When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon | Rating: ★★★★★
A copy of this novel was provided through Edelweiss by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.
No spoilers, please! If you read that in a "no pictures!" voice, you are going places my friend. Because this novel has yet to be released, my review will be to the point and free of spoilers. I'll try not to fangirl too hard but this novel is that kind of novel, if you know what I mean.
I'm calling it now: When Dimple Met Rishi is going to be *the* YA contemporary of the summer. I'm so impressed by this novel because it kept me reading without ever feeling slumped about the story--something that not many in its genre do. There is something irresistible about Menon's novel; the prose, the plots, the characters. It's sweet, humorous and generally touching. Reading it is the equivalent of a warm blanket and feel-good movie. A novel that will hold you in your seat until its final pages, not out of suspense but out of some inexplicable feeling of weightlessness and joy. I literally enjoyed every page of it and found myself smiling a good chunk of the time.
Because I am not a part of this culture and different themes of the novel do not connect to me on a day-to-day life, I cannot say it is entirely accurate. Based upon a lot of reviews I've already seen from people who can, it's safe to say this book is true to life. Importantly, you don't have to be completely knowledgeable on the matter of arranged marriage and the culture that Dimple and Rishi have prominently been raised in. When Dimple Met Rishi's purpose isn't necessarily to teach a reader all there is to know but certainly they will walk away from it with a lot more to know.
As for characters: Dimple was naturally my favourite. She is strong and vulnerable and knows what she wants without being all knowing. She is a realistic portrayal of a teenager that readers can and will connect with instantly. I loved reading from her point of view most because she is just a fresh voice in a sea of characters that lack any sort of life or spark and there's so much to be praised about her. I knew right away--from her conversations with her mother--that I was going to love her but I didn't know how much I would be the end of the story. From her point of view, everything is equal parts entertaining and moving. Dimple just has that voice that you could read her point of view all the time and not get tired of it. Truly, she is relatable and fun.
Rishi is a great character to and pretty much the opposite of all young adult male characters. Both of the characters learn a lot about themselves by the end of their journey but I feel like his development was the strongest of the two. He is warm. He is funny. He is sweet. And there's this nerdy edge to him that is different from Dimple's brand of geekery. I loved him and I loved that he wasn't a stereotype of anything. That can be said about both of them but a lot of the time, it feels like boys in YA literature are one of two archetypes: bad boy or the good guy. Rishi is undeniably good but not in the irritating way, if you know what I'm getting at.
Put these two together and you've got a formula for a fun novel. Seriously, their scenes are just great. I can't tell you how much I looked forward to them getting to know each other. You're going to feel a lot of things about these two. Embarrassment. Hope. Pride. When Dimple Met Rishi is the ultimate YA book and is everything that makes the genre loved to begin with. It revitalizes it. It captivated me. And I think it will entertain you, too.
If you're only going to read one YA contemporary this year, make it When Dimple Met Rishi. You won't regret it.