Book Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

To start off this review, here are some actual reactions from me while reading:

“Oh, Rishi. You have no idea.”

“Can I just keep reading instead of going to work?? Is that something I can do?”

“Can’t handle the cuteness!”

dimplerishiTitle: When Dimple Met Rishi

Author: Sandhya Menon

Publication: May 30, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

I really don’t even know where to start with this book! It’s been one of my most anticipated reads since the moment I found out about it, and then I was lucky enough to win an ARC of it in a giveaway on Twitter. The excitement was real!

When Dimple Met Rishi is an own voices, young adult contemporary that follows the story of Dimple, a fierce, driven young girl who is ready to start her life after graduating high school. Those plans do not include finding her Mamma’s idea of the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Despite that, Dimple feels she’s made progress with them when they agree on letting her attend a summer program for web developers. There she meets Rishi, at first glance he couldn’t be more opposite of her. He’s a hopeless romantic, driven by practicality and Indian tradition. He’s all for attending the same summer program as his future wife. The thing about love is, it’s unexpected and unexplainable.

“Are you afraid that you don’t belong here? Or that you do?” –Sandhya Menon, When Dimple Met Rishi

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. It has everything you could want a cute contemporary, perfect for summer, to have. Plus it was a romantic comedy and it was HILARIOUS.

When Dimple Met Rishi is told through the alternating perspectives of Dimple and Rishi. And they are both so lovable and relatable. Dimple is fierce, she knows what she wants and will stop at nothing to get it. I related to her a lot because I have the same fears and I get anxious about a lot of the same things as her. She won’t let anything stand in the way of her and her dreams. She’s the kind of role model we need teens to have. Rishi is traditional and “hopeless romantic” might be an understatement. He is everything I expected him to be and yet surprises me around every corner. I related to him also, because being the older sibling has had a huge impact on his life. He is kind and understanding, and the exact opposite of a stereotypical rich kid. He’s unapologetically himself, and he’s not afraid to stand up for the people he loves. I’m pretty sure he’s made it onto my list of favorite male characters.

It’s not every day in young adult literature that you get good representations of family and friendships between girls, and When Dimple Met Rishi had both. Dimple may not always see eye to eye with her family, but I could feel the love between them while reading. No matter what, they will always love each other. Rishi constantly shows how much his parents mean to him, and the lengths he will go to to make them happy. I really like the first born, second born dynamic between Rishi and his younger brother Ashish because it reminded me a lot of my sister and me. And then there’s the friendship between Dimple and Celia, which I found to be an excellent representation of friendship between girls. Every time I thought it was going to turn to girl hate, it didn’t. I loved that. They were there for each other and genuinely good friends from beginning to end, they had their differences of course, but what real friendships don’t have rough patches?

“I feel like an Indian American here, and when I’m in India, like just an Indian. I see them both as equal and valid for me.” –Sandhya Menon, When Dimple Met Rishi

Because this book follows two Indian-American protagonists who are the children of immigrants, I cannot speak on the representation but would like to point out that it’s an own voices novel and I’ll link some reviews I’ve seen from Indian reviewers! That being said, I love the insights into Indian culture and tradition, and how it’s a completely different take on arranged marriages than I’ve ever seen before in books. This book is important, with many important themes and dialogues.

Now we come to why I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5. It is beyond important and I think Sandhya has created a book that needs to be out there and it needs to be read. But there was quite a bit of use of ableist language throughout the entire book, it really could have used different wording in many places. Also, just the writing, in general, could have been brushed up on. I found a few plot holes that stood out to me, and also with the alternating points of view in 3rd person, sometimes Dimple and Rishi’s perspectives blended together. I’m not sure if that was purposeful, but I think it would have been interesting to read it where their perspectives were in 1st person. There are ways to use 3rd person to bring the audience into the story more deeply than in 1st person, but I don’t think that was achieved here. More than anything, the story being told in 3rd person perspectives brought me out of the heads of the characters rather than pulled me in.

