Jun 25
2017

When Dimple Met Rishi – Review and Rave

When-Dimple-Met-RishiThis book, oh my God (or rather Oh my Gods, as Rishi would say), it was such an adorable read, that I had a stupid grin on my face all the time that I was reading it, and you know what, I couldn’t even shake off the darn grin once the book was over.

However, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to say this – since I just finished this book, and I am attempting to review it right away (unlike other books, where I let my feelings settle), I am possibly still in the bubble of joy that I was in, while reading this book, so my views are most likely biased in that sense.

But hey, if any book can put you in this kind of a happy bubble, I feel it totally deserves the gush.

But that’s not even the point. Honestly guys, I am just so happy that this book exists.

And there are several reasons for this, but the most important one is the fact that finally Desi kids in US will be able to see themselves and their culture represented in a book – front & center, and not just as a token character/reference to make the book seem more diverse. God knows we have enough of those!

My Review:

Okay, to begin with – I loved the premise. It’s not the typical boy-meets-girl romance (well okay in some ways it is), these two get introduced because of an ‘arrangement’ for them to meet (an arrangement that only one of them – Rishi – is aware of) at Insomnia Con – a summer camp for budding coders, which is exactly what Dimple is.

Dimple

She is the only daughter of immigrant parents, and has always felt this pressure from her mother to conform to the Indian way of life, while she has always felt American. Of-course the definitions of both those titles are debatable, and unfold as the story progresses, but for now, this background is important to know to truly understand Dimple.

Dimple also has a love affair with web development (and is extremely gifted in this area, which is why she got accepted into Stanford) and has this huge girl crush on Jenny Lindt,  one of the top female entrepreneurs in the country, who is not only Dimple’s idol, but according to her, is also the shining beacon for the coming wave of girls in tech (Loved this thread of subtle feminism!).

In-fact Dimple’s reason for attending Insomnia Con is two fold – primarily to develop the app of her dreams, which will save thousands of lives, but more importantly to meet (and work with) Jenny Lindt, which happens to be the prize for winning Insomnia Con.

Rishi

Rishi on the other hand, being the hopeless romantic he is, is attending Insomnia Con mostly to meet and get to know Dimple, because while he is accepted in an engineering program in MIT, web development isn’t his true calling. The thing that he is truly passionate about is creating Comics. But try telling that to Indian parents, right?

Which is why, Rishi doesn’t, and lives in denial, deliberately slotting his passion as his hobby. And no it’s not because he is a coward, he just cares deeply about the people in his life, and wants to do right by them, even if that costs him his dream (which again, he doesn’t believe is his dream, because, you know…denial).

Having said that, Rishi has many many wonderful layers to him. This is a boy who is sure of himself, who is grounded in his identity and his culture, and has no qualms about it. He not only accepts his cultural legacy, but revels in it.

There is a particular paragraph in this book, where he speaks about how he feels about his culture, his legacy, and his world view being an Indian growing up in America. And that is precisely when I fell in love with his character.

“I feel like I need to speak out, because if no one speaks out, if no one says, ‘This is me, this is what I believe in, and this is why I’m different, and this is why that’s okay’, then what’s the point? What’s the point of living in this beautiful, great melting pot where everyone can dare to be anything they want to be?”

To make a long story short, Rishi is just everything good and right in the world, wrapped in one hard-to-resist package.

Dimple & Rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi is essentially the story of Dimple & Rishi, during the summer they meet & get to know each other, and how they navigate the arranged marriage set up, while working towards their individual goals & aspirations, which in Rishi’s case involves working through his denial with respect to his passion for comics.

And while it was wonderful seeing them connect with each other in-spite of being polar opposites, it was heartwarming to see them change, and adapt & grow as individuals due to their association with one another, because they not only challenge each other’s world view but also expand it in a beautiful and positive way.

Other Things I Loved

There are many things I loved, but in the interest of time, I will only list two things

A Positive Story About Arranged Marriage

Arranged marriage is a huge cultural thing in India and even among the Indian diaspora elsewhere, but more often than not, it’s painted in a bad light – almost like the parents are bullying the bride & groom into marriage, which is so not the case. Anyway, that’s a topic for another post. As far as this book is concerned, I liked the fact that the story was a positive reflection on arranged marriages.

Indian American kids are NOT clones of each other

Okay I am going to just say it like it is, without mincing my words. I am fed up of the stereotype that Indians are subjected to in Non-Indian literature. There are always these token Indian characters, who have pretty much the same stereotypical attributes, almost as if we are all clones of each other.

