Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Publishing Information: May 30th 2017 by Simon Pulse
Source: ARC for Review
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.
Before picking up When Dimple Met Rishi, all I knew about it was that it featured two nerdy Indian-American protagonists and had one of the cutest covers ever (doesn’t the cover just ooze happiness?!). As someone who is married to an Indian-American and has a ton of Indian friends, I was super excited to see this book being published. When Dimple Met Rishi ended up being a really sweet read with great dialogue and many hilarious moments.
When Dimple Met Rishi tells the tale of two Indian-Americans who both enroll in a summer program in San Francisco for aspiring web developers. Dimple Shah would like nothing more to become a web developer without the stress of her parents pushing for her to find a husband. Rishi Patel is a romantic who decides to attend the summer program after his parents tell him that the daughter of a family friend, who they want to be his future wife, will be there. What follows is a hilarious romantic story about two individuals who are opposites learning to balance tradition with American culture,
I really loved seeing the friendship and romance blossom between Dimple and Rishi. The two have such wonderful chemistry and their dialogue is incredibly witty. Of the two, I absolutely fell in love with Rishi (definitely YA boyfriend goals). Rishi struck me as a more mature character than Dimple. Throughout the book, he constantly sacrificed his desires and time for the sake of others – he is entirely selfless and immensely humble. Dimple, on the other hand, is more of a go-getter who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid of burning bridges to get it. She is definitely the more impulsive one and provides the perfect balance for Rishi’s more steadfast nature.
I must admit though that I felt that the first half of this book was much stronger than the second half. During the first half of the book, we really get to see the struggles that Dimple is going through trying to balance her parents’ strong cultural background with her personal ambitions. To Dimple, it seemed impossible to adhere to her roots without compromising her desires to be a successful female computer programmer.
Rishi, on the other hand, greatly embraced his Indian heritage and believed in making his family happy rather than pursuing his own dreams. I found the two struggles that Dimple and Rishi went through to be unique from ones that I have read in other YA contemporaries, and I appreciated that the book focused on highlighting those issues. However, those issues were sidelined towards the end of the book and the romantic tension plot became the main focus. The second half of the book felt more predictable and more so like other romance YA contemporaries – nonetheless, it was still super sweet and fun.
Overall, When Dimple Met Rishi is an adorable book with a wonderful cast of relatable characters. I’m loving this trend of diverse MCs and I really hope that we get to see more books from Sandhya Menon. This book is definitely one to pick up this summer!