I just learned that Sandhya Menon will have a new book coming out soon, called From Twinkle, With Love.
And I just saw this tweet about the making of the photograph on the back of When Dimple Met Rishi (I hope this displays properly...):
Dimple Shah has a plan: she's going to attend Insomnia Con and win the grand prize with her app idea, and then she's going to go to Stanford and become an amazing web developer like her idol, Jenny Lindt. She has no desire to get married, despite her parents' wish that she find herself the Ideal Indian Husband.
Rishi Patel is looking forward to meeting his future wife, Dimple Shah, at Insomnia Con. Both his parents and her parents think it's a good match, and Rishi is a devoted son who genuinely likes the idea of an arranged marriage. He has romantic visions of his marriage working out just as wonderfully as his parents' marriage. Sure, his mom beat his dad with an umbrella when they first met because he'd taken her seat on the bus, but they'd eventually fallen in love. Unfortunately, what Rishi doesn't realize is that no one has told Dimple about him.
Oh, this was lovely. So cute and fun.
The scene pictured on the back of the book (at least on my hardcover copy) really does happen. It's Dimple and Rishi's first meeting. Rishi, overly excited about meeting Dimple and thinking she already knew who he was and that he'd be at Insomnia Con too, introduced himself by saying "Hello, future wife. I can't wait to get started on the rest of our lives!" (25) Dimple responded by flinging her iced coffee at him.
Things went better than I expected after that. Rather than being angry at Rishi, Dimple was more upset at her parents for arranging a marriage for her behind her back. She was sympathetic towards Rishi - she saw him as another victim of her parents' decision not to tell her what was going on.
For the most part, Dimple and Rishi were great together and balanced each other out pretty well. They got along amazingly well considering their first meeting, and although Rishi wasn't as into web development as Dimple was, he worked hard on their project because he knew it was important to her. He also kept Dimple from immersing herself so much in her work that she forgot to enjoy herself.
Rishi loved being around Dimple and seeing her excitement as she worked on her app. If I had one complaint about him, it was that, when he first started hanging out with her, it felt a little like he was waiting for an opportunity to convince her to be his future wife. However, that gradually changed into him just wanting to be around her.
It would have been nice to have seen Dimple and Rishi interacting with a greater number of decent Insomnia Con attendees. Unfortunately, most of their on-page interactions were with attendees who said gross things to Dimple or who were otherwise rude. Celia, Dimple's new friend and roommate, became friends with that group, not realizing how horrible they'd been to Dimple, and I was worried she'd morph into Dimple's enemy, leaving Dimple with no friends except Rishi. Thankfully that wasn't the case.
There was a bit more drama near the end than I expected, and I had some issues with the way one particular thing Dimple did was resolved. She had good intentions but acted without Rishi's consent, and when he found out about it and things blew up, she had the gall to call him a coward. I felt that things went a bit too smoothly and easily for her at the end. That said, this was an excellent book overall and just as fun as the cover made it look.
The book references a few Bollywood movies, which I wrote down in the hope that I could then give them a go via Netflix. The only one mentioned that I'd seen was Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, which I wholeheartedly recommend. Unfortunately, it's no longer in Netflix's catalog, at least in the US. In fact, it looks like the only movie mentioned in the book that's still available is Krrsh.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)
This book was really interesting on so many different levels. I loved the different view on arranged marriage, something you are not used to reading in YA books.
Dimple is an amazing character, she has strong opinions and she knows what she wants in life. The problem is, what she wants is sometimes the exact opposite of what her parents want for her. We are not always sure if it is what she really wants or if she does it only to contradict her parents. Dimple is American but her parents are from India and have a lot of traditions and values that Dimple does not always share. She is independent and she does not want to depend on her Indian husband that her parents would choose for her. She is not interested in getting married and wants to pursue her career. The problem is, she does not understand that both are compatible.
Rishi is the exact opposite of Dimple. He is the older child and wants to please his parents at all cost. He really sees his culture as important and wants to follow his parents’ traditions. Getting married with an Indian girl (chosen by his parents) is important for him. The problem is that he does not always think about what he really wants and put his interests aside. Having a great job to provide for his future family is important for him and he does not want to pursue his passion in comics because it is not a “real job”.
So, you can imagine what is going to happen when Dimple met Rishi… And I will let you discover for yourself :)
A really beautiful love and friendship story with interesting complex characters and some really interesting insights on sexism and racism as well. You also get to learn more about Indian culture which is a culture I’m not familiar with at all, and I’m really glad for it. I definitely recommend this book!