“Like his heart was wrapped in microwaved Nutella.” –Sandhya Menon, When Dimple Met Rishi

All that being said, I definitely recommend this book! It’s so important. Below you’ll find some reviews from Indian reviewers that could speak on the representation in the book. Thank you for reading!

Mana’s Review

Aaron’s Review

Ivy Book Bindings (She isn’t Indian, but she’s South Asian American and I really liked her review)

 

 

30 Days of Writing Prompts: Day Five

A little information before I get into my actual story.

This idea was created by Ali from HardbackHoarder on YouTube. She’s posting a prompt every day to get her, and anyone who participates, creative juices flowing. I found it to be such a fantastic idea. I think it will help get us all in shape for the crazy month that is the National Novel Writing Month. You may even find inspiration for dialogue, characters, or plots within these prompts! Anything can happen.

You can find more information at these links:

30 Days of Writing Prompts Announcement

30 Days of Writing Prompts Blog Post 

Day Five: Include these three things: A campfire, lightning bugs, and a note.

This prompt was found at OTP Prompts

The summer breeze blew through the trees that surrounded the small campsite. It’s not really a campsite, at least not one people knew about or that could be found on a map. Jada had found it years before Sam came into her life.

Sam wished, for the thousandth time, that she’s met her long before she had. They would’ve had more time.

The fire she built was minuscule and flickered threateningly in the wind. A small part of her hoped it’d go out.

She stood and put her hands in her pockets, feeling the crinkle of the smooth paper under her fingers. Her fists clenched to keep from trembling. With her back to the fire and she could see the flashes of light flying in and out of the trees.

Jada loved this place and Sam could never understand why though they’d been here plenty of times. How could the beauty of nature possibly compare to the beauty of Jada?

Before the incident the answer was simple: it couldn’t. But now she could see how alike Jada and the nature surrounding her were. Like the lightning bugs, she was a light in the darkness calling to Sam, flickering with warmth like the fire. Jada was the tree’s that surrounded and protected her, and the hesitant but strong breeze of the night.

This is where she could feel Jada. She couldn’t feel her in the small cemetery behind the run-down church. How could she?

Here’s where her memories of Jada lived, where she would hold them forever. Locked away.

Sam pulled the crumpled paper from her pocket almost harshly. Cursing herself for being so weak. She wished she were as strong as Jada was.

Sammy Sam,

It’s your birthday! Yay! You’re not my underage nugget anymore! You’re my of age nugget. I’m not sure why I’m writing this note because I’ll probably never give it to you. I’ve never been good at writing…you know that. I’d much rather tell you everything in person, but you mentioned the other day how cute and romantic you think hand written notes are.

Only for you.

You know how much I love you, I know you do. You tell me all the time that my feelings for you are loud and clear. Which makes sense…I think in general I’m a loud and clear person. But I never want to stop reminding you.

You deserve the world, Sam. I intend to be the one to give it to you. Every single day for the rest of our lives. Until there’s nothing else I could possibly give you, of myself or the world. You’ll have it all.

My heart is your heart. Your happiness is my purpose.

Yours forever until infinite,

Jay

The tears weren’t coming. Sam wanted them to come, she wanted the satisfaction of feeling her sorrow leave her drop by drop. Streaking down her face. The sorrow wasn’t leaving.

It never will.

Jada was more than the love of her life. She was her best friend, confidant, protector, supporter, happiness, soulmate, and so much more that could never be replaced.

Anger rose in her, quick and relentless. It was stolen from her, all of it. Her life, love, happiness. Jada was taken from her as quickly as an eagle dives for a field mouse and just as unforgiving.

She lifted the note, ready to rip it down the middle. She wanted to throw it in the fire, yell and scream. Punch the trees and stomp the ground.

A single lightning bug stops her. A single tiny, flickering lightning bug settled on the note.

Her anger vanished just as quickly as it appeared and all she could do was smile at the soul she felt was within that tiny life.

She smiled at the memories this place held for her. She smiled at her love, at her life. She smiled at Jada’s strength until the very end. At that moment she made a silent promise.

Only for you, Jada. I will continue living.