When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon /★★★☆☆
Summary: Dimple Shah’s dream is to break out of her parents’ mold, go to Stanford and become a web developer. Rishi Patel is a romantic who values tradition and seeks to honor his parents. When an arranged marriage and a competition brings them together, things don’t go as expected for either of them.
“What are you asking? Why would I want to go out with you if it doesn’t involve marriage as the end result?”
Dimple was grateful for the misty darkness. “Yeah,” she said quietly. “I thought that was the whole point for you. Marriage, following your parents’ wishes, all of that. And if it is, then I’m definitely not the right girl for you.”
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary/Romance
This book was very cute, and there was a whole lot of good stuff going on in it, but unfortunately it wasn’t my kind of book. I really wanted to enjoy it more than I did, especially since the hype gave me high expectations, but a part of me knew I was taking a chance when I picked it up. I’m not much into books that might fall into the category of “romantic summer reads,” but there are always exceptions and I kept hearing how cute this book was, and I was drawn by the diversity and very intrigued by the arranged marriage plot line.
This book was a great representation of Indian culture in America. The individual struggles Dimple and Rishi had with their identities was my favorite aspect of the book- as Indian-Americans living under cultural expectations, as teenagers living under pressure of their own talents and dreams, and as two people navigating a relationship for the first time and trying to make it theirs. Dimple resisted the expectations she felt her parents enforcing on her, and Rishi embraced his traditional values and felt it was a part of him, and I enjoyed how both of their viewpoints contrasted and were challenged. I loved the cultural insight this book delved into.
I think my biggest disappointment comes from the fact that the arranged marriage didn’t play as big a part as I expected and was rather dismissed, which, for me, disbanded the romantic tension I had hoped would come out of it. They got along too fast and too soon, and since tension is 90% of the fun for me when it comes to romance, I just wasn’t feeling it. It made the romantic parts drag, and by the time I got halfway through the book I’d lost a lot of my luster for the story. Their competition fizzled for me and I found the ending was too neat. But I wanted to give this book a try and I’m glad I did. The romantic plotline was just a little too outside the realm of my tastes. If you enjoy light, cute summer reads I’d definitely give this a shot.
Dimple and Rishi felt like those pieces of a puzzle that connect two very different parts of the whole picture together, so that at first glance you’d never think they’d fit, but they go together perfectly. I liked that Dimple challenged cultural expectations, not simply her family’s or her heritage’s, but the academic world’s. Her dream is to be a web developer, which is a man-dominated field. She wants to achieve her own dreams, not those given to her by those who came before her. Rishi, on the other hand, loves his culture and wants nothing more than to honor his parents. I really liked how I could relate to both Dimple and Rishi in their ideals and convictions.
Rishi was precious, and his inner ramblings made me laugh at times. I liked how he stuck to his principles but also learned to believe more fully in himself. I could feel that pretty deeply. And I liked Dimple’s headstrong side and I liked her soft heart. I liked how Dimple and Rishi came together and challenged each other’s goals and ideals. They were fun and insightful leads, and I liked how they fit, but I just wasn’t invested in their relationship like I wish I was.
I found the secondary characters to be rather one-dimensional, and it made it really hard for me to invest in the aspects of the plot that pertained to them. I was intrigued by Celia and Ashish, though, and could have become invested in them if they had been given more time and development.
The writing was alright, rather straight forward with flowery prose that didn’t always hit the mark for me.
Was I satisfied?
Alas…I was not into it. I think it’s a case of a hyped book and a genre of YA that just isn’t for me. I liked the cultural aspects, but the overall plot didn’t hook me and the romance didn’t grip me. I’m glad I gave it a chance, and it’s a really great summer read if that’s your kind of thing. I do love the cover though.