Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya MenonWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Published by Simon Pulse on May 30, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 380
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
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four-half-stars

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.

When Dimple Met Rishi has been on my radar since the book announcement, and several people have given me the heads up that it was so completely a Christina book. It’s just so nice when a book lives up to the hype that surrounds it. When Dimple Met Rishi has an adorable and atypical ship, beautiful character arcs, and put a smile on my face.

The first couple of chapters were a wee bit shaky, but once Dimple got to InsomniaCon and had her disastrous meet cute with Rishi, I could not put this book down. When they first meet, he tries to be cute and flirty and completely fails, and I laughed so hard. There are some great comedy beats early on, and there’s a really nice undercurrent of banter and humor.

I love both Dimple and Rishi a lot, both separately and together. Dimple’s such a grump. She’s always felt like an outsider: in school, at home, in the US, in India. Her mother wishes she were more into hair and makeup and marriage, and Dimple doesn’t understand why everyone expects her to live her life in ways that don’t suit her. I found her so incredibly relatable, in her judgment and in her anxiety at dealing with people and situations.

Rishi, meanwhile, is a new favorite love interest. He’s such a goober, and he has basically zero game. But he’s also sweet and thoughtful (though sometimes needs to slow his roll a little bit) and loves his parents so much that he’s thrilled to let them arrange a marriage and asks them for dating advice. For all that, he’s not a pushover, and he will take bullies down with wit and superiority.

I absolutely love this ship in so many ways. I’ll be holding When Dimple Met Rishi up as an example of instalove done perfectly. Dimple and Rishi both feel like they’re in love within a couple of weeks of knowing each other. The relationship and feelings develop very quickly, but it all feels very earned; it always helps with instalove when there’s an element of falling in love in spite of themselves (for Dimple more than Rishi, since he’s a mega-marshmallow).

There are a lot of potential big fights that they end up dismissing with good humor because of how well they get each other. Though they’re young and do get caught up in some miscommunication at the end, they work through it after thinking things through. It’s a very healthy and convincing relationship. They also remind me a wee bit of Josh and Lucy from The Hating Game in that they’re both very weird and particular and very much not everyone’s cup of tea, but they fit together so well, the perfect little nerds. Also chemistry like whoaaaaa.

Aside from the romance, Dimple and Rishi both have strong personal arcs about interaction with their parents’ expectations and planning for their futures. Rishi also improves his relationship with his father. Things do unravel in a potentially unbelievably realistic way in terms of their passions (View Spoiler », but I was also glad to have such a thoroughly fluffy book. Besides, that can inspire teens to try their hardest and work towards their passions.

Obviously, I loved both Dimple and Rishi up and down, but the rest of the novel wasn’t quite as strong for me. Though I liked the arcs with both of their families, the parents lacked in characterization, as did the rest of the supporting cast. Celia and Ashish could have been amazing, but most of the time with secondary characters is spent on a melodramatic CW plot with the Aberzombies, which ended up being a bit distracting and stereotypical. The talent show thing especially seemed almost out of Mean Girls.

When Dimple Met Rishi is a phenomenal debut, and seriously just bring on all of the fluffy diverse books pls. If you’ve been looking forward to this one, you were right to be excited.

Favorite Quote:

If you always look like you’re going to bite them, beti , no boys are ever going to want to talk to you. That was kind of the point, though, which is what Mamma didn’t get.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

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2 responses to “Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon”

  1. Ahh I adore the gifs! I’m dying to get my hands on WDMR, I’m glad it lived up to the hype for you! I’m all for more fluffy diverse books too and this sounds super great in a lot of ways. Too bad about the secondary characters but I’d rather that than the leads not being drawn well.
    Morgan @ The Bookish Beagle recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books for the Second Half of 2017My Profile

  2. […] A Reader Of Fictions’ review: “If you’ve been looking forward to this one, you were right to be excited.” […]

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