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!
Check out my Twitter aesthetics for this story:
I reread this book as a part of May’s Asian Lit Bingo, founded by Shenwei @ Reading As I Am. You can find the masterpost here, and join in!
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Oooh, nice review. I’m still looking for a copy of this book, sadly. I heard so many great things about it by now, and now that it’s became a NYT best seller… I can’t contain my excitement! Thanks for the lovely insight. Followed your blog for good measure. I found it via the #AsianLitBingo linkup. 😉
Riza of Coffee-Stained Dreams
Yay, thanks so much Riza! <3 I can't wait for you to get your hands on this one 😀
Aila J. recently posted…Stargazing for Beginners Review: Seeing Stars from the Confusing Lack of Plot
Yay! I'm so happy to see that you loved this, Aila! I'm definitely looking forward to all the fun and cuteness. And I think I'll really Rashi, haha! Fantastic review!
Thanks so much Cyn! I hope you love this one as well 😀
OH MY GOD AILA YES YES YES! I am so glad you loved this as much as me and it was such a fantastic book that it deserves ALL THE STARS! Also your fan art is so cute, I love it!
Thanks so much Anisha! I CAN'T RAVE ABOUT THIS BOOK ENOUGH OMG. All the stars and beyonnndddd~
This sounds so incredibly adorable Aila! I love how they first get to know each other as friends and the struggle that they go through sounds very relatable. I will have to get a copy for myself!
I totally recommend it Jeann! It's definitely a contemporary that will stick to my heart for years to come 😀
I can't wait to get a copy. I usually steer clear of hyped books, but you know I love my contemporary reads during the summer.
Yess Lekeisha, this is a perfecttt contemporary read for the summer. 😀 I hope you love it! (And imo it's definitely worth the hype…. and more!)
Gahhh this book has my heart. <3 This was my last 5-star read haha and I read it in March. This is sad. xD But also YAS because this book has so much win.
YES 5 STAR.
But noo, so long ago. :'( I guess it's hard for a book to make a comeback after this awesomeness! I hope you get another 5 star soon. 😀
Lovely review, I am so happy to hear you loved this book so much – I see everyone reading and loving it so far, I'm eager to finally be able to get it soon 🙂
I hope you love this one as well when you get the chance to pick it up Marie. <3
Ahhh I've been ready for this book since forever!
I can't wait to read it. 😀
Yess Joy, imo it's definitely worth the wait because all the FEELS will be experienced when you finally pick it up. 😀
Erghhhh I want to read this book even more now!
Yayyy, it's definitely worth the wait!!
I'm so glad you liked it! I'm really excited about this one even though I normally don't read YA contemporary, I'm definitely going to read this one! It just looks like the perfect summer read!
This is DEFINITELY a YA contemporary to check out, even if you don't read contemps that much Lynn. I hope you love this one as much as I did! (And absolutely perfect for a summer read)
I can't wait to read this! I've heard so many wonderful things about this book! It sounds adorable and like a really amazing contemporary read! Great review! 🙂
I can't wait for you to read this one as well! 😀 I hope it does not disappoint after all this hype hehe. (I'm sure it won't tbh)
Brilliant review Ailah! I've had this one on my TBR for a while and I'm so glad to see you enjoyed it. I love the concept of a friendship developing into something more, and the ties with their culture makes it special too. Thanks for sharing 🙂
I'm glad you like it – thanks for reading! Friendship to something else = best relationship part in this book. It was just too adorable to read about!
Glad you enjoyed it! I can't wait to read it, the characters seem adorable and it has positive representation of arranged marriage! 🙂
Yayy for positive representation of arranged marriage! I thought it was super realistic too, because I know many of my Indian friends are waiting for an arranged marriage (where they meet up due to parents and all).
This is one I am super excited to get to. Sounds cute and love it has diverse characters and I am always up for a California setting. Glad you enjoyed this one. Great review!!
Thanks Grace! The diverse characters and gorgeous setting were just one of the small reasons why I adored this one!
I'm just totally dying to get my hands on this book finally!
Yay Pili! The release date is not so far off 😀
I really liked this too! It was so nice to read a book with more than one Indian character in it. I did have a couple of issues, but overall, it as really fun, and I loved how they got to know each other over the story. great reveiw!
Ooh I'm sorry you had a couple of issues with it. Still, I'm glad you managed to enjoy it in the end though. :'D The romcom parts were soo hilarious – probably my fave!