- When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-7868-7 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-7870-0 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 9–12
Dimple’s parents would like their second-generation daughter to have more traditional Indian values, but Dimple is an American girl—ambitious, independent, and focused on her career as a coder rather than attracting an “Ideal Indian Husband.” Rishi, on the other hand, is all about filial piety, and he is delighted when his parents suggest an arranged marriage with Dimple. Dimple is blindsided when this handsome but geeky guy approaches her in their prestigious summer app-development program, claiming her as his future wife. As meet-cutes go, this one is a disaster, but Rishi handles his failure well, backing off the marriage talk and allowing Dimple to take the lead in developing their relationship. Of course the two are thrown together in Dimple’s single-minded quest to win the funding to develop and market her app, and their feelings for each other develop with an intensity worthy of a Bollywood romance. What saves this from being too treacly, however, is the genuine likability of Rishi set against the initial prickliness of Dimple. The romance goes so well at first, in fact, that readers will wonder where the conflicts required for plot interest will emerge, but they do, and their resolutions are all the more satisfying for being steeped in the sweetness that came before. The cultural pleasures and pressures each teen faces are integral to the way Rishi and Dimple approach their everyday lives and relationships, and the ethos is unapologetically positive even as Dimple chafes against her mother’s traditional approach to femininity. With just the right blend of substance and fluff, this makes for a perfectly sigh-worthy beach read.