Author: Sandhya Menon
Length: 378 pages (UK paperback edition)
Dimple and Rishi are complete opposites. Dimple is far from traditional and wants to focus on her career before even thinking about settling down and getting married whereas Rishi wants to make his traditional parents proud and thinks that the idea of an arranged marriage is romantic. When Dimple and Rishi meet through a quite intentional mix-up their lives are changed forever as they begin to question their futures and their views on tradition.
I love the plot of this novel, it is well developed and touches on some very important subjects such as people being bullied because of their beliefs and traditions. I think that this book is very important as I have never read a YA book that represents children of Indian immigrants so well. I think that the plot was a bit slow in the beginning but became very fast paced as the story developed. I found some parts of the book to be a bit predictable but this is easily forgiven by the general loveliness of this contemporary.
**SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON**
Dimple and Rishi
Dimple and Rishi go through so much character development throughout this story as they learn to understand the world through each other’s perspectives and make compromises for the sake of their relationship. I think that their clashing views on tradition effectively shows readers that not everyone will have the same opinions about tradition and everyone’s views should be respected and should not be diminished because they are different. Dimple and Rishi both have imperfections which just shows how complicated their characters are.
I thought that the Aberzombies were such amazing antagonists. They were a complex group which brought many currently important topics to light as the boys were the clear “leaders” of the group and really had no respect for women or people with different traditions and beliefs to them. Isabelle is a difficult character to label as she is very reluctant to go along with what the boys do and she obviously does not approve of how they treat others, especially women, however she lets them get away with their awful treatment of others and lets herself be humiliated for their gain so I wouldn’t call her an antagonist but she is still far from a hero.
I generally thought that the characters were very well written with very strong character development and a good variation in characterisations.
People have recently argued that Dimple was wrong to throw her coffee at Rishi when they first met which I completely disagree with. Dimple’s reaction is very normal for someone who had just been approached by a complete stranger telling her that they were going to marry. If that happened to me I would probably do worse than just throw my coffee at them as I can imagine I would be very shocked and scared.
I think that this book is very important especially for people with Indian heritage as it is something that is not represented very often in Young Adult books. The story line is done very well and the characters are complex and go through a lot of development. I commend Sandhya Menon for writing such an amazing debut novel and giving the world such a delightful summer read!