I had seen this book ALLLL over my Goodreads and Twitter feeds, and honestly, culturally diverse characters, and a contemporary romance? Having not read anything but fantasy lately really motivated me to try something a little different. And I love contemporary. I enjoy a good romance every now and then — without any magical element involved — and this one didn’t disappoint! (Little secret — I am a romance enthusiast.)
When Dimple Met Rishi Sandhya Menon
Published by Simon Pulse on May 30th, 2017
Genres: young adult, contemporary, romance
Format: ebook, 313 pages
Amazon & Goodreads
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 both characters right away. I think I loved them more because of the fact that they were Indian-American, and I had access to a different set of cultural beliefs, and not to mention a different language — that was definitely cool how Menon integrated Hindi into an English-spoken conversation. But not only was I impressed with the new language, I also really appreciated some of the English words she chose to incorporate into her story. I love when authors use just the right amount of big words, instead of using the same-old-same-old threadbare lexicon1 that some authors tend to use.
Like basically all books though, the cover is what drew me in. It’s sweet, a bit sassy, and the handwritten title on the coffee cup has Starbucks inspo written all over it — that’s my cup of java, pun intended. (As a teacher to preschool kids, coffee is a necessary daily food group.) Plus, the henna designs on her fingers are amazing. I’m even a little bit sad nothing about the henna was mentioned in the story? But Dimple mostly embraces the American side of her Indian-American heritage, and therefore the inked fingers are probably only a device used on the cover to make the onlooker understand that she is, in fact, an Indian girl. ALSO, who can resist that smile??? Just looking at it makes me feel good. True, all-teeth smiles are the best.
1Lexicon was a word Menon actually used in this book: lex·i·con (noun) the vocabulary of a language, an individual speaker or group of speakers, or a subject.
This novel was a debut for Sandhya Menon, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to anticipate. When I started the first chapter, though, I was pretty much sucked in. Dimple was different from me, but I could relate on a level, especially when she used the phrase “Shut up and take my money.” Very millennial of her.
Dimple and her Mamma don’t exactly see eye-to-eye, and in the first chapter, it’s easy to see from Dimple’s perspective how she might feel like the “alien” of the family. Dimple always feels the heavy weight of her mother’s disapproval, and because of this, she’s more than ready to spend her next four years at Standford. Dimple feels like her intellect is not appreciated, and all that really matters to her Mamma is her looks and ability to snag the I.I.H. — Ideal Indian Husband. It is pretty easy to see how Dimple could really believe this, as Mamma is a “helicopter mom” — as in, she’s a major hover-er! Indian tradition and American culture really butt heads in this family! And Mamma honestly let me down as a reader, too (up until the end). Because you really want to believe that her Mamma actually appreciates her brain and not just her looks and ability to find a husband, but Dimple’s aggravation was totally justified a majority of the time.
The fire she had, that passion? Yeah, he could definitely see her being born with lava in her veins.
As for Rishi, he was adorable. He’s honestly everything that anyone could ever want in a guy. He says all the right things!!! Rishi was the kind of guy who did E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. his parents wanted him to do. Did I emphasize that enough? I mean, how often do you see a character where he doesn’t rebel against his parents? He left that up to his little brother, Ashish. So basically, Rishi felt pressured to seek out and woo Dimple, go to MIT and study engineering, and be the golden son of the family. But poor Rishi, while he loves his parents ’til death do they part, he just really loves making comic book art. When Dimple realizes this passion of Rishi’s, she ultimately makes a plan to force Rishi to realize he doesn’t have to rush into a future he doesn’t want. Rishi doesn’t really want to study engineering like his father wants him to! Dimple discovered her passion for coding and web development, so she reached for those stars (no matter what her Mamma thought) so she thinks Rishi should do the same. I really love how Dimple brought out the person Rishi wanted to be … even though Dimple had some issues of her own.
There were some characters I. Did. Not. Like. But it was to be expected, because they were made to be the jerks of the story. (Stupid, self-important jerks.) But there has to be one or two in every novel to keep the story interesting, yeah?
The book ultimately takes place in the outer limits of San Fran (I seriously loved the fact that the fog that was ever-present in SF was named “Karl”), during this thingamajig called Insomnia Con. I googled it, I don’t think it’s a real thing. But, in WDMR, it’s a 6-week summer program for high school grads and kids going into college who want to get a step in toward app development. During those 6 weeks, Dimple and about fifty other kids team up in groups of two and build the base of a ground-breaking app, and whoever wins the best idea gets the opportunity to work closely with Jenny Lindt (a “herald of the coming age of Women in Tech”), where she would help the winner get their app market-ready with a buttload of promotion. Fate plays its hand, and Dimple ends up being paired with Rishi for the con. But Dimple is obsessed with winning — so much so, that she’s afraid to get close to Rishi and have him steer her away from what truly matters: winning Insomnia Con and getting her app out there; one that could possibly save lives, including (especially including) her father’s.
She wept for her hardheadedness, and for a world that couldn’t just let her be both, a woman in love and a woman with a career, without flares of guilt and self-doubt seeping in and wreaking havoc.
While the plot was unique, and HELLO, DIVERSE!, the ending was a tad predictable — at least, in my eyes. It wasn’t too in-your-face predictable, and there were some surprising quirks at the end, such as … View Spoiler »Rishi helping Dimple meet up with Jenny Lindt and them ultimately working together to get Dimple’s app out there, even though Dimple and Rishi didn’t win the con. But the fact that they didn’t win the con was something I was anticipating. And how Dimple and Rishi fell apart afterwards broke my little heart. « Hide Spoiler
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a diverse book with lovable characters??? READ THIS ONE. It has feel-good moments and, on occasion, mental yelling moments where you’re slightly fuming because Dimple can be so rash and hardheaded, but in the end, I really enjoyed this novel. Some of it was cheesy — sometimes Rishi says some awfully corny stuff, guys. Alas, I loved the alternating perspectives, especially since there were constantly flip-flopping within the same chapter — and it was still in third-person POV, so I was impressed by how that was done.
But, like I said, read it. Like it. Thank me for it later.
DEAR READER: Have you read this one yet? What were your thoughts on it?
Rosie is thrilled it’s Friday, because after work today, she plans on sitting in her new hammock chair in her front yard and not mOVING — FOR ANYTHING! Except maybe food. And drink if she’s thirsty. BUT THAT’S IT. It’s so comfortable that all other things are deemed unworthy to worry about. Best $50 she’s spent in a looooong time. She’s so close to finishing Roar by Cora Carmack as well, so that ending will probably happen sometime today, so be on the lookout for a review for that soon because holy crap is it a good novel! It’s the freakin’ weekend, HAVE SOME FUN!