The arranged marriage YA romcom you didn’t know you wanted or needed…
Her main aim in life is to escape her traditional parents, get to university and begin her plan for tech world domination.
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 even harder to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
As joyfully refreshing as Rainbow Rowell, Jenny Han and Nicola Yoon, When Dimple Met Rishi is a frothy, funny contemporary romance told from the dual perspectives of two Indian American protagonists. While Dimple is fighting her family traditions, 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?
‘Menon wrote an utterly delightful novel and broke my heart by writing an ending because I want nothing more than to keep reading about Dimple and Rishi forever . . . I’m looking forward to it being a huge hit of 2017.’ (Book Riot)
This is one of my most anticipated reads in 2017 and I am glad that I finally got around to actually reading it.
This is basically a cute YA romcom with a solid main plot where two young Indian Americans, Dimple and Rishi, meet for an arranged marriage which Dimple initially adamantly refuses, but then gradually fall in love with each other.
First, let’s talk about the writing; it’s very simple and straightforward yet it possesses a strong ‘draw’ that pulls the readers into the story and keeps them engaged throughout the book. Once you pick up the book, you want to read non-stop. Short chapters also make this book a fast-paced page turner, it’s pretty unputdownable.
Her sense of humor is also wonderfully displayed in her writing. In particular, the first 10 chapters or so are Oh So HILARIOUS. It’s been a while since I laughed over a book so hard – I don’t know what it is, but her diction and the choice of words amplify the hilarity even more and hit right at my funny bones, making me completely cracked up.
Not only being funny and hilarious, like I said, her flair in evocative writing is apparent; The main two characters’ inner conflicts, nervousness, concerns, hurt, dejection and joy are well reflected in the writing, making this book emotionally engaging.
The characters are interesting and well fleshed out, too. Although some of the sub characters seemed underdeveloped and didn’t leave much of an impact, the fundamental differences in the two main characters – Dimple and Rishi – and their family’s characteristics are well-developed. Especially, the stark contrast in Dimple and Rishi’s beliefs and perspectives toward tradition, culture, and gender role in society give the book a lot more depth, I was curious to know how and when their paths ever cross and how they develop themselves as the story goes.
Personally, I found Dimple a bit unrelatable; she’s really goal-oriented, independent, and unconventional. She knows what she really wants in life and is full bent on getting it no matter what. Despite her mother’s wish for her getting married young, she aspires to leave her mark in the world as an App developer and shows absolutely no interest and even thinks that’s exactly what gets in her way. With her little respect to her culture and tradition she was born in, I found it a bit difficult to fully connect with her. She seemed a bit too selfish at least to me.
On the other hand, Rishi is incredibly mature and accepting. As opposed to Dimple, he accepts his role and obligations as the first son and shows respects to everything he’s surrounded with – to his parents, to the culture, tradition, etc, etc. Most importantly, he is gentle and so adult in the way he handles things. Although he is born to a wealthy family, he isn’t reduced to be a despicable, stuck-up show-off. When he displays his opulence, he does so for good cause. And this is the quality that makes Rishi an endearing, relatable character that you want to cheer on.
They seem completely different and would never get along, but what they have in common is their passion; Dimple’s for coding and Rishi’s for comics. They are both really talented yet Rishi is resigned that he has to ditch his dream to be a comic artist knowing it’s not what his parents want.
The chemistry between these two main characters, especially how the dynamics shift as they develop their friendship is such a joy to read. As they keep hanging out together and working on their project for Insomnia Con, the love starts to blossom despite Dimple’s initial rejection, and she finds herself gradually drawn to Rishi and feels comfortable in his company.
This transition is done in a very subtle, gradual way and it speeds up as the story develops. It may come across predictable, yet it doesn’t spoil the fun. The whole romantic scenes are just heart-melting and even sensual. They are simply breathtaking and beautifully written, striking a perfect balance with a healthy dose of sweet romance. It’s romantic, but not overly sugary nor saccharine. Simply swoony, gentle and beautiful. I enjoyed it a lot.
That said, there are some parts that I found sloppy in the latter half.
Basically, Dimple’s oscillating feelings toward Rishi and her reservations are well depicted and pretty gripping, but some scenes felt a bit of a letdown.
For instance, the talent show, a part of Insomnia Con competition falls into this category. Given the amount of pages spent leading up to this event, given all the fuss that has been made up to this point, the very scene, the talent show sequence is way too short and underdeveloped. It was like starting a minute ago and then finishes in the brink of an eye. That’s how I felt about the scene and I found myself quickly losing interest.
The ensuing scenes also came across too neat and convenient.
What’s supposed to be a moving reconciliation-followed-by-a-big-confession felt too predictable and generic. The change in Ashish’s perspective toward Rishi arrives too quickly, not convincing enough. How could the long-sitting sibling hostility be solved so easily??
I understand Ashish became pretty opened up to Dimple, but he wasn’t to Rishi, he hasn’t lowered his defensive guard against his big brother completely. In this regard, I felt it a bit too convenient and dull.
From then onwards, it kind of felt like a sandwich made of sloppy, too convenient scenes and moving, amazing cute scenes. You have a very convenient, clichéd scene where things go way too beautifully and then the next minute you have a very touching, engrossing scene where you find yourself on the edge of your seat; eager to find how the story unfolds.
These two come almost alternatively which is probably the reason why I got to stick to the book till the end. I seriously thought this book would only go south from the talent show scene that I mentioned above.
But you can rest assured; this book probably won’t disappoint you.
The exhilarating, cute, moving moments are in store for you in the end.
It’s kind of predictable and a bit dramatic, but again, it hangs in the perfect balance; it doesn’t come across overly dramatic nor too sweet, it won’t gross you out.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this. Despite some issues, flaws, and loopholes this book has, it is quite an enjoyable, cute YA romcom.
I appreciate this book being written by an Indian author and is about an Indian American boy and a girl. It brings diversity to a potentially typical YA romcom book and provides us with a glimpse of Indian culture. I bet you’ll find it interesting and refreshing, too.
If you are into cute, YA contemporary books, I recommend you pick this up.
In my eyes, this book lives up to the hype and is worth your time.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.