The Book of My Dreams: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Posted May 29, 2017 by Nick/ 39 Comments

The Book of My Dreams: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya MenonWhen Dimple Met Rishi
by Sandhya Menon
Release Date: May 30th 2017
Published by Simon Pulse
Genres: Contemporary, Humor, Romance, YA
Format: ARC, Hardcover
Pages: 380
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Source: ARC received for review purposes

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.

ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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I have been raving about When Dimple Met Rishi since I read it in January. I have so much love for this book and the characters. I know it’s going to be one of those stories that I will re-read every year for how much joy that it brought me. I know a lot of readers have been describing When Dimple Met Rishi as a cute read, but to me it’s so much more than that. Not that there’s anything wrong with cute reads, but it’s a book that’s also brimming with culture, identity and themes of chasing your dreams and growing up.

I honestly could write a whole book about all the things I loved about When Dimple Met Rishi, but I’m going to control myself, because I want you all to experience it for yourself too. First things first, the characters. Never have I identified with characters so much as much as I did to Dimple and Rishi. They are both so different, but I saw bits and pieces of myself in the two of them. Dimple is smart (she’s a coder!), driven and absolutely passionate. She’s goal driven and works hard to achieve her dreams. I think lots of teens will see themselves in Dimple’s determination, fierceness and genuineness. She’s not perfect, obviously, which I loved by the way, and she has moments where she will have you wanting to shake her by the shoulders, but she is also a teenager. One of the best parts about Dimple’s character were her inner thoughts about struggling to really fit in anywhere as a daughter of South Asian immigrants. So many of her feelings rang true to me, as I’m also the daughter of South Asian immigrants. Despite her doubts though, Dimple is proud of her heritage, and absolutely loves her family even though they could be overbearing with their traditions at times.

Rishi, on the other hand, was much more traditional than Dimple was, totally willing to go with his parents’ plan for an arranged marriage for him. He was much more entrenched in his culture than Dimple was, but I liked that Menon showed that there wasn’t a right way to exhibit your culture through Rishi and Dimple’s contrasting approaches to their backgrounds. Just because you don’t follow certain traditions, does not make you any less part of that culture. Anways, back to Rishi. I loved this boy with every fiber of my being! He was soft, a gentleman, and very respectful of others. He is the nice boy that more YA readers need to be exposed to. His story arc features his inner battles with his parents desires for his future, and his passion for drawing comics. With a bit of a push from Dimple, he goes through a journey throughout When Dimple Met Rishi and finally learns to acknowledge what his true aspirations are.

Then there was the toe-curling romance was super shippy and made me want to jump in happiness. I love romances like Dimple’s and Rishi’s that buds from a slow-growing friendship. The two of them become comfortable around each other before falling in love. It was just the sweetest thing watching them go to through that process. When Dimple Met Rishi was also sex-positive. I 100% appreciated the conversation that Dimple and Rishi about what the expectations of their culture was when it came to sex and what they wanted. We need to have more YA books that have the couples discussing sex before they do the deed – it’s important and can be enlightening to teen readers. When Dimple Met Rishi also played homage to Bollywood movies, Indian culture, and family. As you may have already guessed from the synopsis, the book is about arranged marriage, and I appreciated that Sandhya Menon showed it in a positive light. I think there’s this misconception that arranged marriages are toxic, and while that’s undeniably true in many cases, many couples have found love that way in many South Asian cultures.

Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to give When Dimple Met Rishi a try. I didn’t know just how much I was waiting for a book with a brown girl on the cover, and about brown kids falling in love in YA until I read it. I cried when I held the book in my hands because diversity is important, people and I’m a freaking 23 year old woman. Just imagine how thrilled brown teenage girls will see themselves being represented! Sandhya Menon’s debut is rainbows, and sunshine and unicorns and all things good! I can’t wait for whatever she releases next – it’s taking everything in me not to attempt to hack into her computer to steal her next book!

What are some of your favorite books that explore cultural identities?
Let me know in the comments below!

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  • kindlemom1

    I love books that you can totally relate to, they really are the best. Yay for this one being one of those books for you Nick!

  • So many people love this book, I can`t wait to read it. I was a bit worried of insta-love, but from what I`ve gathered, that doesn`t seem to be the case with this book.

    • There’s no insta-love, Georgiana. 🙂

  • I am so intrigued by this one. Everyone is raving about it

    • Eep I hope you try it!

  • Everyone seems to love this book!

    • It deserves all the praise.

  • I’m so happy you loved this one and that you got to see yourself represented in these characters! I’ve heard nothing but glowing reviews for this book, and I couldn’t be more excited to read it. Smart, driven girl protagonist + soft boys + sex-positive YA + Indian culture… I mean, come on, it sounds perfect. Fantastic review, Nick! 🙂

    • You will adore this! I can guarantee it. 🙂

  • I adored this one too Nick! It was SO SO SO good. I haven’t had a 5-star read since I read this one.

