Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Publication Date: May 30th, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
This book has been everywhere and on every list lately. It was one of my most anticipated of the year actually. Dimple is ready to start college, but first she really wants to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers. Her parents on the other hand, are more focused on finding her the “Ideal Indian Husband.”
Rishi is a hopeless romantic who has wholeheartedly agreed with is parents to an arranged marriage. And when he finds out his future wife—Dimple—is going to be attending a summer program a short while away, he thinks why not? Problem is, Dimple has no clue who he is, and their introduction is anything both smooth—cue iced coffee throwing.
I adored this story. It was full of smiles, laughs, and truly precious moments. It is also a uniquely diverse young adult read, with Indian characters in my opinion being all too often absent from the story.
When Dimple Met Rishi is told in dual point of view between the two teens. All in all, everything is mostly character driven here, but they’re really the best part—as it so often is with contemporaries, with nothing fancy in setting or such. Because of that I’m just going to jump into the characters.
Dimple is maybe one of my favorite young adult contemporary protagonists. She is Indian, and while that is important to her, she also grew up in America. This forces her to have a kind of internal culture clash with who she is and her parents. Dimple loves coding and programing, is fiercely independent and strong-minded. She isn’t into makeup or “girly” things and is overall just unconcerned about appearence.
First, I love reading about diverse characters. But also, Dimple felt like a truly relatable and modern teenage girl. And she’s so driven, it’s refreshing to read a book about a woman who is truly passionate and focused on her career.
Rishi was not my favorite at the start. He’s just so on board with the arranged marriage thing and the way he approached Dimple, I was like come on dude. But as the story went on he became very endearing and sweet, totally no pressure coming from him despite how his original expectations are different. Despite how I’m not for arranged marriages, his commitment to his culture and family was especially nice to read about.
I am obviously not an expert on Indian culture and values and seeing that was unique to read about—I haven’t read a young adult book with Indian protagonists. He because of his commitment to his culture has become the responsible, do what one’s parents wish child.
Then there is his love for art. I loved that. I love whenever creativity is put into stories. But like I said, Rishi is so focused on appeasing his parents and keeping to his culture that art is not seen as a respectable.
Besides that we have some side characters, there are these group of “Abercrombie wanna-be’s” that show kind of the negative reaction some people have to people of different cultures and backgrounds—such as social and economic class. I think they were a really realistic contrast. Additionally, Dimple’s roomate is a fun friend and Rishi’s brother makes an appearance. Both kind of work as opposites to Dimple and Rishi, which make them great sounding boards as well as some sources of tension.
Then there’s the parents. Both teens feel expectations from their parents and throughout the novel they kind of deal with those and I really ended up liking the parents. You get some expression and resolution from them, versus a lot of the time young adult parents suck.
When Dimple Met Rishi is an adorable, sweet, unique, and diverse story of love, ambition, and independence. Definitely the perfect summer read. It’s available on Amazon, and the author can be found at sandhyamenon.com.