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When Dimple Met Rishi Hardcover – May 30, 2017
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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. For-EV-er. I fell in love with the cover and without reading the summary dove into reading it. The characters, story, and spirit of the book match the gorgeousness that is the cover. Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel may be two different people starting their paths into adulthood but they’re both about to find out that life stands in your way and shakes things up no matter how much you plan. This book was a hug to my black heart that made me laugh and constantly cheer for the characters. I’m looking forward to it being a huge hit of 2017. (Jamie Canaves Book Riot, The Best Books We Read in November)
Dimple is a headstrong girl who is passionate about coding and web development much to the chagrin of her parents, who wish she would focus more on her appearance and attracting a husband. Basking in her acceptance to Stanford, Dimple is surprised when her parents agree to let her attend a six-week “Insomnia Con” in San Francisco. Not long into her convention, Dimple discovers why her parents were so willing to let her go. She has been set up to meet a potential husband—the very traditional yet charming Rishi. The plot is moderately paced as the romance between the pair flops, then flourishes. The characters are refreshing, even if familiar. Rishi has a hidden love of comics, Dimple is a feminist who secretly yearns to please her parents, and the “Aberzombies” are the superficial prep school kids who get their jollies by making Dimple and Rishi feel like outsiders. The strength of the story comes from its blending of Indian culture and values into a modern-day romance that scores of readers can enjoy. This novel touches on issues of identity while remaining light and fun. VERDICT A strong choice for any young adult collection. (School Library Journal March 2017)
In this bright and funny debut novel, Menon introduces two intellectually gifted teens from traditional Indian families who meet at a summer tech conference in San Francisco. The twist: Dimple and Rishi’s parents have arranged their marriage. Rishi is aware of the arrangement; Dimple is not. Rishi longs for a traditional marriage like the one his parents have, but Dimple is adamantly opposed to her parents’ efforts to push her toward the same, favoring a career and education over family. After a disastrous initial meeting (Dimple throws iced coffee at Rishi), the two creep toward friendship and love, a slow process recounted through their alternating points of view (often switching multiple times within a single chapter). This frequent back and forth provides a detailed play-by-play of the teenagers’ shifting emotions as Menon vividly conjures the joy, self-doubt, and humor of first love. Romance-loving readers will celebrate the ways that Rishi and Dimple learn to respect and appreciate their Indian heritage and traditions but also manage to go their own way. (Publishers Weekly March 27, 2017)
It’s not always as easy as boy meets girl. In the case of Rishi Patel and Dimple Shah, it’s more like boy is
arranged to marry girl, and girl attacks boy with iced coffee. In her delightful debut, Menon tells the story
of two Indian American teenagers, fresh from high school and eager for adulthood. While Rishi’s version
of growing up involves happily following his parents’ life plan (giving up art for engineering and
accepting an arranged marriage to Dimple), Dimple sees college as her chance to escape her immigrant
parents’ stifling expectations (which include little more than wearing makeup and finding a suitable Indian
husband). And yet, when Dimple and Rishi finally meet, they are both shocked to realize what it is they
truly want—and what they’re willing to sacrifice to get it. While Menon’s portrayal of the struggles of
Indian American teens is both nuanced and thoughtful, it is her ability to fuse a classic coming-of-age love
story with the contemporary world of nerd culture, cons, and coding camp, that will melt the hearts of
— Rebecca Kuss (Booklist April 1, 2017)
A clash of perspectives sparks this romantic comedy about two first-generation Indian-American teens whose parents set an arranged-marriage plan in motion, but it backfires big time—or maybe not? In the alternating voices of her two protagonists, Menon explores themes of culture and identity with insight and warmth. Seamlessly integrating Hindi language, she deftly captures the personalities of two seemingly opposite 18-year-olds from different parts of California and also from very different places regarding life choices and expectations. Insomnia Con, a competitive six-week summer program at San Francisco State focused on app development, is where this compelling, cinematic, and sometimes-madcap narrative unfolds. Dimple Shah lives and breathes coding and has what she thinks is a winning and potentially lifesaving concept. She chafes under her mother's preoccupation with the Ideal Indian Husband and wants to be respected for her intellect and talent. Rishi Patel believes in destiny, tradition, and the "rich fabric of history," arriving in San Francisco with his great-grandmother's ring in his pocket. He plans to study computer science and engineering at MIT. But what about his passion for comic-book art? They are assigned to work together and sparks fly, but Dimple holds back. Readers will be caught up as Rishi and Dimple navigate their ever changing, swoonworthy connection, which plays out as the app competition and complicated social scene intensify. Heartwarming, empathetic, and often hilarious, a delightful read. (Fiction. 14-adult) (starred review, Kirkus Reviews March 15th, 2017)
About the Author
Sandhya Menon is the author of WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI (Simon Pulse/May 30, 2017) and a second YA contemporary coming in the summer of 2018. She currently lives in Colorado, where she's on a mission to (gently) coerce her family to watch all 3,221 Bollywood movies she claims as her favorite.
