Published by Simon Pulse on May 30th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.
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.
If you could only read one contemporary book for the first half of 2017, this definitely has to be one of the top contenders. When Dimple Met Rishi showcases diverse characters in the sunny setting of California with extremely realistic situations and a wonderful exploration of family, friendship, and romantic relationships. Suffice it to say, I a-d-o-r-e-d this book.
Readers get to see the story unfold through the eyes of both Rishi and Dimple, as we go back and forth from their POV’s. Dimple’s Stanford-bound, despite the protests of her traditional Indian parents. She wants to seize this opportunity for independence and to pursue her passions in technology. To further this passion, she participates in Stanford’s summer program where a pair of people have to compete to create the best app. Throughout these decisions, she gets her mother’s reluctant acceptance and father’s unconditional support – all the while fighting her mother’s push towards an ideal Indian husband and becoming a homemaker. I love reading through Dimple’s narration and her fun, vibrant voice. She’s always been on the quiet side of things, especially experiencing low key insults in school, but college is definitely going to be a different experience.
I.I.H., for the uninitiated, stood for Ideal Indian Husband.
Uggghh. Just thinking about it made her want to banshee-scream into a pillow.
Rishi, on the other hand, is a more obedient son to his traditional parents and becomes Dimple’s partner in the summer program. He is also SO. CUTE. Can I have one of him for myself please? He’s deeply engrossed with his culture and just so, so sweet and kind to the people around him. He’s always grown up with expectations on his shoulders, especially since his younger brother goes against his parent’s traditional views, so he has to pick up the slack. Rishi goes to the summer program with expectations that Dimple knew of him and their probable arranged marriage. Dimple, on the other hand, is in for a huge (and quite unpleasant) surprise.
After the initial surprise, they start getting to know each other as friends and work together to win the grand prize for the summer program. While Dimple is passionately pursuing her dream of coding, Rishi – who is MIT-bound for engineering – pushes back his art pursuits in favor of his family’s expectations. It may take a meddling (yet caring) friend to set his heart and mind free to follow where his passions lead, despite family influence. He’s so selfless and compassionate and humble, making him super endearing and lovable.
Rishi knew from watching his parents that what mattered were compatibility and stability. He didn’t want a million dramatic, heart-stoppingly romantic moments – he wanted just one long, sustainable partnership.
The other characters in this book include Celia, Dimple’s roommate and new friend, and Ashish, Rishi’s younger, more carefree brother. Their personalities were also explored quite thoroughly, and I loved watching them become fleshed out, three-dimensional characters. From the Bollywood references to sex positive scenes, I’ve connected to the characters in When Dimple Met Rishi in a way no other contemporary YA book has made me feel. The connection to a heritage that they may or may not know; the pursuit of passions that lead to a path made by the heart over the mind; all of these components make this an incredibly realistic, relatable, and down-to-earth contemporary that just tugs at your heartstrings.
‘When you think about it, our families are back in India, about eight thousand miles away. And they’re still so intricately connected to us. We have their names, their rituals, their traditions. Their dreams sit behind our eyelids. I think it’s beautiful.’
The romance was so adorkable! Both Dimple and Rishi are a pair of dorks, and I love them and their budding relationship so much. It’s a gradual progression, but you can definitely tell that they’re attracted to each other despite the potential arranged marriage (or little push, you could say) from their parents. I was smiling while reading the book, and kept smiling even after the last page was read.
And Rishi, gods help him, thought, I could look at that smile every day and never get tired of it.
I can’t say how much I absolutely adore this book, its characters, and all it has to offer. It touched my heart in the best of ways, and I’ll definitely be rereading this in the upcoming years as well. Dimple and Rishi’s story is unforgettable, charming, sweet, and dorky: components that any contemporary reader would enjoy reading.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Thank you Simon & Schuster for the review copy!
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