From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publishing Date: May 22
Genre: young adult, contemporary
Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.
When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.
Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?
Twinkle has so many stories she wants to tell to inspire and empower, but she sees herself as a lowly “groundling,” someone too low to aspire to new heights. Especially since it feels like her BFF, Maddie, is already up there with the rich and popular crowd, leaving Twinkle behind. But when Sahil, twin brother to Twinkle’s crush Neil, offers to be a producer for one of her directed films for the local film festival, Twinkle sees this as her chance: to get closer to Neil, to win Maddie back, and to shine in the light. But as she works closely with Sahil and interacts more with the catty crowd Maddie’s around, she starts to wonder if what she wants is really worth the price to pay for fame.
This was a good, fun, clean YA that fans of When Dimple Met Rishi and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before will enjoy. Secretive emails, misunderstood romantic gestures, losing oneself in the midst of a big project, and finding ways to repair friendships and their growing pains are all packed into this novel. I enjoyed the way we read Twinkle’s thoughts in her diary, interspersed with Sahil’s texts with his friends and his infrequent blog posts. This is primarily Twinkle’s story though, with her fully understanding first love versus first crush, and her spiral as she wants to misguidedly rescue her best friend.
Though I didn’t enjoy it as much as Menon’s debut, I still enjoyed and appreciated the representation in here. The dynamics of friendship are always important to explore, and the ways in which we change and grow and adapt. Most of all, I liked the poverty rep in here. As someone who grew up in a thrifty family in the middle of an immensely wealthy community, I can understand Twinkle’s dilemmas. In fact, many of her interactions with classmates and their commentary on her poverty felt like exact conversations I experienced too — and my family was not as poor as Twinkle’s. This was refreshing to see, and I loved watching how Twinkle navigated “the system” with her head held high.
Sahil, though. I shall call him Squishy, and he shall be mine, and he shall be my Squishy. Ugh, what an adorkable ball of witty and intuitive fluff. 12/10 would’ve totally crushed on this kid in high school.
For anyone looking for a clean read, with adorable romantic bumbles and great commentary on maintaining friendship and the pains of social hierarchy, pick up this book!
Thank you, Edelweiss, for providing this book from Simon Pulse for review!