This book finally (and thankfully) got rid of the many obsolete stereotypes. There are 4 characters in this book – Dimple, Rishi, Ashish, Hari – same age group – all Indian Americans – and no one remotely like the other. What a concept, right?

What Could Have Been Better/Different?

Now for some nitpicking. This is especially hard to do, when it’s a book I love, but..

I would have liked to see a more developed story-line when it comes to the web design aspect of this book. After all they were there (at Insomnia Con) because they (at-least Dimple) wanted to develop an app that will change lives, and while the goal was accomplished, I would have loved to have more scenes of them actively working on this app, and seeing how it comes to fruition. But that’s possibly just the nerd in me speaking.

Also, I felt like the romance could have used more oomph, more angst, but then it would also be more filmy, and less realistic, and knowing me, I would even crib about that, so there is really no pleasing me, which is why I am going to shut up now.

All in All: 

This was just awesome meets precious. A very honest and heartfelt story which managed to be effortlessly hilarious and heartwarming at the same time.

So if you enjoy contemporary romances, look no further, and pick this one up, because it’s just an absolute delight!

Rating: 5 Stars

You can pick up a copy of this book here – When Dimple Met Rishi

That’s all from my end folks. I would love to hear from you guys. Have you read When Dimple Met Rishi? Do you know of other good books that have Indian American kids as protagonists? Do share!

-Shantala

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Comments

  1. I would love to grab the book.. your review has me hooked.. liked Rishi.and Dimple.
    Pratikshya recently posted…Call Of The Void #MondayMusingsMy Profile

  2. Your review is infectious, I’ll definitely check out the book!
    Ruchi Singh recently posted…Kasauli – Just ChillMy Profile

  3. This really does sound like such an ‘awww’ book that I would like to try out. 🙂
    Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan recently posted…Top 28 Suspense Movies That Will Keep You Guessing till the EndMy Profile

  4. Love this review, Shanaya! It’s wonderful to read a book that sparks such emotion. This sounds like a very inspiring story.
    lisa thomson recently posted…Eternal Sunshine of the Narcissist’s MindMy Profile

  5. Your reviews are so darned good that they always make me wanna pick up the darn book – pls start a library too of the ones you read 😉
    SHALINI BAISIWALA recently posted…Lord of the Files snips my work wings | #barathon |My Profile

  6. Your review is awesome. Made me click that link right away! 🙂 I’m a romantic at heart and I’m sure that I will love this book.
    Shalini recently posted…An Evening in HaridwarMy Profile

  7. It looks like an interesting read and some thing which I am surely going to enjoy reading. Thanks for the review.

  8. Now that’s a huge stamp of approval from you, and I am definitely going to pick this one. It seems quite delightful from what you’ve mentioned.
    Rachna recently posted…A Bit More About Me (Anything But Books)My Profile

  9. You review the books so well. I always love the way you can express clearly how you felt about a book. The storyline does sound adorable and since it includes app development as well I am really curious. Will check out if there’s an e-book.

  10. The story sounds like a perfect summer romance. Liked the arranged marriage bit that you listed. I think there is a lot of negativity with the perception around arranged marriages these days as you rightly pointed out. I am reading “I am big so what” by Suchi Kalra. Its a light breezy read and I am enjoying the protagonist being a normal next door girl not some dreamy heroine.
    Akshata recently posted…BLUE bruises- #BarAThonMy Profile

  11. Wait a minute. Hold up. You mean an Indian origin author wrote a romance about arranged marriages with Indian American kids and there’s no drama? Whoa. Well I’ve already decided to get this but now I can’t wait to get it. Great review Shanaya.
    Mybookjacket recently posted…Book Haul : Used BooksMy Profile

  12. I just MAY like this book because it’s about an arranged marriage shown in a positive light 🙂 That’s precisely how it was for V and me. Hmm, I do like YA written well and I’m guessing from the 5 stars, the grammar and other things are good too. Dang it! More books on my TBR 🙁 I shall die a dissatisfied reader.
    Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…Parenting during the Social media era: ReflectionsMy Profile

  13. Glad you really loved it. Everyone seems to be so eager about the book. I am glad it puts a good angle on arranged marriage. So many people have a distorted view on that subject
    Resh recently posted…Autumn by Ali Smith – A Meditation on Identity and MemoriesMy Profile

  14. your review of the book really does entice me to read it. Thanks for this candid review. And yes there is so much stigma around arranged marriages in this generation that this theme for a book is really welcome

  15. Ooh! I loved the cover of the book, and I read the summary on GoodReads too. And now, your review is making me chuck out all the responsibilities out of my life and read this book. 😀

