When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dimple struggles to get her mother to understand and accept that she wants more out of life than to just find the Ideal Indian Husband, get married, and have babies. When her parents agree to her request to go to a summer program in web design, she thinks they have finally accepted that she is more interested in a career than marriage. But, unbeknownst to Dimple, her parents have already arranged her betrothal to Rishi, the son of another well-respected Indian family they know, and the two families have arranged for Rishi to attend the same summer program. Rishi knows all about the arrangement, while Dimple does not, which leads to a rocky first meeting.
This book is a fairly typical YA romance, and has a number of things going for it. It is well-written, the characters are well-developed and likeable, it features a strong, independent female character going into a male-dominated field, shows healthy relationships, features characters of an under-represented culture, and is written by an author from that culture. While I did enjoy reading it, I felt is was a bit predictable: girl struggles against parents' "old world" values, the requisite "meet-cute" and girl ends up falling for the very guy she did not want to like, and for that I would knock it down to a 3.75 stars.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a lighter, fairly tame, YA romance. While there is one sex scene, it is not described in graphic detail, and there is no drug use and the main characters do not drink, though there is one reference to minor characters being drunk. While the characters are Indian and some references to Indian clothing, foods, and customs are mentioned, this is certainly a book anyone would enjoy if they typcially enjoy romance. If you like this book, and would be interested in something similar, but a little grittier and more serious, keep your eyes out for Love, Hate & Other Filters
by Samira Ahmed, due out in January.
This appears to be Sandhya Menon's first published book, with a second, From Twinkle, With Love, due out in 2018, and a sequel to this one following Rishi's brother, When Ashish Met Sweetie, due out in 2019. It seems as though the author has a penchant for female characters with overly cutesy names, which is a bit of turn-off to me, and while I enjoyed this book, the similarities in titles makes me wonder if the writing in the next two will be too formulaic and predictable.
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