Genre: YA Contemporary Romance | Diversity: Indian-American MCs (#OwnVoices)
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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.
You know how this goes: boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love…except this time, there’s a twist. Dimple and Rishi’s parents want to arrange their marriage—but Dimple doesn’t know about it. Cue iced coffee to the face.
adorable rom-com vibes
When Dimple Met Rishi is actually as cute as its cover. It sucks you in with the cute, upbeat rom-com vibes. The story has so many awkward, hilarious, cringeworthy moments that come from knowing what both characters are thinking. There are miscommunications, mishaps, and just good clean fun.
If you’re thinking “but I hate contemporary romance,” think again. This book is worth reading simply for the diversity. Dimple and Rishi provide two unique perspectives on being the child of Indian immigrants. While Rishi identifies with his parents and admires his cultural background, Dimple resists by embracing her American culture. Dimple doesn’t want a boyfriend at all, much less an arranged marriage, and focuses on her education and future career as a web designer. She’s outspokenly feminist and rejects female beauty standards. She’s a proud spectacled girl, which is so refreshing to read. Meanwhile, Rishi is a total hopeless romantic and admires the partnership aspect that he hopes will come of this potential arranged marriage. Adorableness ensues.
swoon-worthy relationship development
Dimple and Rishi’s relationship is absolutely swoon-worthy. Although it develops over a matter of weeks, it didn’t feel like that annoying insta-love we all hate so much. We get to watch the characters get to know each other, bonding over their shared background as well as their difficulty fitting in with their peers. They talk openly about their worldview and their dreams—and, even better, they encourage each other in their aspirations. Dimple supports Rishi’s comic art even though he insists it’s just a hobby, and Rishi supports Dimple’s web design dream. Although they’re opposites in a lot of ways, they balance each other out and bring out the best in each other. Despite the cheesy ending, I enjoyed watching them get there, from Rishi learning to pursue his passion to Dimple questioning if she’s giving up her career for romance.
why it wasn’t 5 stars for me
This was an enjoyable book, but I’m docking a star for a few small reasons. For one thing, I didn’t really enjoy the third person past tense and switching constantly between their two perspectives. While I think it’s necessary to see both sides, I felt that the story switched a little too rapidly for my liking. Additionally, I did feel the relationship moved rather fast; for instance *spoiler* I didn’t like that they had sex after only a few weeks; I appreciate the honest portrayal of teens having sex, but I didn’t feel that it was realistic that they would forgo their values for the sake of lust. *end spoiler* And while I related to their feeling of not belong with their peers, I felt that the subplot relied a lot on the trope of the Mean Popular Group in a way that, while realistic, wasn’t something I really wanted to see in an otherwise cute contemporary.
overall: recommended diverse reading
Overall, When Dimple Met Rishi is an adorable, summery contemporary romance that I highly recommend to anyone looking for a book that will put a smile on your face and leave you swooning.
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