Published On: July 13, 2017/May 30, 2017
Published By: Hodder & Staughton
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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.
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
This book sounded like the perfect summer read. Two teens brought together by an arranged marriage of sorts, trying to dislike each other to spite their parents but that ultimately proving difficult. Everyone has been looking forward to reading the story of Dimple and Rishi, there was so much hype and very high expectations, myself included. Unfortunately this didn't meet my expectations and I was left a little disappointed. It was cute and fun as I had expected but just not enough, it fell flat for me.
With such a spotlight on diversity in books this year especially, I think much of the hype surrounding this book was due to the Indian American main characters and the fact that this story very much involved their culture. This was a large part of my attraction to this book and for me this was covered so well. I really loved all the discussions about their culture. I loved the little cultural references, the discussions about their parents and family members lives in India, I found it all so interesting. This was my favourite part of the book but more so because of how it was done. This book was diverse, but not in the way that focused on the difficulties of being, in this case, an Indian-American teen, it was just a cute story about two teens falling in love. I think we need more diverse books like this, that don't focus on how a person is "different" or the difficulties of being part of a minority, which of course are important topics too, but just deal with universal topics like first love or a fun summer with someone other than a white, heterosexual, cisgender protagonist.
The main characters, Dimple and Rishi, as can be seen from the title, were very much the main focus of this book. There was no crazy plot just some pretty great characters. Or at least great sounding characters. I think I liked the idea of Dimple more than the character herself. I was so excited to be reading about a female main character with a passion for something other than the typical singing, dancing, art, etc., but rather coding and app development. However, I ended up finding her a bit irritating and frustrating. I found myself wanting to scream at her through the pages (or rather through my kindle) because of the things she was doing and choices she was making.
While I may not have been the biggest fan of Dimple, I liked her relationship with Rishi. I thought the arranged marriage kind of scenario was really interesting but wish it had been more of a plot point instead of just being used to introduce the characters. I think I would have enjoyed just more of that storyline. I really liked Dimple and Rishi together, I thought they were an adorable couple and I loved how they supported each other. They had a very healthy relationship, which is great to portray in young adult books, but I did feel the relationship moved a bit too fast for my liking and it started to feel a little like insta-love.
Obviously from the title you can gather that this is Dimple and Rishi's love story and that is obviously the main focus. However, family also plays a big part in this story. I loved the importance of family within the story and to our main characters. Though they didn't always have the best relationships with their family members, I think it was very important that they were still talking on the phone with parents despite being away from home. This makes a difference from the usual perpetually absent parents in a lot of YA novels.
There are some really good aspects to this book but the biggest let down for me was the lack of talk about the actual camp they were attending. This coding summer program seemed like such a great setting but it was hardly mentioned, they could have been anywhere. I was waiting for great scenes of them creating their app together or at least something related to the whole reason they were together in the first place. However, for some reason this incredibly random talent show became a major plot point. I did not understand how a talent show was in any way related to creating an app or how winning said talent show would make you more likely to win the overall program. I liked that Bollywood dancing was featured and I liked that it allowed for Rishi's brother to become more involved in the story, but I saw absolutely no relevance in relation to the rest of the story and it did take up a large chunk of the book. I just didn't understand it.
Overall, I enjoyed the cute summer love story aspect of the book but it didn't meet my expectations. All of the aspects I was excited about, such as the arrange marriage plotline, the main character with a passion for coding, or them creating an app, just fell flat and I was left a little disappointed. I would definitely read more from Sandhya Menon in the future but I didn't fall in love with this book like I hoped I would.