Ok, I’ll admit, at first I genuinely thought that this was a book that centred around two Indian lesbians meeting each other and falling in love. I was all about that life and it was one of the reasons why I was so excited to read it. Wow, how wrong was I?! If anything, this highlighted my ignorance towards Indian culture as I didn’t realise that Rishi was actually a male name. However, even though I had found out that this was a heterosexual relationship book, I was still intrigued because of the diversity and because the female protagonist is a computer coder!
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.
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 fell in love with this book from the very first page. Even though Dimple sometimes came across as really unfair towards her parents and towards Rishi, I could see where she was coming from. She didn’t want to follow the path that had already been laid out for her by her parents and by her culture. She wanted a career and not to be tied down as a domestic wife. But then this brings up the long-time feminist argument of: ‘well, why CAN’T a woman have both a good career and a good home life? Why does she have to choose?’ And I think that this book explores this notion very well. It’s about both protagonists embracing their culture, but also about the struggles that they go through with their passions and also the struggles they go through in their relationship because of this.
“Seriously? That’s what you think I should be relegating my brain space to? Looking nice? Like, if I don’t make the effort to look beautiful, my entire existence is nullified? Nothing else matters-not my intellect, not my personality or my accomplishments; my hopes and dreams mean nothing if I’m not wearing eyeliner?”
― Sandhya Menon,
Also, where did that story arc with Rishi’s brother come from? It kind of just flew out of nowhere and smacked us in the face. It was so random and I’m not even sure it added anything to the story apart from Rishi respecting his brother more? I don’t know. I don’t think it was really needed. The character of Ashish itself was really well written though and I loved how he helped Dimple and Rishi with the dance routine, but it was his whole romance story arc that flew out of nowhere. If Menon had kept Ashish as just a secondary character who supports his brother and Dimple then that would have been better, in my opinion. What do you guys think?
I absolutely loved learning about Indian culture as well. Rishi explained it in such a romantic, educational and descriptive way that made me fall in love with the culture. It’s about time that we saw Indian-American characters as the main protagonists in a YA contemporary. I am actually currently reading an episodic story that is also about the adventure that an Indian girl goes on when she goes to college. The episodic story is called The Sunshine Time and I actually highly recommend it! But anyway, back to When Dimple Met Rishi… The descriptions of the culture was amazing, I loved how the cultural appropriation was perfect, and I loved how Menon embraced Indian culture 100% and showed how wonderful it was to her readers.
If you can’t tell already, I absolutely loved this book and even though I had a few very minor issues with it*, I still think it’s an amazing contemporary that I really do think everyone should read because it’s just that good!
*I rated it 4.5 stars as a whole but I decided to put it in the 5-star category
Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review