When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publishing Date: May 30
Genre: young adult, contemporary, romance
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 wants nothing more than to be away from her family, immersing herself in college life and web development and all things coding. Rishi wants nothing more than to continue honoring his cultural roots, experiencing that big sweeping romance his parents had when they were arranged to be married. Little do they know, once their parents got wind both teens were interested in the same summer program, the arranged marriage between them would start taking flight earlier than expected.
I thoroughly enjoyed this romantic comedy. Everything about it screamed nerdy cute fun flails, and I especially loved the cultural elements in here. Though the novel did fall into some stereotypical YA tropes, I let it slide in favor of the great story beneath it all.
First, Dimple is such a fierce, determined, energetic young woman eager to embark on her own adventures and govern her own life by her own rules. I wanted to squeeze her in a hug every time she spoke up about feminism, females in the tech industry, and combining two cultures (being American and being Indian) instead of ignoring one and embracing another. I understood where she came from…but I also understood where Rishi came from! He’s such an artistic, romantic soul, who has to live up to his parents’ expectations. The difference is that he doesn’t find it to be a burden, at least not at first. As their romance blossoms, they both learn from one another — Dimple the importance of tradition and respect, Rishi the importance of independence and openness.
Second, the diversity in this novel isn’t a problem that needs fixing. There’s no agenda here. It’s open and honest and a character of the story. It’s not an issue, it’s just another life we have the privilege to experience and learn about. First generation Americans have that tough in-between role to play: living up to parents’ expectations within the “old” culture and traditions, and living up to friends’/society’s expectations within the “new” culture. Too often first generation Americans are asked, “Where are you from?” And in many ways, that’s shared in this novel too. I highly recommend reading this if you want to add more diversity to your TBR. Experience America through another’s eyes, and experience another culture’s expectations within America through two different perspectives. It’s bound to start conversations!
Though some major YA tropes do occur in this novel (all possible relationship milestones occur within six weeks, to give you an idea without blatantly spoiling), it didn’t take away from the entertainment and enjoyment of a feel-good contemporary romcom on a sunny California campus with a bunch of app-development nerds.
When Dimple Met Rishi is perfect for fans of Anna and the French Kiss. Get your hands on this book ASAP!
Thank you, Edelweiss, for providing this book from Simon Pulse for review!