At Happy Indulgence, we’re big supporters of diverse books especially from own voices authors – authors who are writing from their own experience.
Recently, we picked up When Dimple Met Rishi after hearing about all the raves, and we loved every minute of it! It’s not often when all 3 of us agree on a book, so find out why we loved it so much…
1. IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE
You lose sight of the important things, Dimple. Looking nice, making an effort… these are the things girls value in our culture. Not this… ‘misogyny’ business.
Jeann: It’s always so exciting when a diverse book becomes a NYT bestseller! When Dimple Met Rishi has been hyped up so much, and I’m so glad it has because it was AMAZING.
I loved both of the characters and they way they had different mindsets when it came to dealing with their parents, who have moved from India to set up their roots in America. I definitely found their experience as second generation immigrations to be relatable – what did you guys think?
Aila: One word – incredible. I’ve literally been recommending When Dimple Met Rishi to all my friends who adore contemporary books. Since most of my friend group are first or second-generation students, it’s one of the few books that they could really connect to as well! The banter was absolutely delightful, and Dimple and Rishi’s first interaction was just TOO. HILARIOUS. (Let’s just say, Rishi really knows how to surprise a girl 😉 )
One of the reasons why I was so impacted by this book is because as a middle and high-schooler, most of the contemporaries I’ve read have been about white characters and their family/relationship drama. While they were decent reads, Own Voices books like When Dimple Met Rishi really brings out a whole ‘nother experience on the teenage lifestyle that I could really connect to. Both kinds of books include issues dealing with family, friends, and romances, but Dimple and Rishi’s narrative also discuss the importance of family traditions, and how that can affect a Westernized twentieth-century mentality that develops in the United States.
The push-and-pull between traditional values that celebrate a family’s origin and the marked influence of where a second generation immigrant is raised really tugged at my heart in this book – especially because this issue is something I’ve always dealt with while growing up, and still today.
Jenna: Like everyone else, I found the narrative to be really relatable. I really connected with the pressures of family and how that conflicted with my upbringing in a Western society. I’m constantly struggling with what my family, especially my grandparents, see as traditional female roles and my need to become an independent, career woman who is her own person. I thought When Dimple Met Rishi captured these aspects really well and I found myself nodding in agreement the entire time I was reading the novel.
2. COLLEGE SETTING
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.
Aila: Most of the book is set during the summer program at Stanford, where Dimple is set to attend for college. As a recently graduated high school student in America, I really enjoyed seeing the setting take place in this time of the characters’ lives. The discussion of college and major interests, friend circles, ostracism, and the general awkwardness that comes in a teen’s life as they navigate through meeting new peers and experiencing new events was just really refreshing and down-to-earth. I could easily imagine myself being each of these characters’ friend!
Jenna: I really enjoyed the college setting too. I obviously have never gone to college in America but I’ve been studying at university for way too long and my life revolves around it, so it was really great to see the excitement that people have about going to college and doing further study. The fact that both Dimple and Rishi were passionate about their studies just made my day!
Fanart drawn by Aila!
3. THE SHIPPABLE ROMANCE
…And then she smiled a smile so dazzling, Rishi tripped over his own feet.
Jenna: I really, really loved Dimple and Rishi’s interactions together. I connected to the both of them and found them to be a lot of fun. I really could see myself being friends with them too!! Rishi was definitely a sweetheart and a romantic, and their romance was by far my favourite aspect of the book. It’s been a while since a novel has made me swoon this much and I was clutching my chest every few pages because it was just so darn adorable!
Jeann: Yesss I shipped them so hard, and you guys know what I’m usually like about romances! I loved how she was totally creeped out by his advances at the start, but then Rishi actually turned out to be a super sweet guy. They are definitely what you call an OTP, the way he softens her softer edges and how she makes him more driven and confident.
You know what, Dimple actually reminded me a lot of myself as a teenager. I was really driven during my college days and wanted to achieve all my career and study goals before I settled down and started a family. Little did I know I met the partner, who I’m marrying in a few months not long after I started uni! I related a lot to how she was adverse to starting a relationship and even when she thought it would prevent her from achieving her goals. I definitely thought you would relate a lot to the college aspect of it Aila!
4. THAT ONE SCENE
So maybe all that other stuff that’s important to me can take a back seat for now. And maybe I’m totally fine with that… If you are?
Aila: Definitely, Jeann. I’m usually very lenient on contemporary recommendations, but When Dimple Met Rishi is definitely not one to be missed for this year. It’s light, it’s sweet, it’s charming, and it provides a distinctive voice through Indian-American teens that readers won’t find in any other recent YA contemporary.
Anyone up for some iced coffee?
Jenna: I totally had a caramel frappucino tonight!
Jeann: Nah I’m more of a milk tea person 😉
Jeann – 5 stars from me, I loved #ownvoices books and this one stood out to me for so many reasons!
Aila – 5 stars, and you can find my review here!
Jenna – 4.5 stars! I absolutely loved the adorable romance and the relatable immigrant experience.
Thank you to Hachette Australia for providing a review copy of the book.
Thanks for reading our discussion! Do any of these elements stand out to you? Let us know in the comments below!