Author: Sandhya Menon
Series? No, standalone
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: I checked out When Dimple Met Rishi at my local library!
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 is Menon's debut novel, and it was amazing. The book has gotten a lot of hype even before it's release, with this being a diverse, own-voices take on what it is like to balance both being Indian and American. I had a few small issues here and there, but overall I really enjoyed the book!
What I really loved about When Dimple Met Rishi was the realness of the characters. Every single one of them has flaws, which I greatly appreciate. Too often in YA contemporary are there main characters who are "misunderstood". I like that both Dimple and Rishi (and all the other characters!) have flaws, are aware of them, and still make mistakes. It's easy to relate to these characters even though my experiences are drastically different from theirs because they feel so real. Plus, Rishi and Dimple were such dorks and I loved them to bits! There is also a great bit of humor in the book. There were times when I actually laughed out loud when reading this. Not only did this book make me laugh and smile, but it also made me ache for the characters. Do you ever get that feeling low in your chest where you so badly want something to happen in a story because you care that much? Whenever I get that, I know the book has touched me.
I also loved the plot of the book. Having it set at a con centered around STEM was really different for me. In academia, I tend to lean more towards humanities and not sciences, so I don't get to really experience what STEM is all about. I loved that Menon touched on the sexism in STEM as well as the opportunities lost not only if you are a woman, but if you aren't wealthy either. This book doesn't have feminist undertones, it just has a feminist tone, and I loved it. I thought Dimple was a great portrayal of a feminist and the book showed that feminists aren't some crazy women denouncing men. The socioeconomic issues that Menon also brought forward were also well appreciated. I know that I am pretty well off when comparing myself to others. However, as a member of a low middle class family whose mom is disabled, I loved that Menon touched on how there is a divide in opportunities and experiences because of wealth.
As for the diversity, I thought it flowed very naturally. In one of my posts a while back I was talking about how I want a diverse book that doesn't feel forced. When Dimple Met Rishi was the answer to the plea. However, I don't want to comment on how accurate the culture is portrayed in any way since I'm not familiar enough to do so. I've read a couple reviews that say this book does a good job shedding the stereotype on Indians and I haven't seen any scathing reviews about this book's take on it, so I assume it was well done. Plus, this book is #ownvoices, so everything is coming from a genuine place!
Throughout the whole book, I only have one complaint. I would have loved to read more about Insomnia con and Rishi's drawings. If we every get some drawings based off the descriptions in the book, I would be over the moon. I think if this book has some mixed media it would have really taken Rishi's passion a step further.
Other than that, I love this book! At first I gave this book 4.5 stars, but the more I think about it the more I like it. My complaints are very inconsequential, and this book did a wonderful job balancing the light-heartedness and naivete of first love with a story about being true to yourself. I wouldn't say that this book is a romance. Sure, the romance between Dimple and Rishi is very important, but it is more of a coming of age novel. Both Rishi and Dimple grow and find themselves in the book, and it was a pleasure to read. This is one of the best contemporaries I've ever read. The fact that this is a debut novel is even more impressive, and I am looking forward to reading more from Sandhya Menon.
With that, I give this book
Have you read When Dimple Met Rishi? What did you think?
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Genni @ Ready, Set, Read!