6/19/17

When Dimple Met Rishi By Sandhya Menon (REVIEW)

 

I can enjoy a young adult novel anytime, but there's something about a YA novel as a summer read that just feels right. They're often lighter reads (at least compared to the political books I frequently pick up), and they're a nice break from the heavier books and text book readings that often fill my time. When Dimple Met Rishi caught my eye because it was not just a YA novel, but it also fit into my desire to read more diverse books. It follows a girl named Dimple, and a boy named Rishi, both children of traditional Indian families living in America. Their parents want their children to be thinking about marriage, despite only being 18. While Rishi wants to satisfy the traditions his family finds so important, Dimple seeks out a life lived on her own terms. She has dreams of making a name for herself as a woman in technology. Dimple does not have dreams that involve domesticity or "finding the Ideal Indian Husband, like her mother seems to see as the most important goal.

When Dimple enrolls at a coding/technology summer camp on a local college campus, what she doesn't know is that she is to meet Rishi, who has been sent to camp with another mission in mind: marrying Dimple. Rishi doesn't seem to mind the idea of the arranged marriage their parents are hoping will happen, but upon meeting Dimple, he is in for a rude awakening.

Dimple wants no part of such archaic traditions and at first loathes Rishi - a stranger who is thrust into her life. Although, as the book progresses, we watch as hate and annoyance, evolves and blossoms into a true, and unexpected romance. Following Dimple and Rishi's journey pulls the reader in deeply as the frustration, love and fascination seem to seep from the pages. We watch as the characters challenge each other to see beyond their assumptions and own personal beliefs, and to really understand the differences between us, and the choices we make, in a way that turns them into better people. Both Dimple and Rishi encourage each other to be better versions of themselves through their love for each other.

There were parts of their story which I found to be predictable - in a way, it follows a romantic formula of sorts - intertwining love and conflict together.  But I wouldn't classify that necessarily as a negative, it's just merely a fact. I think a level of predictability is inevitable if you spend a lot of time in the same genre, just like how I can often guess the suspects on an episode of SVU or NCIS after watching for so many years. ;)

It caught me by surprise in other ways though... like how much the story grabbed me. I will admit that I teared up a few times while reading. Maybe it was my hormones. or maybe it was simply the story - but either way it got me emotional.

Being a diverse book, with diverse characters, there were some times in which I felt a bit confused. Such as when the author wrote in different languages without translation. I suppose in a way, the point of a diverse book is to expose you to different people and cultures, but I feel like some parts of the book were unfortunately lost for me because I did not understand them. It wasn't enough to ruin the story though - but for me, it did cause some snags.

My only other complaint for When Dimple Met Rishi, is that there isn't a sequel. I want to know what happens next in the lives of Dimple and Rishi - whom are left at the end of the book about to start their freshman year in college. The characters pulled me in and I would definitely follow them further. I think that Sandhya Menon did an excellent job at creating a world that envelopes the reader - pulling them into the story entirely. I feel like I am now invested deeply in the success of these characters and would welcome a continuation of the story any time!

I'd love to know your thoughts on When Dimple Met Rishi if you read it - feel free to share them in the comments!


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