Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 30th 2017
“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.“
“It was beginning. Her freedom, her independence, her period of learning—about herself, about the world, about her career. She was finally doing it. Here she wouldn’t be Dimple Shah, wayward, Americanized daughter of immigrant parents; she’d be just Dimple Shah, future web developer. People would judge her on her brain, not her lack of makeup.”
Sandhya Menon’s When Dimple Met Rishi is a delightful rom-com that captures how magical and unpredictable first love can be. Dimple Shah knows she will never be the kind of daughter her mother wants her to be, but she is determined to do everything in her power to make her own dreams of becoming a web developer come true. Attending Insomnia Con will bring her one step closer to realizing this dream. Unbeknownst to Dimple, her parents have co-conspired with the Patels, to get their children to meet at the con in hopes of getting them to agree to an arranged marriage. Rishi is happy and willing to meet Dimple, of having an arranged marriage altogether, but their meeting will challenge both of them in ways they never expected.
I often bemoan the lack of dual perspectives in contemporary romances. Though I love getting to know one protagonist, I’m often left wanting to know more about the love interest. Menon’s story playfully jumps from Dimple’s perspective to Rishi’s, allowing both characters to become fully-realized and partaking in perfect comedic timing. As a result, it was hard not to smile with every page turned. I loved how Menon explored the cultural significance of having an arranged marriage through her two characters. As children on Indian immigrants, both Dimple and Rishi experience the weight of their parents’ dreams. For Rishi, these means embracing his heritage, of making his parents proud, and continuing a cultural tradition. For Dimple, it means forever being trapped in a box, of never being able to discover what she wants out of life, of following a path that will only smother all her untapped potential.
Dimple is a character who I immediately liked. She’s opinionated, temperamental, and often doesn’t have a filter. She has all this passion inside her just waiting to get out. Her ambition and dedication to furthering her education and need to discover what she can truly accomplish if given the right opportunities is hard not to admire. Dimple is sure of her future plans, but in the novel she learns to accept that life happens and sometimes those plans end up changing for the better. One of the things that resonated with me the most was Dimple’s relationship with her mother. They often clash when it comes to what one expects and wants of the other. Even though there’s a lot of love between the two, this doesn’t mean they don’t get fed up with one another, especially when their views on things like marriage differ so widely. Dimple wants to be valued as more than just a potential future wife, and she struggles with the fear that that’s all her mother sees her as.
Rishi is one of the sweetest characters I’ve had the pleasure of reading. He’s thoughtful, kind, and sensitive. When he finds out Dimple had no idea about their parents’s plan, he backs off immediately. He feels the need to be responsible, to fulfill all the dreams his parents have for him. Unfortunately for Rishi, this means giving up something he’s truly passionate about. I admired how sure he was of himself and how easy it was for him to be assertive when he had to be. I loved his interactions with his brother Ashish. These are two characters who could not be more different, but who in the end, find common ground and becoming really supportive of one another. Rishi’s first interaction with Dimple could not be more of a disaster, but I loved how both of these characters became friends and pushed each other to embrace their dreams.
When Dimple Met Rishi is a wonderful contemporary that allows its characters to make mistakes and grow. It’s a coming-of-age story as much as a fun rom-com and I loved every second of Dimple and Rishi’s story.