When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Published: 30.05.2017 by Simon Pulse
Genre: Contemporary (YA)
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Synopsis: 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?
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I don’t really have an excuse, to be honest. I haven’t been reading. I haven’t been filming or writing blog posts. But don’t worry. I haven’t abandoned you all! Today, I want to talk about this book I read while I was on holiday: When Dimple Met Rishi.
When Dimple Met Rishi had been on my to-read list since the moment I became aware of its existence pre-release. Wanting to support more diverse reads and read more books out of my comfort zone (which means reading books that aren’t fantasy), this seemed like the perfect fit. So when I was craving a cute romance while traveling, I knew it was the right time to pick it up.
I was right. I absolutely adored reading this book.
I was somewhat hesitant at first. I’d seen quite a few negative reviews on this book, and I didn’t want to be disappointed. After reading this -and their reviews- I’m of two minds about it. On the one hand, I do agree with some of their points. Dimple could be somewhat mean and rude. On the other hand, I think that this book included some tropes and moments that almost every other YA contemporary has. And they often don’t get marked down because of it.
This novel really does feel like a rom com to me. I have always loved watching those. Even if they are often cheesy, and you can predict the ending 0.1 minute into the story, I don’t care. I live for them. They are adorable and sweet. And so was this book. Yet while When Dimple Met Rishi had countless of adorable moments, it didn’t hesitate to address some problematic aspects of our society either. Which is exactly what a YA contemporary should do, in my opinion.
This is the story of two teenagers, Dimple and Rishi. Both come from fairly traditional Indian families, and while Rishi absolutely loves the traditions he grew up with, Dimple couldn’t care less about her parents’ obsession with finding her the ‘Ideal Indian Husband’. She just wants to build her career in tech, and create the app she has been building in her mind for ages.
I think it was really interesting to see how they were opposites in some aspects, yet so similar in others. Rishi loves tradition, and as a hopeless romantic believes in an arranged marriage full of love -like that of his parents. Dimple loves her family, but the last thing she wants to do is get married. I adored both characters. Even if I think that Dimple was ridiculously stubborn at the end -today, there are quite a lot of women who manage to have an incredible career and a husband they love- I do admit that it is a trait of the rom com. The big misunderstanding that separates the two.
The only thing that makes me sad, is that I wish there was more of the actual coding and working on the app here. Other than that, I love this novel. This is a wonderful YA contemporary, with two incredible main characters. I’m so glad I read this. Diverse books, everyone. They are so important. AND IF YOU SOMEHOW HAVEN’T READ THIS ONE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
I’ll leave you with some of my favorite passages.
Dimple thought of Insomnia Con, of Jenny Lindt, of SFSU, of Stanford. Of all the things she’d jeopardize if she called Ritu auntie a backward, antifeminist blight on democratic society.
Dimple opened her mouth to say that, yeah, in her opinion misogyny was complicated. Mainly because of the way it was integrated into the very fabric of society, which made it hard to see when a guy was being a total d-bag to you.
You’re going to see a lot of it. People getting ahead unfairly because of the category into which they were born: male or white or straight or rich. I’m in a few of those categories myself, which is why I make it a point to reach out and help those who aren’t, those who might not necessarily be seen if I didn’t make the effort. We need to shake this field up, you know? We need more people with different points of view and experiences and thought processes so we can keep innovating and moving ahead.