30 May 2017

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Summary from Goodreads:
A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

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.

I first heard about When Dimple Met Rishi months ago when Preeti Chhibber started talking about an upcoming YA romance novel about two Indian kids at a computer coding camp whose parents have decided to play matchmaker.  That sounded a) adorable as all get-out and b) yaaaas, #ownvoices book about two nerdy kids.  Yes, do want, kthanks.

Would you be surprised if I said that basically anyone who walks into our teen section at the store gets this book handed to them?  You shouldn't be.

Because When Dimple Met Rishi is the most adorable, a-dork-able romance I've read in a long time. There's comics, coding, cosplay, generalized nerdery, and Bollywood. Dimple and Rishi are such great characters who are very smart but also have a lot of life experience to live through, too.  Dimple is extremely angry at her parents for this matchmaking scheme (particularly her mom, since her mom's sole purpose in life seems to get Dimple to be more girly and snag an Ideal Indian Husband); she doesn't have time for a relationship, she's going to focus on her career to develop great apps and software to help people.  Rishi, who is of a more traditional mindset, is determined to be a successful engineer so that he can take care of his parents later on, even if that means depriving himself of a creative outlet that he loves.  I loved the secondary characters of Dimple's roommate Celia and Rishi's brother Ashish. But in and around the central romance plot, there are some really sobering scenes with the local rich douche-bros and some casual racism and sexism; Menon uses these really tough scenes to highlight how hard Dimple has worked and how people like to pigeon-hole brown kids. I loved it - such a good book.

If this book does not make you grin with delight there is no hope for you. Definitely a comp for fans of Fangirl, given the characters' are edging out of teenage years and into adulthood.

(Also, please make this into a movie? It would be the cutest.)

Dear FTC: I received a digital galley of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss.

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