When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Published May 30th 2017
a lot of hype … and …
sort of meh at best actually
“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.”
What I Liked
There were moments in this book that were extremely cute. The concept was adorable. I loved Rishi and Dimple’s first encounter. I actually really enjoyed this book until one specific scene where it all went downhill fast for me (see below). I loved Rishi and I enjoyed Dimple when she was being the Dimple from the beginning of the book (more on this later). I also really enjoyed the way that culture and society issues were handled in this book.
What I Did Not Like
Oh boy … Dimple. Dimple, Dimple, Dimple. I really thought Dimple was going to be the strong outspoken confident-in-her-own-skin sort of character I was craving! The beginning of this book gave me that and boy was it refreshing! I mean she stood up for her beliefs, did things confidently on her own, and refused to wear makeup for god’s sake! Unfortunately Dimple’s characterization ended up being a bit unreliable. One moment she is standing up to people and speaking her mind not giving a fuck… then the next minute she is timid quiet they-are-looking-at-me Dimple. Like … pick a character and go with it because Dimple changed her personality like normal people change underwear! I hated it. I specifically hated whiny Dimple because outspoken down-for-whatever Dimple was definitely more relatable for me personally. And not that there is anything wrong with an introverted character. Some of my favorites have been introverts … but like … is it just me or is the unpopular introvert “ugly” girl who loves to read trope sort of exhausted in YA contemporary or what?! I feel like I need to re-read Lady Midnight to get an Emma Carstairs kickass outspoken-I-know-who-I-am fix after this!
But I digress …
Overall … it was not either personality that bothered me most … it was the sheer fact that it was not consistent AT ALL!
Speaking of tropes I am SO over … how about this …
NO to rich shaming
NO to popular shaming
NO to fraternity/sorority shaming
There was so much of these awful tropes in this book that I had to assume that the author’s high school experience must have made her bitter as fuck. Like I wasn’t any of those things … and my high school experience was really shitty (maybe I’ll write a book about it later) … but I know a lot of private school rich popular kids who were normal non-douche bags. I mean for god’s sake … my husband was a fraternity boy and he is not an asshole misogynistic douche … most days 😛 (kidding, kidding).
Aside from a certain clique of these kids being portrayed as the devil’s spawn from the moment they stepped on the scene (and quite awkwardly so might I add) … but Dimple seriously didn’t even try to be nice to them. Maybe this is just me again … being a moderator personality … I like to find common ground with even the most unpleasant of humans … I at least TRY! There was one scene in particular that I spent maybe half a day bitching about to my innocent bystander of a friend. I’m just going to skim over my rant a bit because I could spend way too much time here to be honest. *MEDIUM SPOILER* At one point Dimple and Rishi are to meet with with Dimple’s roommate and her “friends” (the rich assholes … I mean how dare they be rich … gods!) and they arrive early. Dimple talks about how she is going to give them a chance but it is obvious that she has resigned to being the weird bitchy girl glaring in the corner at best. Not a good way to start. The obviously-demon-spawn-private-school kids arrive and … Dimple is pretty much a bitch right off the bat. She corrects someone on the pronunciation of their own name, she insults one guy’s lack of cultural interest (um … wasn’t she just bitching about some cultural things in the beginning of this book?), she gets offended when one girl tries to lighten the mood and stop a fight, she insults the richy-rich-kids when they are talking about where they like to go on vacation (obviously places rich kids go … ug the nerve of them being rich!). And honestly Rishi isn’t much better! In fact he orchestrates a lot of it! He lets the situation get the best of him and becomes a bit of a dick himself. This seemed out of character for him actually and I feel like it may have been him reacting more to the fact that Dimple was feeling attacked. And yes … as it turns out these kids end up being pretty shitty humans … but that could have been developed a bit more naturally and with at least SOME effort on Dimple and Rishi’s part. But of course that brings me back to the point that I’m a little over this damn-you-rich-popular-kids trope. *END SPOILER*
I hated the fact that Dimple’s personality was all over the place and how stuck-up both her and Rishi were when it came to this one group of rich popular kids. How the author portrayed them immediately as the worst people in the world really irked me. This could have been developed better in my opinion. Also … can I rage about the fact that Dimple and Rishi said shit about fraternities and sororities and how it was “paying for friends” in a condescending conversation … because obviously they are too good for such groups. Um … it’s actually a club, a community, a sisterhood or brotherhood … something to have pride in. A group of similar individuals who do things for the college and the community. Yeah they party … but that’s not all they do! And like with all groups of people there are normal people and shitty people. But what is up with this societal misconception bullshit on fraternities and sororities?! STOP THIS TROPE OH MY GODS!!!
Ok … that’s out of my system. Now you feel sorry for my friend who had to listen to me bitch like this for hours don’t you?
Another thing that really bothered me was the total abandonment of the plot I THOUGHT I was going to get. You know … kids up all night, coding shit, trying to make their dreams happen. But everyone seemed to have an awful lot of free time for something named “Insomnia Con” … like when were they even working on their project? It is only mentioned a very few times and never in detail. Like … they never worked on it! *MAJOR SPOILER* No wonder they didn’t win! *END SPOILER* They did spend a lot of time preparing for the talent show though which … um had nothing to do with coding AT ALL! Honestly, this shouldn’t have even been in there. I think it was really just another opportunity for the author to show us what misogynistic assholes men are! ARG OVER IT! Just scrap the stupid talent show idea … it doesn’t work here. Put that in another book and give us more coding. I mean we got a lot of Rishi and his passion of art and drawing (which I loved) … but poor Dimple and her passion was skated over in this plot (which I thought was the MAIN plot?) for no reason at all.
Anyway … the book wrapped up nicely with it’s cutesie fairy-tale ending like everyone expects which was really pleasant and nice and cute … but I honestly could not enjoy this book fully. Even if these issues had not bothered me or occurred to me … this still would have been a decent book at best. It was by no means a super hype-worthy 5 star read. Oh well … on to the next one.