Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Rating: 4 Stars
“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.”
Dear fellow Babblers,
I’ve always been hesitant going into YA just because my experience with the genre is mixed with cliché and unoriginal premises. 2017 has definitely bee so far a year of new reads and explorations. Following my extreme satisfaction reading the contemporary poet, Lang Leav’s first novel, Sad Girls (full review here), I found myself wanting more of the cutting edge nonsense and thrilling “sweep the chick off her feet and then drop her midair” romance that contemporary literature often lacks or deeply tries to go against.
When Dimple Met Rishi is not something I would typically feel drawn to in a bookstore, despite to cute and quirky cover. I went out and bought and read the novel just because I noticed it to be one of the most popular YA novels currently trending. Upon finishing the novel I was at the same time charmed and rather indifferent…
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.
With her mother’s consistent harping to find the Ideal Indian Husband and a father who’s diabetes adds to the family strain, Dimple Shah is more than ready to begin her new life at Stanford. But that’s not for a couple months. So what’s a fresh high school graduate to do in the meantime? Beach? Summer flings? Binge eating? No such leisure fits into Dimple’s life plan – coding. Easily persuading her parents to let her spend the summer at the San Francisco State University campus, Dimple joins a six-week program, Insomnia Con in hopes of winning the grand prize and bringing her that much closer to meeting her idol, Jenny Lindt, and successfully creating and marketing an app she believes could save lives, including her father’s.
All goes well until Dimple meets mister lovebug, goodie-goodie Rishi who is to follow in his father’s footstep and attend MIT all the way across the country, when his heart is only in his comics. Not only that, but her allows his parents into agreeing to meet Dimple at SF by joining Insomnia Con in hopes that they will eventually get married. Everyone seems to agree to the plan. Everyone, but Dimple, who knows nothing of this prearranged marriage.
Not fifteen minutes into her arrival on the campus and, thanks to the handy dandy picture of Dimple his parents have given him, immediately spots her relaxing under the sun, Starbucks iced coffee in hand. Thinking she knows about the deal, Rishi prances up to Dimple with a perverted and totally creepy “Hello future wife” pick up line. Dimple does exactly what any rational being would do: chucks her coffee straight at Rishi and runs away.
This awkward first meeting leads into a direct unraveling of a kindling romance and quirky relationship between the two Indian-American protagonists when they are inevitably paired together for the Insomnia Con competition. Dimple makes it clear from the beginning that she is not interested in any sort of fling with Rishi, but, of course, events quickly, and I mean QUICKLY take a slightly different turn. Spending more and more time together going out on “non”dates as well as working on the app together Dimple’s aggressive and rebellious personality, and Rishi’s warmhearted and compassionate personality come together as one, and by the end of the six weeks find it unbearable to be apart from one another.
Okay, so, this book is the definition of Young Adult clichés. The boy that comes to change the girl’s plans, the summer romance that becomes serious, the rebellious girl who desperately wants to escape her mother’s blabbering mouth – the list goes on. What makes When Dimple Met Rishi unique from the regular teen read is the writing style and Marron’s successful treatment of her characters. Perception is constant alternating between the protagonists in order to capture what each is feeling, thinking, seeing, and how it drives them to do, say or think. The writing style is fun with plenty of cheesy jokes to make the reader laugh, yet sympathize with the ludicrous, melodramatic personality of each character.
All in all, When Dimple Met Rishi most definitely lives up to the YA prototype, but, this time at least, that’s okay! What’s a couple corny plots here and there if the overall narrative is still a pleasure to read?
How did you feel about the endless clichés going on in When Dimple Met Rishi? Delighted? Irritated? There seems to be a mixture of feelings towards the novel… Whatcha thinking? Whats next on that endless TBR ?
(Book image credits go to Goodreads)