Book Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon cover

When Dimple Met Rishi
by Sandhya Menon
Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: May 30th 2017
Rating: Much adorableness

I had this book preordered from pretty much the moment that it was on sale.  A non-angsty book about two Indian-American teenagers whose parents have arranged for them to get married.  Oh, my God(s) I must have it! And for the most part, it lived up the intense inner hype.  This is the book version of the dopey look you get on your face when you think about someone that you are falling in love with.  Warm, funny, and full of heart. 

The book has an alternating third-person POV of Dimple and Rishi.  The obvious choice would have probably been to go with the first person for this conceit.  I am glad that Sandhya Menon did not choose to write the book that way because of all too often the voices of the two characters aren't distinct enough.  With both POV having a single voice the change in perspective is still there, but the book still has a cohesive narrative voice.  Very effective.

Dimple and Rishi were both funny, awkward, and incredibly relatable.  I loved them as a couple.  They have a lot in common, but they also have different internal speeds which are interesting to watch bounce off of one another.  Dimple is buzzing, intense, and ready to go all the time while Rishi is relaxed and smooth. Often when they say the wrong things to one another, it is because of this.  Dimple reacts and speaks before reflecting, and Rishi has thought it through so much that he forgets that he didn't say it out loud. I love how real that makes them feel.

This is our life. We get to decide the rules. We get to say what goes and what stays, what matters and what doesn’t.

There was a great balance between being Indian and having that be important to them and being two crazy kids falling in love.  One part of their story is never sacrificed for the other.  There is quite a bit of Hindi in the book. Most have to be gotten through context. I googled a lot of the words and looked up a cheat sheet to Indian clothing just because I like knowing exactly what is being talked about.

Dimple is pulled between her love and appreciation for her parents on one hand and her desire to figure out who she is on her own on the other.  Her frustration and outbursts are understandable but so is the closeness that she feels with her parents.

Rishi is an interesting character.  He has set his life up in a way that guarantees the path of least resistance.  At first, I thought that he was just sort of lazy and only interested in being comfortable all the time. But as the book goes on you see that he has trapped himself with his own idea of who he is and who he should be. I loved his journey of overcoming self-imposed limitations.

Let's not kid ourselves, though.  We are all here for the cute.  And, man, was this cute. The whole story was super sweet, but I never found it to be cheesy.  The weakest part was the plotting. Not much happened outside of Dimple and Rishi. Well, stuff happened, but I was always waiting for them to be alone together again.

I am wondering, as much as I loved this, if it would have been better set during the summer after college graduation rather than high school graduation.  Maybe it is the marriage thing (although that is talked about in term of being ten years away even in theory) but the story seems more about that step into adulthood than going off to college.  It didn't bother me as I was reading but it was something that I have been thinking about.

 When Dimple met Rishi is a great read for the summer. I smiled my way through it and will be looking for more from Sandhya Menon. 

From Goodreads:

The rom-com that everyone’s talking about! Eleanor & Park meets Bollywood in this hilarious and heartfelt novel about two Indian-American teens whose parents conspire to arrange their marriage.

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.