Book review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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Dimple Shah just wants to go to a summer coding camp and meet her idol, Jenny Lindt. Her parents want her to put some more effort into her appearance so that she can find the Ideal Indian Husband. When her parents suddenly let up on their crazy demands and actually allow her to attend the program, Dimple thinks that they’re finally starting to see things her way.

Then she gets to the camp and meets Rishi Patel. Rishi’s parents are friends with Dimple’s parents, and everyone involved thinks that Dimple and Rishi would make a perfect pair. Everyone, that is, but Dimple herself. Dimple resists Rishi at every turn… until she realizes that she might actually be falling for him.

There were aspects of this book that I loved and aspects that I really didn’t. I think maybe bullet points would make this easiest.

I liked:

  • Rishi! What a good guy. He was so devoted to his family, so connected to his traditions, and so selfless.
  • That this YA novel takes place after high school graduation. So few YA novels venture into that time period between high school and college.
  • Reading a diverse book. I read this specifically for my Monthly Motif (prompt: Diversify Your Reading) and I don’t think I’ve ever read a book featuring Indian American leads before. Bonus points for #ownvoices.
  • Sex-positive YA! I didn’t expect that in a book where the parents factor so strongly into the relationship.

I disliked:

  • How cliched everything was. I could easily predict just about everything that happened.
  • The pacing. It took me much longer than it should have to read this book because I would just put it down when I got to a lull in the action.
  • How rude Dimple was to Rishi. It wasn’t his fault that Dimple’s parents were so focused on marriage, and as far as eighteen-year-old boys go, he was pretty great.
  • How little the actual coding camp figured into the book. I felt like we got more pages on Dimple dancing (and definitely more pages of Dimple berating Rishi) than we did of her doing actual work at the camp.

This is another book that I think I would have liked more an actual Young Adult™ than I do as a real, Certified Adult™.

Final rating: ★★★☆☆

#mm18: diversify your reading

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