Tuesday, May 30, 2017

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Dimple Shah has no interest in finding a husband. Neither do most eighteen year olds. But she knows that her parents, her mother especially, would love nothing more than for Dimple to find and settle down with the "Ideal Indian Husband." Instead, Dimple is all set to attend Stanford in the fall. And she has her parents' blessing. Although Dimple doesn't want to push her luck, attending Insomnia Con over the summer could mean a big leg up for her future. Surprisingly, her parents readily agree to let her go.

Rishi Patel respects his parents and their traditions. Though he loves art, he knows drawing comics isn't really a way to make a living and support a family. And so, he's applied and been accepted to MIT in the fall. Insomnia Con wasn't in his own plans, but his parents and their friends have long hoped that their children would be a good match for one another and the con offers up a great opportunity to find out. Unfortunately, romantic Rishi isn't prepared for down to Earth Dimple - especially considering all the matchmaking plans have been done without her knowledge!

When Dimple Met Rishi is such a fabulously fun debut.

First, it's giggle worthy and lighthearted.

Second, Dimple and Rishi will absolutely steal your heart.

Third, and this is the big one, it's a contemporary teen story with Indian/American characters and culture. Finally!

Both Dimple and Rishi live in an in-between. It's something Dimple feels more strongly than Rishi, pointing out that even while visiting India as a child she still didn't feel she belonged. And her parents don't understand where she's coming from.

Rishi, on the other hand, is fairly comfortable in his skin. Or so he says. It turns out Rishi is struggling a bit as well, just less so than Dimple (because of his go with the flow attitude and overall belief that he should do what his parents want).

But one of my favorite things about the book is the fact that this isn't a contentious family drama. Dimple, like most teens, bucks against what she sees as her parents' old school beliefs. And while Rishi doesn't, he does struggle with coming into his own or following his parents' wishes.

These are pretty universal issues teens face time and time again. But told through a lens that is frequently missing in YA literature.

As the call for diversity and #OwnVoices continues, it's exciting to see a book like Dimple and Rishi gaining attention and popularity. It's universal themes and overall lovable characters make it a fun read regardless, but Dimple and Rishi are both a breath of much needed fresh air in terms of diverse teen characters!

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