My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Book Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
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.

There is so much for me to love about this book: the San Francisco setting, the engaging characters, the contest to design an App (so Bay Area).  But, for me, the greatest reason I enjoyed When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon is because I love it when books explore that theme of teens getting their first taste of grown-up freedom.

What I Liked:
Yes, I am biased here.  I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and I loved how the author used real places around The City (what we call SF) for the non-dates/dates between Dimple and Rishi.  Sadly, one of the places I would most want to visit, Two Sisters Bar & Books, has recently closed!  But throughout the book, the author showed the reader a wonderful sense of place that I think is missing from many novels.

There are so many wonderful characters in this book.  Here are some of my favorites:
Both Dimple and Rishi are complicated characters.  Dimple is very affected by the constant comments her mother makes about her appearance. She had very low self-esteem when it comes to her attractiveness.  I think that is one reason she falls so hard for Rishi.  Rishi accepts Dimple as she is and thinks she is gorgeous!  But, as much as Dimple seems to grumble about some of her mom's expectations, she is also very appreciative of what her parents sacrifice for her.  And she does love her heritage, even while questioning the traditional roles women are expected to adopt.

At first, Rishi seems like a boy who just does what his parents tell him to do.  Go to a great college (M.I.T.), marry the girl his parents choose for him, and don't waste time on frivolous hobbies such as drawing comic book characters.  But for Rishi, this is his passion.  He is so afraid of disappointing his family that he is willing to forgo pursuing Art so he won't make waves like his difficult younger brother, Ashish.

Ashish is Rishi's younger brother who is consumed by sports.  He questions his cultural traditions by basically doing the opposite of what his parents tell him to do.  This causes a lot of tension in the house.  But I think Ashish's behavior is also due to constantly being compared to Rishi.  He probably feels he can't get his parent's attention by any other means than by misbehaving.

Celia is Dimple's roommate during the competition at San Francisco State University.   She is used to being the outsider, so when the "cool" kids start to hang out with her, she is delighted.  But she also starts to compromise some of her values to stay in her new friend's favor. 

I love coming of age books because it is a time where young people must make major life choices.   It seems easy to say, "Follow your passion," but how does one really do that?  How is a kid supposed to tell their parent that they got accepted into a "dream" college, but don't want to go?  Or that you love your heritage, but don't want to follow traditional gender roles?  It is a very hard thing to stand up to your parents, especially when they are kind people who are trying to help.

What I Didn't Like:
I enjoyed 99.8% of this book except for two small things:

1.  Who in their right mind would want their eighteen-year old kid (who is about to go to college) to get engaged?  If I am going to be paying big money for university, I do not want my kid distracted.  I certainly do not know anything about Indian culture, but I was very surprised by this.

2.  As I said, I am a Bay Area resident.  Although I have lived here for over twenty years, I would not be considered a native, but NO ONE CALLS THE FOG KARL!  This was a thing pushed by a guy on Twitter to promote his feed.  It was started about five years ago.  I know I am being picky, but I am telling you I have never heard anyone call the fog a person's name.   






Release Date:  May 30th, 2017

Genre:  YA Contemporary

Pages:  380 pages

Source:  Public Library

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  This love letter to Indian Culture and San Francisco will have you longing to sip a Chai tea while riding a cable car.  Utterly enchanting, and fun.

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2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
MsArdychan has read 10 books toward her goal of 120 books.


80% 80% 100 Book Reviews 2016 NetGalley Challenge
clean sweep 2017

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