Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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Details & Summary:

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 30th 2017
Pages: 380

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.

My thoughts…

When Dimple Met Rishi is one of the most hyped books of this year. Before reading it myself, I’d read countless reviews and most of them were very, very positive. As a consequence, I had high expectations and I was very excited to read it. Sadly, I didn’t love it or like it as much as I thought I would. While Dimple and Rishi showcase a healthy, realistic relationship, which we need to see more of in YA, I had a few problems with the story outside the romance.

I’ll start with the good stuff. Dimple and Rishi are both great characters. Dimple knows what she wants. She’s passionate about coding and she’s going to study at Stanford and hopefully someday have a career like her idol, Jenny Lindt. She’s not interested in going to university for the sole purpose of finding her IIH (Ideal Indian Husband) like her parents want her to.

“She refused to be one of those girls who gave up on everything they’d been planning simply because a boy entered the picture.”

Then there’s Rishi, who values family, tradition, and culture. He’s more than okay with the idea of meeting a girl his parents chose for him. He’s also completely okay and confident about the person he is, which was my favourite thing about him.

“If no one says, ‘This is me, this is what I believe in, and this is why I’m different, and this is why that’s okay’, then what’s the point? What’s the point of living in this beautiful, great melting pot where everyone can dare to be anything they want to be?”

Of course, the trouble starts when they meet. Rishi was aware he was being set up with someone he hoped he would marry someday. Dimple was not; she was kind of tricked by her parents.

All in all, I think the arranged marriage theme was done well. I understood both sides and sympathised with both Dimple and Rishi. I was interested to see how they’d get along after this misunderstanding. And, for a while, I really did like their relationship. Though rushed (they are completely in love in just a few weeks), I liked how it was a healthy, realistic relationship where both sides respect and value each other. Very nice to see in YA.

What I didn’t like was how the romance completely took over the plot. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a romance novel, but still. I respected Dimple so much for wanting a career and being passionate about coding and I felt like that all kind of disappeared into the background. Coding is supposed to be her number one passion, so I was very disappointed about how little time she seemed to spend on her project. It was mentioned a couple of times here and there, but I felt like she didn’t work on it that much. All of her time seemed to go toward dating Rishi, dealing with the Amberzombies (rich, mean kids? Really? Enoug with this overused trope already), and the talent show. Basically, the project kind of served as a background to their relationship, which is a real shame since I know how much hard work, time, and dedication it takes in real life.

I also wasn’t a big fan of how literally everything turned out okay in the end.

SPOILER ALERT….

Dimple and Rishi didn’t win but she did get a chance to meet Jenny Lindt who just so happens to love her idea so much she’s willing to invest in it. Dimple contacted Rishi’s role model / idol who also contacts him back. I mean, I really wish these kind of things happened in real life and I could get an answer from Elon Musk or J.K Rowling or anyone else who’s famous (and extremely busy!), but they rarely do.

The same thing goes for other plot points, such as Rishi’s relationship with his brother Ashish. They were all wrapped up rather fast and easy, which felt all a bit too convenionent to me and not very realistic.

While Dimple and Rishi deserves credit for showcasing a healthy, realistic teenage relationship and I loved reading about a different culture than mine, it’s a shame the romance dominated the plot as much as it did and their goals and interests were pushed to the background.

Rating

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