Title: When Dimple met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: YA contemporary romance
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 LOVED the premise of this book. It’s basically everything I wanted, which was:
- representation of Indian traditions, especially marriages
- freedom to date, hangout and hold hands (at least) in public (which isn’t really possible in India), which is why I tend to read books set in other countries more
- conventions for geeks
- the Indian elements, like phrases in Hindi and reference to Indian snacks/food/events
- a realistic MC
so when I read the synopsis, I was sold.
Allow me to tell you, in detail, everything I liked:
1. Dimple. She was the PERFECT Indian girl MC I could ever want. Especially because she’s my personality twin. She’s a computer geek, is a modern girl, doesn’t believe in arranged marriages, just wants to code and achieve something instead of priming herself for the “perfect guy” to come along and marry her. She also fangirls HEAVILY over Jenny Lindt, who is a bigtime coder and a big name in the industry.
2. All the Hindi phrases. Not very many, but there were quite a few Hindi phrases littered around the book like in normal conversation how you would expect in Indian families. Translation wasn’t provided for all of them (even though not required in those areas), but for those who don’t know the language, and are like me who want to know EVERYTHING, it might be irksome. As I knew, and LOVED the inserts, it just made me love the book more.
3. InsomniaCon. I’m just inserting that point here because I’m LITERALLY DIMPLE and would totally geek out on going to an event like this. And I would have put in as much effort as her. Basically, throughout Dimple’s POVs, I was imagining myself in her place and it was SO EASY. Even her thought process was like mine!
4. Representation of what happens in an Indian household when your parents try to be matchmakers. Two scenarios—one of Dimple’s where she does NOT WANT to get married but is set up by her parents and is incessantly goaded on by her mom, making Dimple hate her; and two, of Rishi’s, where he’s totally in sync with his parents and their choices and follows the traditions to the dot. Therefore, absolutely no conflict.
5. Also, while we’re on the topic. I LOVED the absolutely chilled parents who simply wanted the best for their kids. (But I’m going to chalk most of it up to the fact that they’re living in America and not India where most parents would want the “bonding” happening right before their eyes because #supervision)
6. The relationship development between Dimple and Rishi. It was so ADORABLE and CUTE AF. Dimple and Rishi, being polar opposites, took a while to actually connect and all of it was SO FLIPPIN ADORABLE. Also, THIS is how arranged marriages SHOULD work. Give the couple some time to bond away from parents and letting them make their own choices. Not “make the decision in the four hours you spend together in the same room with all your family” trend that usually took place until now in the real world.
7. Following your hearts and doing what you love. Again, two scenarios represented by the MCs and their lives. The book shows the expectations of family members from us kids and how our “choices” are mapped before we even know what they are. Many sets of parents believe that the choices they make are the ones that their child wants, and if the child rebels? They say that he/she doesn’t really know what they want! And that the parents do! It tricky, tacky, and really stressful for all parties involved. It’s not known enough by non-Indians, and I LOVE the idea that everyone will have some more insight into living an Indian life.
8. Also #diversity. It’s everything Indian.
Now, let’s move onto what I did NOT like:
1. Rishi. He’s the idealist. He’s the Daniel (from The Sun is also a Star) of WDMR (kind of). The perfect Indian son. I outright hated him in the beginning. He was TOO. DARN. PERFECT. There was literally no issue in his life except the one talked about in the book. I expected a little more drama, or something. But even in the end everything went smoothly and I just could NOT get in with it. I really don’t like him. (Which is rich, considering Dimple and I are one and she is IN LOVE with him. Makes me wonder if a guy like him is my type. I do not want to continue this thought process of mine.)
2. The “happily ever after” view of arranged marriages. Don’t get me wrong, arranged marriages DO work. But for some, not all. And only the working marriages were shown in this book, and if all the marriages were like that, I admit, I would have been Rishi—putting blind faith in the system. But the fact is, it isn’t all roses and daises. Many (and most, if you consider all the relationships I’ve seen closely) arranged marriages don’t “work”. Sure, almost everyone still remain “family” to the outside world, but there are issues which exist DUE to the fact that the respective couples didn’t know each other long enough. But then that’s because the “bonding” between two persons occurs for hours, and not days like with Dimple and Rishi.
Call me cynical or negative, but I simply cannot support the ideal of all arranged marriages ending well. Dimple and Rishi’s (and also their parents) story is just what I would LIKE to see and believe in. But what IS, is a different issue.
(so basically everything I didn’t like was only because of who I am and what I like so you can also simply disregard these points and assume the book is perfect)
A book which will give you ALL THE FEELS and perhaps be a five-star to most readers. I definitely recommend the book to anyone and everyone, mostly because of the GIGANTIC Indian representation that I’m bloomin’ proud of.