    • I’m so happy this was a hit for you, Bee! But boo, you need more 5 star reads!

  • Morgan @ The Bookish Beagle

    Your review makes me so happy!!! I love how much you loved it 🙂 I haven’t had the chance to read it yet but my copy has shipped and I can’t wait to get my hands on it tomorrow! Your mood board is amaaazing and you know I love a good shippy romance. But I also love books that have that something extra and I love learning about other cultures. I really appreciated what you said about the author showing that there isn’t a right way to interact with your own culture. I’m Jewish but not very observant and sometimes I feel like I’m not Jewish enough, even though that’s silly… This book sounds amazing in every way, I can’t wait to read it and can’t wait for other South Asian teens to see themselves in it like you did 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Morgan. I’m so excited for you to read it. Yes, I loved how she approached culture. Only you can decide your relationship with your culture.

  • Aw I love how much you loved this!!! I really want to get this one soonish and read it. It sounds adorable plus I love that is diverse and I can read about different culture. Great review and love the graphic!

    • You will adore this one. I can’t wait for you to read it.

  • I love to read about different cultures. Great review!

  • I’m so excited to read this Nick with its wonderful take on rich culture, family, and shippy romance!! I’m so happy this one resonated with you in the best of ways. Gorgeous review, my friend!! 🙂

    • Kim, you will so love this one! I can’t wait to hear all your thoughts.

  • This does sound interesting. I don’t read a lot of YA books, but your review has me hankering for this one. Thanks for sharing.

    • This is one of those books that would appeal to both YA and non-YA lovers. 🙂

  • This book has been on my radar for ages, and I’m so glad to hear it living up to the high expectations. I love the cover. It’s so cute.

    • I’m glad it’s getting all the buzz. And right? So cute!

  • I overlooked this because the cover looked like a cheesy teen read but now I am seeing so many positive reviews so I requested it. I want to know more about the culture and the identity of these characters. I had to set aside the new Emery Lord book this morning. It was too close to what I have been through and it brought back too many emotions for me. Maybe I can read it another time.

    • Ah yes, I can definitely understand why Emery’s new book is hard for you. 🙁 This one is good, Heidi. It will cheer you up.

  • Oh Nick, this just sounds so adorable! I love that it highlights the Southern Asian culture in a realistic way, and you were able to relate to it so well. You know, I have no issues with an arranges marriage, as long as it’s to a hottie, of course! Lol! Just kidding. Still, I can understand why a family would want to arrange a coupling that’s advantageous to both parties. Hey, we read about arranged marriages all the time in our beloved historical romances that work out wonderfully. Granted that is fiction and most of the time fantasy, but who knows? Our divorce rate it 50% by usual methods!!! Wonderful review! 🙂

    • Haha, Rachel. Funny how a lot of time in HR the arranged marriage winds up being to a hot guy no? Thank you!

  • Nick, you’ve made me even more excited to read this book than I already was…which is saying a lot. A cute, diverse romance is one thing; a story that also discusses the nuances of cultural identity, the tension of traditions and modernity, and the portrayal of a sex-positive relationship with healthy communication is a whole other level. I need a copy of this in my hands ASAP! I’m so stoked for this one. 😀

    • Ahhh I can’t wait for you to read it, Danya. I want to hear all your thoughts. I hope you love it as much as I did.

  • Amanda @ Vivalabooks

    YAY! I have such high expectations for this book, and I’m so glad everyone is loving this one! I’m all for diversity and this romance sounds so sweet! Can’t wait to read it!

    • I hope you love it, Amanda. 🙂

  • Jazmen

    I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book. I’m sorry I turned down an opportunity to read an ARC of it. But I’m definitely going to try it now that it’s out.

    • Ahh! That sucks that you turned it down. Next time you get opportunities, come to me, lol! 😉

  • OMG I love the way you shared what both Dimple and Rishi are like towards their culture and I just love how affirming you are – because there’s no right or wrong way to experience one’s culture. I loved how it’s about arranged marraige and banishes the misconception, and yay for it being sex-positive! I’m so glad you enjoyed it Nick and I can’t wait to pick it up!

    • Exactly! I think that’s always a worry of mine when there are POC children of immigrant parents. Dimple & Rishi are Indian AND American, and Menon shows that really well. I hope you love it, Jeann.

  • Nick, I know I say this all the time but you have fully convinced me I need to read a book I have had in my pile of ARCs ASAP! This sounds brilliant. I mean, I was already excited to read because it was an awesome diverse read but the fact it does a brilliant job of showing arranged marriage in a positive light when it comes to South Asian culture is brilliant. And yay for awesome characters. I need this book to be read like now.

    • EEP! I can’t wait for you to read it, Becky. I have my fingers crossed that you will adore the book as much as I did.

  • Rummanah Aasi

    *High Five* I don’t think I related to a book so hard as to this one. And I 120% agree with you in showing arranged marriage in a positive light. The fight between tradition and own desires is a fight that I deal with daily. It’s nice to see that you’re not alone in that fight.