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When Dimple Met Rishi
by Sandhya Menon
published by SimonTeen (May 30, 2017)
When Dimple Met Rishi follows two very teenagers who are destined to meet.
Dimple, an aspiring web developer, has no time for anything but following her dreams. She’s solely focused on meeting her STEM icon and building up her resume for the brightest future imaginable.
Rishi, on the other hand, is a bit of a hopeless romantic. Fond of his cultural heritage and determined to please his parents, Rishi is a little too eager when his parents send him to a summer program with the promise that his promised bride will also be attending.
That promised bride just so happens to be Dimple who embraces Rishi by splashing him in the face with her iced coffee. Perhaps she would’ve been more open to the arrangement had her parents warned her. Can they learn to accept each other and maybe even love each other?
I found When Dimple Met Rishi to be a delightful book. Fun, humorous, and sincere, this book is ideal for students about to make their way in the world. Dimple and Rishi are both so genuinely themselves that it’s hard not to love them. The book may be 400 pages but you find yourself rooting for Dimple and Rishi on every single page.
- Working for a Jewish publishing company, we always discuss introducing a culture into a market for every reader. We do not find it acceptable that a book about Christmas can be published without any explanation into the holiday’s origin whereas the books we publish must educate the reader. It is not the marginalized author’s job to teach about a new culture. And that is something that I love about this book. Menon introduces so many aspects of Indian culture — language, food, cultural expectations — without explaining it. She doesn’t dumb down her writing for non-Indian readers; instead, she gently introduces the culture into the text, allowing readers to grow curious and look up the material on their own. I think we need more books that speak so casually about culture.
- Branching off of that, Menon treats her characters as – guess what – people. We have Dimple who is a girl obsessed with STEM and we have Rishi who is in love with his cultural heritage but who also feels tempted to betray his parents by pursuing art and we have Rishi’s brother, Ashish, who is the sort of black sheep in his family…
Ever listen to Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie’s TED Talk about the single story? You tell a single story and suddenly, a stereotype is created. That is why we need books like this with diverse characters and multiple personas. Books like this kill dangerous steretypes.
- GIRLS IN STEM. Books so rarely feature girls in STEM, though a trend has picked up lately. Still, we need more!
Flaws (SPOILERS AHOY):
- I feel, though Menon did address this later in the book, that Dimple fell a little too fast for Rishi. I would’ve liked just a bit more resistance from her. It seemed a little out of character how quickly she fell into a relationship with him.
- Going back to discussion of stereotypes, I feel as though the Aberzombies were very stereotypical. I was hoping that one of them would break out of that trust-fund-kid persona.
- I’m not sure I buy the ending of the book in regards to the Aberzombies. An idea such as theirs would not have been successful and, considering this was a program for minors, might have had them removed. Even with their parents being as rich as they are, I imagine that there would have been some intervention before that idea really gained steam.
All in all, this was such a wonderful and sweet book. I looked forward to reading it each day and found myself at times putting it off so that it would last a little longer. I’m looking forward to more from Menon and, seeing the hype on Instagram, I’m sure others are too.