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.
(This review is part one of two of my collaboration with Sometimes Leelynn Reads. Check back for my response to her review on this book tomorrow :])
I thought that once I finished this book, all of my mixed feelings would finally settle and I’d know how I really felt about it. But that didn’t happen. So, I’m giving this three stars because I am simultaneously loving and hating this book at the same time.
First things first, I really enjoyed the characters in this story, individually. Dimple is a head-strong, bad ass, nontraditional Indian girl who doesn’t care if she’s “supposed to get married to the IIM” (Ideal Indian Man). She is passionate about coding and web design and has no desire to worry over a boy. Point blank. Rishi is such a sweet guy and has a love for the traditions that make up his family and culture. He actually wants to meet his “practical” wife at eighteen, picked for him by his parents. They are polar opposites in this way. And by themselves, I absolutely loved them both.
So Rishi and Dimple end up at Insomnia Con together, thanks to their parents, but only Rishi is aware of their planned meeting (and hopefully engagement, marriage, future kids, etc). Dimple has no idea this is all happening. She thinks her parents are finally supporting her passion. So she meets Rishi at Insomnia Con and finds out the truth- that her parents had planned this all- and she immediately is repulsed by all things Rishi Patel related. And of course, this quickly fades away and Dimple finds herself not only attracted to Rishi but in love with him.
Soooooo, here’s why I don’t care for this relationship: Dimple and Rishi both changed themselves for the sake of being with the other person. More so, Rishi did the sacrificing (giving up his love for the traditions) but there was certainly a change in Dimple as well. The whole thing felt overwhelmingly… teenager-y. I mean, they knew they loved each other after three weeks of knowing each other. And I’m not saying that’s not possible!! Love has literally no limits, I do not care what anyone says. But it still felt very off to me to see the author make Dimple somehow okay with giving up what she had been so adamant about- not having a boyfriend.
I probably sound ridiculous right now, but it’s always these little things in books that bother me. I’m waaaay too cynical for these cutesy love stories, honestly.
There were a couple other small things that irked me incessantly: the sudden time jump. We spent 84% (I checked) on the first three weeks of Insomnia Con. We see them get their relationship going and then all of a sudden the rest of Insomnia Con has passed and Dimple doesn’t want to be with Rishi anymore because of one special word: domesticated. I also found a few discrepancies in this book that really bugged me when I noticed them. Sometimes, I think the author might’ve forgotten what she had previously written, because out of nowhere the timing would mess up. Here’s an example:
Dimple is talking to Celia about the talent show and has this thought: “When they’d talked last night, she said she hadn’t decided, and she hadn’t really seemed interested in talking to Dimple about it.” Here’s the issue with this sentence: the talent show was just announced that day, and Celia had just been told by her partner about the absolutely ridiculous performance she was supposed to be apart of, that day. Soo… how did they talk about it last night? Here’s another:
Dimple and Rishi are getting ready for their talent show and this is what we read: “Dimple had her Covergirl stuff she’d had since ninth grade, when Mamma had forced her to buy some for the Diwali celebration.” Here’s the issue with this one: Dimple says when she first arrives at Insomnia Con that she didn’t bring any makeup with her (because readers have to understand just how different Dimple is from other girls). I know you’re probably thinking, “geez, lady. Don’t be so analytical; no one else cares about this stuff.” And you’re probably right! But I think about it. And it bugs me.
Apart from these things, there was still apart of me that wanted to enjoy this book, a part of me that couldn’t fully hate it. I think I have this really special appreciation for Dimple’s defiance against the misogynistic beliefs and practices trying to be forced on her by her mother and culture. I AM NOT trying to disrespect the culture!!! I unfortunately know very little about the Indian culture and am certainly not trying to step on any toes. I was just annoyed with Dimple constantly being told she needed a husband, kids, makeup, contacts, longer hair, physical perfection. And I was really glad that Dimple didn’t take this BS and chose to do everything her own way. I love seeing women prosper!!! Go Dimple and her wonderful app and Jenny Lidt for making it possible for Dimple ♥
I also really loved that despite the contradiction to what they may personally believe in, all of the parent’s in this story eventually came around to letting their children live a nontraditional life that would make them happy, instead of an unhappy life full of tradition. I don’t have any traditions in my family, and am held back by nothing. My mother is extremely supportive and would never care who I was in a relationship with (or not in a relationship with), regardless of race, sex, religious association, etc. So I can’t even begin to understand what it might feel like to feel the need to live by what makes your parents happy. But I am glad that both Rishi and Dimple were finally able to live the lives that they wanted, instead of the lives that their parents wanted for them.
This book is super duper cutesy and I’m not huge on those books. But I loved reading a contemporary YA that I’d covered things that I’ve never gotten any insight on. Contemp. YA is overcrowded with white teenager problems and I’m not saying I don’t enjoy them sometimes… but I think it’s good that there are more diverse books out there for others to be properly represented in this genre (though there should be waaayyy more, still). In all honesty, I didn’t really care if Rishi and Dimple got back together, though I knew in typical YA romance fashion, they would. I was more concerned on whether or not Dimple would win Insomnia Con and get her app on the market (still so excited for this kick ass fictional female who made shit happen!!!). I think Rishi is amazing and should probably be a nonfictional character so girls could swoon over him because it would definitely happen. At the end of the book, I decided that I’m not mad at it. I don’t feel like I wasted my money, and I’m glad I got to read it. I do wish there was some things that had been different, but hey, I almost always do.