Monday, November 13, 2017

[Review] When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 380
Source: Bought
Genre: YA {Contemporary}

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

My Rating
5/5 stars
My thoughts

2017 has been a glorious melting pot of POC (People of Colour) and #ownvoices YA releases and I am so okay with that! One of the more iconic books of the year is When Dimple Met Rishi - it seemed as though everyone and their cats were reading it! And I knew I would adore it too, but I'll admit I felt reluctant to delve into it at first: after all, you can only ever experience a book for the first time once. It took me HALF A YEAR to finally pick this one up. Insanity! I don't think I could have loved When Dimple Met Rishi any more than I did! This one is definitely a keeper!

First, can I just talk about the book cover? The front is nice enough, I like the general composition of it: the title placement really does it for me. But the back? The back is absolute perfection! One look. That's all it took for me to know for sure that I knew I wanted the hardcover of this book, and not the paperback. Because it is just about the best thing ever! I still to this day fantasise about throwing my drink at a guy, which might be a weird and slightly twisted fantasy to have, but yeah. And this image just fills me with pure glee! Haha! Let's move on, shall we?

When Dimple Met Rishi is what the title implies: an Indian-teenage twist on the classic hit romantic-comedy film When Harry Met Sally (I'm not sure if there are many similarities, never watched that movie). Written in third person dual-perspective. Dimple is pretty plain, preferring instead to use her brain. Coding is her passion, and despite her mother's protests, she would much rather follow her dream career in Jenny Lindt's footsteps than be matched up with her I.I.H. (Ideal Indian Husband). So imagine her surprise when her parents allow her to enrol for Insomnia Con, a summer program for programmers in San Francisco! And there she meets Rishi . . . 

I adored Dimple and Rishi in all their nerdiness, it was so enjoyable to read their interactions with one another and see how they grow and change throughout the story. The characters are in this just-after-high-school period, which is perhaps my sweet spot for YA, and I don't think there is nearly enough of it out there. Menon perfectly captures those feelings of restlessness and uncertainty that arises after high school. All the characters in this book, particularly our Dimple and Rishi, struggle with choosing their own paths. I'm sure many readers will be able to relate to their experiences here, as I certainly did. I'm glad that not only did Dimple and Rishi have passions, but Menon made me believe in their passionsShe has written her characters with so much realism I would not be surprised if she had actually heavily based them on people she had known.

What made When Dimple Met Rishi a shining success for me was the balance of cuteness, memorable/funny moments, attraction, chemistry and clever dialogue during the progression of their relationship. But not only that: I found myself enjoying and caring for the secondary characters as well! I adored Rishi's little brother, Ashish, and I just wanted to be friends with Celia, Dimple's more adventurous and outspoken room mate! I also appreciated the strong undercurrent parental presence for the narrative.

Yay for POC/#ownvoices stories! It all just worked for me. I normally favour stories written in first person perspective, but in this case I think the third person writing style helped to add more perspective and a different feel to it. And this book was beautiful! So many gorgeous passages and expressive, descriptive writing. Menon has quickly become a must-read author for me in the future and I will be anxiously awaiting the release of When Ashish Met Sweetie (a companion novel following Ashish)!


First lines:
"Dimple couldn't stop smiling. It was like two invisible puppeteers, standing stage left and stage right, were yanking on strings to lift up the corners of her mouth.
"Dimple groaned and clutched her head, feeling like that ancient pressure cooker Mamma still used when she made idli cakes. She was sure there was an actual chance she would explode. There was no way she and Mamma were related: they may as well have been two entirely different species. 'Seriously? That's what you think I should be relegating my brain space to? Looking nice? Like, if I don't make the effort to look beautiful, my entire existence is nullified? Nothing else matters - not my intellect, not my personality or my accomplishments; my hopes and dreams mean nothing if I'm not wearing eyeliner?' (6)
"He was different from what she'd expected. Rich but not showy about it. Goofy and easygoing, but with a backbone. Utterly sure of himself in a really comfortable way. There was something about people who were that secure; they made you feel better about yourself, like they accepted you for everything you were, imperfections and all. (121)
"'I don't know how I can explain it . . . it's just this need inside me. I guess I just feel it stronger than most people our age. I feel like I need to speak out, because if no one speaks out, if no one says, This is me, this is what I believe in, and this is why I'm different, and this is why that's okay, then what's the point? What's the point of living in this beautiful, great melting pot where everyone can dare to be anything they want to be?' (143)
"He became someone else, stripped down, unself-conscious, unaware. She'd seen what his soul was made of. And she'd liked it. (167)
"She looked . . . peaceful there, the sunset making her black hair grow with red, like she was holding lava inside her instead of blood. Rishi smiled to himself. The fire she had, that passion? Yeah, he could definitely see her being born with lava in her veins. (216) 
"He leaned in and kissed her temple. 'Tujme rab dikhta hai,' he whispered, an over-the-top line from the movie their song came from. It meant I see God in you. He watched her smile and roll her eyes. And then he said, 'I love you.' (308) 

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INTERNATIONAL: Abe BooksBook Depository | Wordery

I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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