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Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

on July 26, 2017

When Dimple Met Rishi
Sandhya Menon
Hodder & Stoughton
2017, 378
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

The arranged-marriage YA romcom you didn’t know you wanted or needed… 

Meet Dimple.

Her main aim in life is to escape her traditional parents, get to university and begin her plan for tech world domination.

Meet Rishi.

He’s rich, good-looking and a hopeless romantic. His parents think Dimple is the perfect match for him, but she’s got other plans…

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.

Perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Jenny Han and Nicola Yoon, WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI is a frothy, funny contemporary romance set at a coding convention in San Francisco over one exciting summer. Told from the dual perspectives of two Indian American protagonists, Dimple is fighting her family traditions while Rishi couldn’t be happier to follow in the footsteps of his parents. Could sparks fly between this odd couple, or is this matchmaking attempt doomed to fail?

I ordered this online recently after a couple of weeks looking for it locally with no success. It arrived yesterday so I decided to drop all my other plans and read it straight away. Yesterday was such a perfect day for reading – I have  a recliner that gets all the winter sun and it’s my favourite place to read. I was really excited for this, I’d heard such good things about it and it felt so different to a lot of the YA I’ve been reading.

Dimple has just graduated high school and will start at Stanford University after summer break. She lives and breathes coding and will be doing a degree in computer science. Prior to starting there she wants to undertake a summer program which she believes will not only give her a good grounding for beginning her degree but also enable her to possibly meet her idol and win the chance to develop her very own app. It’s something she’s really thought about and it’s important to her. She’s very surprised when her parents agree to allow her to go with no protest (although she will discover their ulterior motive soon enough). Dimple’s mother is very traditional and believes that her university degree will be a stepping stone to what is really important – finding an IIH (Ideal Indian Husband). This is not something Dimple is interested in at all.

Rishi has also just graduated high school and will be starting at MIT in the fall. His parents traditional values and hopes are very important to him and he’s a willing participant in their plans and dreams for him. Like Dimple he’s also enrolled in the summer school program. His passion is drawing, specifically comics but this is not a wise and trusted career path so instead his degree will be something parent approved that will result in a good career.

I really liked both the characters – Dimple is smart and super focused. She knows what she wants and what she doesn’t want and she doesn’t really allow her mother to pressure her into too much, such as wearing make up and growing her hair long trying to look good to get a husband. She loves coding, it’s what she wants to do and she has good ideas. The last thing she’s interested in is finding a husband – relatively normal for a 17yo who was born and raised in America. As she says, her family’s traditions aren’t always her traditions and when she’s visited India she’s often felt left out as the ‘foreigner’. In contrast, Rishi is super into the traditions and he’s not afraid to stand up for them and to broadcast how proud he is of his heritage. He admires his parents a great deal – their marriage has been enduring and positive and he feels as though they will provide him with a wife that will hopefully result in an equally long lasting and comfortable relationship. That’s what he wants – a solid grounding for the future. Dimple was also feisty but non confrontational, more the type to let things go rather than call someone out on bad behaviour whereas Rishi was go with the flow but intolerant of people’s rudeness and willing to stand up to them.

I really enjoyed a lot about this book. I feel as though a lot of children born to migrants do have the weight of their parent’s expectations, culture and traditions placed upon them, which may war with the upbringing they’re getting in a new country and I think this book perfectly showcases that and the different ways in which those children may respond to it. Dimple is a rebel – she struggles against her mother’s dedication to see her married to the IIH and learning to be a perfect housewife. She wants to experience life on her own terms and she’s passionate about her career – for her, university is not just the place she’ll meet her future husband. It’s a place of freedom and learning so that she can really push herself. Rishi is much more placid – as the oldest son he’s felt that it’s his duty to accept what his parents plan for him, to make them proud of him. His younger brother basically does what he wants but Rishi is content to dutifully follow the ‘right’ path – until he meets Dimple (which is kind of funny). She teaches him that it’s okay to follow your own dream, to be true to yourself and to do something that you are really passionate about. And at the same time, Rishi helps Dimple realise that their parents are coming from a good place, that it’s not all about stifling them and ruining their lives. Dimple is able to reach a new understanding with her mother because of it, a less combative place.

For me the romance was just okay – a lot of things fell into place and it was quite sweet but it wasn’t my favourite part of the story. The chemistry felt a bit lukewarm and at times, Dimple was quite frustrating about things. The conflict towards the end of the story was a bit weak and the resolution very “rom-com” but it was okay. I think they were a good example of opposites that work in a relationship but I think Rishi and how he felt about things was probably the driving reason for that. Dimple at times felt very prickly.

A good solid story, will definitely read the author’s future books.


Book #125 of 2017

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