Personal Thoughts: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon was high upon my list for most anticipated contemporary releases in 2017 so when a beautiful red box containing the ARC and some other goodies arrived at my house, I was physically jumping up and down. It was the best surprise to come home to! Like most of the book community, I have been making an effort to read more diversely and I became particularly interested in When Dimple Met Rishi when I learned that it featured two Indian protagonists who are computer programming nerds. Consider me sold! (PS. Every single time I look at the beautiful cover I find myself craving an iced coffee.)
Plot Summary: When Dimple Met Rishi follows two Indian protagonists at a computer programming summer camp as they struggle with balancing the expectations their parents put upon them with finding their own happiness. The pair end up at the program for two hugely different reasons- Dimple is a complete and total computer programming nerd. She’s going to Stanford in the Fall for programming and she basically lives and breathes computers. She sees this opportunity as the chance to meet her programming idol, start making a name for herself early on in her field and escape her mother’s incessant nagging that she find the Ideal Indian Husband. Then there’s Rishi, a kind hearted guy who packs his bags and heads to San Francisco to meet his potential future wife. As it turns out, Rishi and Dimple’s parents thought they could be a good match and Rishi, who is all about traditions and pleasing his parents, sets out in the hopes of meeting the girl he’ll marry.
Critique: I’m happy to say that When Dimple Met Rishi not only lived up to the hype for me, but also far surpassed it. The book is told in dual perspectives, from both Dimple and Rishi, which allowed the reader to get two very polarizing views of the same culture. I love both Dimple and Rishi equally and as much as I disliked some of the side characters, they added so much to the overall story. There were a ton of moments where I was laughing at the dialogue, the situations and the awkwardness of everything occurring. Rishi is the sweetest, most adorkable male love interest and his optimism and self confidence are so admirable. Then there’s loud, outspoken Dimple who is a force to be reckoned with. She’s so sure of herself, her vision for her future and the misogynistic boundaries others have tried to place on her. Seeing the two of them open up to one another and let the best of their personalities positively influence the other one is such a joy (especially after their catastrophic first encounter). The way that Menon perfected such complex relationships and seamlessly wove Indian culture into the story makes it difficult to believe that When Dimple Met Rishi could possibly be a debut novel. The friendship dynamic between Dimple and Celia who decide to be roommates but end up having completely incompatible sets of friends and how they handle it is something I would love to see more of in YA. And of course, the whole reason they’re in San Fran, the competition to develop the most promising app, kept me hooked the entire time.
Do I Recommend?: Absolutely! When Dimple Met Rishi is such a heartwarming and real contemporary story and I’m so excited for it to be released into world so we can all talk about how much we adore these characters! I’ll also most definitely be picking up any future books that Sandhya Menon writes!