Not a lot to say here besides how much I enjoyed this one. It was so good. I thought the chemistry between the two leads was great. I loved the secondary characters. I definitely understood why Dimple was reluctant to tie herself to Rishi after being concerned she would have to give up what she wanted. I loved reading about two Indian Young Adults finding their way right before they set off for college. The only reason why I gave this four stars though is that Menon falls into the YA trap of having the two leads break up for nonsense reasons instead of just talking things through.
Dimple has graduated high school and has gotten her family to agree that she can attend Stanford University. Though her parents (really her mother) wishes she would focus more on getting married and having babies, Dimple is focused on forging a path into the world of coding. She doesn't want to give up her dreams and be bound to anyone right now. When her parents agree that she can go to a prestigious coding camp for part of the summer, she wonders if her family are on the same page with her being able to follow what she wants.
Rishi is happy to be going to a coding camp in order to meet his future wife (guess who). Though he doesn't really care about coding, he thinks it will be a perfect opportunity to get to know her a bit better before they settle down.
So yeah...you can see how this is going to work out. I did laugh at the first meet (it was not good) and I have to push back on the synopsis saying that Rishi is a hopeless romantic. He really isn't. He is for a traditional marriage since he wants to make things easier on his parents and is very respectful. I didn't get hearts and birds singing from him, it was weird to me that he was so gung ho on someone he had not meant. And I am not going to lie, I wasn't thrilled that Rishi didn't really seem to absorb Dimple's objections to a relationship that she kept saying she didn't really want.
That said though, things between these two eventually smooth out and I maybe awwed through most of the book.
Both Dimple and Rishi have dreams, it's just that Rishi is more reluctant to share his.
I loved the secondary characters too. Dimple's roommate Celia Ramirez is awesome. I loved how open she is. Though Dimple sees her as one of the popular people, she realizes that even so-called popular people get peer pressured into things they don't want.
I also really liked Rishi's brother Ashish too. At first I didn't care for him, but he grew on me so much. I would have loved a separate story with him, but honestly you don't need one since I think that Menon resolves his story-line very well.
Dimple's parents are more developed in this one than I found to be Rishi's parents though. And we also get some snooty rich kids who sound awful and also realistic. I think I went to school with one of these characters.
The writing was really good. Menon introduces some things that I was familiar with, but a lot I was not. I was having a really good time looking things up. Each chapter alternates between Dimple and Rishi. It would have been cute to have an epilogue with the parents talking in the end or something.
The flow was really good. No issues there for me.
The setting is San Francisco for most of the story. As someone who has been there, Menon did a good job with describing some parts of it.
I thought the ending (big problem between the love interests) was a bit cliche though.
I really adored the characters of Dimple and Rishi. They have slightly different backgrounds (his family is really wealthy and her family seems to be middle class) but both set of parents are hoping that they hit it off and marry. Getting past the idea that 18 year old teens should betroth themselves to each other, I thought the romance portion of things worked.
I loved the backdrop of Dimple going to a coding event that can set her up if she ends up winning. Rishi was merely there to meet his future wife. Not going to lie, I didn't like Rishi at first. He didn't really seem to hear Dimple's nos about not getting married and wanting more out of life than getting married and having children. I know that things worked out in a happily ever after, but I would not have been down for this relationship if he hadn't done a 180 about things. There is nothing wrong with being traditional, but he really did act like an 80 year old man in an 18 year old's body.
FYI there is a reference to sexual relationships in this one. You don't read about the "events" in question. I did wonder though at the characters moving so fast. The coding event only lasts I think 4 weeks, or was it 6 weeks? Either way, that part didn't ring true to me at all with them having sex and Rishi not assuming that would not mean they were not going to get married. He was the one who was super gung ho about tying himself to Dimple forever.
It just cheered me to read a YA romance novel starring two teens of color whose background was not a Christian religion.