Top Customer Reviews
Dimple has no plans to date anyone soon - and she especially has not intentions of being a part of an arranged marriage. She is ecstatic when her parents agree to let her be a part of a six week coding camp and have a little freedom doing something she loves. When on the first day Rishi introduces himself to her by declaring her to be his future spouse, Dimple immediately realizes her parents agreed to the coding camp because the son of some Indian friends would also be attending - and this would be a way they could spend time together.
Dimple tries to get rid of Rishi at first, but soon his kindness becomes evident to her. Although some readers might consider this storyline predictable, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked how gentlemanly Rishi was and appreciated his respect for his parents and his culture. I also liked Dimple's need to find her own way and appreciated her pushing back a little when it came to acting like a traditional Indian female. Menon has plenty of other action in this novel. There are subplots involving the coding competition at the camp, Dimple's roommate, and Rishi's brother.
While other reviewers (at this point, anyway), aren't giving it as much love as I am, I think this is a great novel for middle school and high school readers. Although I'm not even close to my teen years anymore, I appreciated this book for the fun romance it is and enjoyed Menon's deeper message (intentional or not) of pursuing one's passions, and getting to know someone before you judge them.
Dimple Shah wants to go to Stanford, focus on coding, and start her career. She would like to go to Insomnia Con this summer before she starts college to participate in the coding competition and possibly meet her idol Jenny Lindt.
Dimple isn't interested in clothes, contacts, or makeup. She definitely doesn't want a relationship or an "Ideal Indian Husband"--not right now and possibly not ever. When her parents agree to pay for Dimple to attend Insomnia Con, it feels like maybe they're both finally understanding who Dimple is and embracing her dreams and ambitions.
Then again, maybe not.
Rishi Patel knows that it's up to him to follow tradition and respect his parents' wishes. It's possible that Rishi isn't passionate about engineering or MIT but he knows he should stick to the responsible and safe choice.
Rishi is a romantic but he also wants a solid partnership in the future. He trusts his parents when they try to set up an arranged marriage with the daughter of family friends. It should be simple. Rishi can even meet her at Insomnia Con and woo her. It will be perfect.
Or will it?
Dimple and Rishi figure each other out pretty quickly. They have nothing in common. They want different things. But they also make each other laugh and might be able to help each other be their best selves--if they can just give each other a chance--in When Dimple Met Rishi (2017) by Sandhya Menon.
When Dimple Met Rishi is Menon's debut novel.
Menon's writing is filled with evocative descriptions of San Francisco over the course of the three weeks Dimple and Rishi spend there for Insomnia Con. Dimple and Rishi's relationship plays out against this backdrop of coding and competition along with a few side plots involving Dimple's roommate Cecelia and Rishi's younger brother Ashish.
When Dimple Met Rishi is a sweet romantic comedy with a lighthearted premise but it doesn't stop there. Dimple and Rishi are both first generation Indian-Americans (their parents immigrated from India) and they are dealing with it in different ways. Dimple rails against traditions and values that seem determined to relegate women to successful marriages and not much else; she wants to make her own way in the world and she isn't sure it matters if that goes against her parents' expectations. Rishi revels in being part of such an old and amazing culture; he places so much value on traditions that he's willing to sacrifice his own dreams because of them.
Although Dimple and Rishi are both eighteen they read young and feel like authentic teens facing big changes as summer ends and college approaches. Slow pacing toward the middle and some contrivances near the end of the book do little to diminish this enjoyable story. When Dimple Met Rishi is a thoughtful, clever read. A satisfying story about two teens who manage to find a lot to appreciate (including themselves) once they find each other. Highly recommended and guaranteed to leave readers smiling.
Possible Pairings: Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira, Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum, I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo, To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith, Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes, Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood
The Good: I adored the first half of When Dimple Met Rishi. I thought it was so cute and funny and it reminded me of the good romantic comedies of yore. Rishi's first line to Dimple about her being his future wife and her reaction to it had me in stitches. I had assumed that the rest of the book would be like this. A great mix of romance and comedy. However, it ended up being a ton of romance and not enough comedy for my liking.
The Eh: My biggest qualm with When Dimple Met Rishi was that for a book that's 380 pages, not a whole lot happens. Because of this, I ended up being somewhat bored with this book. When I put it down, I didn't really have much desire to pick it right back up. I also found Rishi to be slightly needy and Dimple a bit self-centered.
Overall, I wasn't a huge fan of When Dimple Met Rishi. I never really connected with the romance and since that was the focal point of the book, I never really connected with the book as a whole. I did like the beginning and did like the end, but the middle was a bit of a slog for me. However, it does seem like everyone else loves this, so you can take this review with the biggest grain of salt ever and check the book out for yourself.