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.
I received an e-ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI is a cute romantic comedy with Indian-American protagonists. I loved both Dimple and Rishi for different reasons. Dimple is such a little ball of spitting flames and Rishi is very much the kind of soft male protagonist that I like. If I’m gonna read m/f, there better be a soft boy involved. None of that toxic masculinity nonsense. These two are exactly the kind of characters I love to read about.
The book is very well-written in a way that tickles the senses and is endlessly relateable. The alternating POV was confusing at times, but much of that is owed to formatting issues with my e-ARC that I’m sure will be cleared up in the published version. I did actually like the headhopping between Dimple and Rishi’s POVs. It was fascinating to see how their minds worked differently, and the contrast between their perceptions of what the other was thinking and their actual thoughts. There is a huge disconnect between Dimple’s body image and Rishi’s view of her, particularly early on. It was also great watching these two characters slowly melt out of their set archetypes and even surprise themselves by doing so.
I also really feel for Rishi’s internal conflict regarding following his dreams vs fulfilling the expectations placed upon him. And Dimple’s conflict regarding the fact she despises being lumped into traditionalist boxes, and yet the boy her parents picked out for her turns out to be a good match. After the worst possible first meeting is dealt with, of course.
The best thing about Rishi, to be honest, is the fact he can go from horrendously awkward to ridiculously suave in 0.2 seconds. Like, I don’t know how this wordsmith is the same kid who greeted Dimple with the worst opening line known to man, but here we are and I totally believe it. And I love that Dimple is into coding and is so determined to get what she wants out of life, even if that determination sometimes causes a few bumps in the road for her. These two kids… I just love them to pieces. Let me hug them. But I’d definitely need to announce myself or Dimple will probably throw something at me.
Unfortunately, there was a lot of casually ableist language in this book. TW FOR CENSORED SLURS: The text is peppered with “cr*zy” and “ins*ne” and similar variants. TW OVER. I’m also not entirely comfortable with the way the bisexual character is portrayed in some respects. The one f/f relationship she’s had in the past “wasn’t serious” and is the one character who sleeps with multiple people around the same time, both of which play into some rather unpleasant stereotypes about bisexuals: bi women are actually straight, and bisexuals are inherently promiscuous. There’s also no actual use of the word bisexual, but the implication is pretty clear. I can’t speak for the ableism, but while these hints of biphobia annoyed me, I was able to enjoy the book anyway so I still think it’s worth reading. Just… non-bisexual authors. Please. Stop doing this.
Overall, WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI is a fun romantic comedy and a great addition to the YA category. If you like slow-burn romances, girls who code, and oddly suave teenage boys, this is definitely a great read.