Reader Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi: ★★★

This is one of the books that I chose to complete a category of Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge – more specifically, the ‘A Romance Novel By Or About A POC’ category. After having seen numerous good reviews for the book and debating between whether it would be appealing to me as a reader, I decided to just go for it and, in a sense, see what all the fuss was about due to the endless recommendation lists that it’s appeared on.

The storyline focuses on the story of two Indian American teenagers, Dimple and Rishi, who have been paired up by their parents in plans to have an arranged marriage. Dimple is doing her best to fight her family’s traditions, whilst Rishi couldn’t be more ready to follow them, so clearly there are differences between their ideals. When the two of them find themselves paired up at a summer app developing program, the situation turns into something that neither of them were expecting. Would it ever work or was it always going to be a mess from the start?

The book firstly introduces us to Dimple and straight away we get a good sense that she’s a very powerful character with a set outlook and a specific personality. The book doesn’t lack in making her characteristics evident to the audience and, personally, this directly appealed to me as I was able to get a more in-depth insight into who Dimple really is. The audience is also able to see the family dynamic that’s created at the beginning of the book so that adds further tone as well – it gives an indication that there are going to be interesting relationships throughout the plot overall. Dimple also doesn’t feel like a cardboard cut-out – she has a sense of realism to her which I enjoyed from the beginning. It was nice to see a character who is not only an evident part of representation for people of colour, but she’s also a character that’ll work to inspire and empower women – especially those in similar situations. I definitely appreciated the fact that there are good feminism messages to pick up on from the very first chapter (such as girls are more than their looks, etc). Rishi was more irritating to me, though that may have been due to the fact that the differences between the characters are so stark.

Another thing that pulled me into the story and kept me reading was the cultural representation because the book provided me with a lot of information that I had not previously known. Readers learn specific terminology and they get a closer look at the culture, which is obviously good diversity and helps expand my own personal knowledge which I liked.

The book is obviously written in a style that’s meant to appeal to young adult audiences and it does a good job of catering the book towards teenagers, though it can, of course, be read by anybody. I say this because of the fact that there are some typical teenage tropes thrown in to ‘tick off the boxes’ – for example, the typical teenage feelings of not being understood by their parents and their families. Though the tropes make the book and the premise, as well as the characters, more relatable for the general audience demographic that it’s trying to target so this is indeed effective. The storyline is sweet – it’s nice to see the characters experiencing new feelings together and trying to figure them out – and there are a lot of amusing elements to the book which make it enjoyable and easy to read. The tone is rather obviously trying to get across geeky vibes and, in doing so, there are some cringey moments of dialogue, but it overall runs ‘smoothly’. Personally, I preferred the relationship between the characters more as a friendship than a romance, but every reader has their own preferences.

The descriptions and visualisation are good throughout the duration of the plot, and the parallels between the characters and the storylines stay consistent. I like the structure of the book as it provides that extra sense of insight and shows the development more directly. However, as the book nerd the end, the development does become rather predictable and some of the actions of the characters seem rather dramatic (deeming they love each other whilst hardly knowing each other) so I did generally favour the first half over the second. The ending is good, it’s well-rounded, and it brings a solid end to the story but, like I said, it’s rather predictable.

I noticed that the book has quite a few bad reviews as well which I don’t see the reason for. Of course, this is all my own opinion and everybody else is entitled to their own outlook as well, but I think some people may’ve been harsh to judge the characterisations more than the book itself.

To put it simply; this is a sweet, funny book and I can definitely see as to why it’s been recommended by so many different sources. It’s a wonderful use of representation and getting out cultural information to wider, younger audiences. It’s been constructed well, it’s easy to read, and the characters have been developed so the reader can feel involved in the plot. The plot does lessen, it becomes less exciting as it’s more predictable, but it’s still a fun read and still maintains interest. There’s definitely a wholesome tone and it’s a fun story for audiences to experience.

Thanks for reading this short review and I’ll write you later. 

If you’re somebody who’s not necessarily into the romance genre or you haven’t experienced romance much in your own life, I think this would be a nice book for you.

If you’re a fan of technology, conflicting personalities, or people finding each other in unlikely situations, then give When Dimple Met Rishi a read and get back to me on what you thought.

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