have ever actually seen that movie so I wouldn't know. More important, though, is that I didn't even think about the similarity of the titles until I had finished reading the book. Early in the book, there is a story of how Rishi's parents met and the book's title really seemed a great reference to that.

I liked that Dimple was someone different. Not only because there are not a lot of Indian-American main characters in YA, but also because she's a girl who doesn't want to wear makeup, who loves (and is good at) coding. She has things figured out: the Insomnia Con summer program, then to Stanford for the education,,not in hopes of finding her future husband. No matter what her parents might hope.

Which is why Rishi Parel is seemingly so different from her. He appreciates the traditions, he wants to please his parents, and is fine with an arranged marriage.

You just know things aren't going to go well.

What I loved is that (a) no, they do not go well but (b) the author found great ways to keep bringing the characters together. They weren't forced or unbelievable ways but gave readers a chance to learn more about each character and for them to start to get to know each other.

When Dimple Met Rishi does a good job balancing the characters' life at Insomnia Con, and Dimple's desire to win it, to be a successful developer with the relationship between Dimple and Rishi, where they're both coming from, what they want and/or are expecting from it. I liked them trying to find that balance and the conflicts or second guessing it could cause.

There were a handful of places that seemed like inconsistencies; places where the second mention of something didn't line up with (or contracted) the first. Some things were smaller than others but they were enough to pull me out of the story a bit.

I really enjoyed the characters Sandhya Menon created, where they did fit and where they did not what readers or their parents or society would expect of them. The romance was cute but still thoughtful. It takes place on an abbreviated timeline but isn't fluffy or superficial, they are characters you will really come to care about (and not just Dimple and Rishi, either.)

digital review copy received from publisher, via NetGalley

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