    I’m going to get my hands on this book. Just curious, is one of the four characters a Spell Bee champ? 🙈

  16. You had me at “couldn’t even shake off the darn grin once the book was over”. I am picking this book real soon.
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…7 Reasons to Read Inspirational QuotesMy Profile

  17. Aww I can just picture you, grinning away as you write this. What a cute review! This book is among the most requested reads on NetGalley, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it, because it sounded a lot like Nicola Yoon’s Sun is also a Star (Girl is big about science and research; boy is being forced to pursue medicine, but his true passion is poetry – plus they are both POC).
    You’re so right that a lot of Indian characters in western fiction are represented as these nerds with no other interests in life, and they all behave and talk like wannabe westerners much to the amusement of the “main” characters. It is definitely a caricature of sorts, so a book like this would definitely be refreshing.
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  18. Sounds interesting, my favourite genre. Added it to my reading list (sine you loved it so much!)
    Lovely review, as usual.
    Tarang Sinha recently posted…Anything But Books TagMy Profile

  19. I have been hearing about this book a lot recently but I didnt pay much attention thinking “yet another YA” but after reading your review, I am really interested in this book. It sounds like a sweet story and like you said, first time about Indian American kids. Will try to get hold of this soon. Thanks for the review.

  20. I absolutely can’t wait to read this book, and I love that it’s getting so much positive attention. It sounds marvelous and fun and sweet, and I’m completely in the mood for a sweet YA romance right now.
    Jenny @ Reading the End recently posted…Review: Strong Female Protagonist, Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly OstertagMy Profile

  21. Sounds like a great story to read! To be honest, when I saw the title, I really thought it was the story of how the two Bollywood greats met! Now, that would have been really interesting, don’t you think?!

  22. Harry met Sagle movie is coming… Here is a book Dimple meet Rishi…interesting. Ok… Well, these charactors seem to be well nice, real people with dreams and wants. I am sure Dimple is not the kind who would leave web development for love and both seem to be intellegent. But arranged meeting that only Rishi knows, why did he want to meet her? , am curious, because parents told him to I guess, I hope he was not desperate for marriage…

    As much as I agree with you on arranged marriages, parents and family are so involved and one can feel claustrophobic and many people I guess won’t know their partners fully, I am happy these two get to spend time together, discuss and such things and without this marriage baggage but just as two people. The set up meeting on the summer camp is good too.

    Well romance… You know I do see Romantic Commedy and saw a movie called ‘something like love’ … its American I guess but in 8 years since they meet things between them change and they realise both are perfect for each other because they complete each other… it’s nice, finally there is liking, friendship, understanding and it’s always been there but in the end they know it which is beautiful. Romance is like aroma of all sort of things… liking company, spending time, handling each other… like a mild high and there should be commedy in it and ofcourse good talks, and one should be free to do lot of your own things together and adapt… I don’t have patience for romance that’s lust being pent up..bla…

    I know its really hard to build charactors in the story and four different complete charactors is awesome. Author took time and worked on the charactors and plot. I know it coz I tried weaving stories too… it gets hard to maintain susbstance… I have done romantic stories with very less physical stuff, that’s just to add masala… mostly my charactors just like to live life fully(: won’t trouble doing very inconvinient things… anyway…

    I think you should acknowledge the author of the book first, tell that this book was written by so and so author and she or he has done a great job in it. That’s needed in your blog, or have you mentioned the name of the author in your blog?.I think you were overtaken by the story feeling, if authors name is not mentioned, lz mention it now and give appreciating for the story work done by the author.
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    • Well arranged marriage is widely misunderstood, and I know from experience that it isn’t what the popular narrative wants to make it out to be. So I am glad that the author shed a more positive light on the subject.

      As far as giving the author more of the spotlight, I guess it is a matter of preference. I do it every once in a while, wherever relevant. But in this case, I clearly had a lot to say about the book, and that covered my thoughts about the author too, I believe.
      Shanaya Tales recently posted…Reading Goals 2017 – Mid-Year Update | #ChattyBlogs July LinkyMy Profile

  23. Sounds delightful. I’m up for a romance right away. And so the TBR grows! On a side note I think arranged marriages aren’t a bad idea at all – specially the kind our generation is seeing – minus the pressures and the stress.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…The Call of the WindMy Profile

  24. I just finished reading the book and I stumbled upon your blog. Kismet I guess. I love Ashish and Celia *gushes* did you hear that there might be a book separate book on them? *happy dancing*

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