Hardcover, 380 pages
Published May 30th 2017 by Simon Pulse
Synopsis: 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.
I won an advance reader’s copy of this title in a giveaway hosted by Indigo Teen (@indigoteen) on Twitter.
I was expecting great things before reading this debut novel by Sandhya Menon. Beyond the dire need for more diversity in YA, When Dimple Met Rishi promised to also provide a truly sweet and captivating contemporary romance to its readers. I have to say, it definitely blew me away and exceeded any expectations I had.
I was worried about how the author would tackle the topic of arranged marriage, but this books proves the need for #ownvoices stories. Menon was born and raised in India, so she understands first-hand the expectations that are sometimes imposed on young adults growing up and how they can shape someone’s perspectives on love and life.
The love story itself was sweet, honest and had a genuine and believable development, which made me incredibly happy. I’m not the biggest fan of “instant love” stories, so I was glad to see Menon was able to leverage Rishi’s enthusiasm about meeting his “future wife” into this growth and development of the main characters’ relationships. My favourite aspect of the romance was the respect that grew over time between the two main characters. The book is also a love story to San Francisco and Menon’s writing made me feel right at home, even though I have never been to the city.
Menon also tackles the story from a feminist approach and allows for the character growth of both MCs to shine in this coming of age romance. Dimple’s character is incredibly intelligent, determined, curious about the world and very passionate about technology. Rishi is loyal, respectful and compassionate. The story also showcases family relationships from both Dimple and Rishi’s perspectives and how ultimately their families are looking for the same thing: happiness.
I gave this title 5/5 stars and consider it a definite must-read this summer for any YA contemporary lovers out there. The success Menon’s debut novel has had so far (it recently made the NYT Bestseller’s list) alongside a few other amazing diverse titles shows the need for more representation in our stories. Let’s hope this will be one of the many titles to push for that change in the following years.