Monday, 19 June 2017

When Dimple Met Rishi // great representation but not so great a story

I was looking for a cute summery read to get me out of my reading slump, and after hearing so much love for When Dimple Met Rishi, I thought this would be the book to do it. But maybe my slump or my inexperience with entirely romance centred novels got in the way, because I didn't really enjoy this book at all.


The book had a really promising start. I struggled to get into the writing style for the first couple of chapters, and I have to admit that there continued to be something about it that never fully clicked with me throughout. But I was excited by what the book promised: an #ownvoices representation of South Asian people.

In the first few chapters alone we see the different relationships the two focal characters have with their families, as well as the relationship they each had with their culture. I think the book did a great job of showing that arranged marriages aren't necessarily forced and that they don't have to be oppressive or anti-feminist as history often suggests they are. And it was awesome to have the dual perspective on the idea - with Dimple being wholly against the tradition and Rishi strongly believing in it and finding true love.

The book was cute and funny to start with, and it being set in the summer after high school felt refreshingly different to the typical YA set up. But it quickly lost its shine for me, and I couldn't help but find it a little insta-lovey. Maybe it was just me, but I expected a slower burning romance rather than going from dislike to friendship to kissing all within a few days of knowing each other. I know the story is set over a few weeks, but because the romance was so focal, it felt like there was little in-between for the pair to be kissing by halfway through the book.

It did feel for the most part that there was no plot other than the romance. There is some talk about the app Dimple is designing, but it takes up so little focus that the story felt like it was moving very slowly without any driving force other than the kind of predictable relationship. 

I also couldn't help but feel that Dimple was a little mean-spirited towards the rich kids. They were rude to her, but I'm a strong believer in taking the high road instead of returning the cruelty. And it didn't take much for Dimple to be cruel back. At one point she tells one of the boys that he is pronouncing his own name wrong (which, surely that's his choice?), and she deliberately misspeaks a girl's name who barely exchanged a word with her just to irritate her. I feel like that time could have been used by creating a discussion on class imbalance and micoaggressions, but the nastiness made everything feel like a very us/them scenario in which there is no possible way Dimple could ever perceive one of these people as a human being.

There was some stuff going on other than Dimple and Rishi's instant love for each other, like the storylines for Celia and Ashish. But honestly I didn't really care for what happened to them at all and I found the side story kind of boring.

Again, maybe I'm in a reading slump where I'm bound to hate every book I touch and maybe I should just steer clear of contemporary romances. But from what I've heard the rep in this book is solid, and even though I didn't enjoy When Dimple Met Rishi, I hope that some kids will be able to find themselves in their story.


Diversity Note: Indian-American protagonists

An ebook copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

4 comments:

  1. Interested to know how you went with Anna and the French Kiss if you read that book. I feel like my feelings towards this will be similar to that one, as in, I expect to fall in love with it. This is actually the first time I've heard that this book is insta-love-y. I guess I'll have to find out for myself! Thanks for your honest words. :)

    Cass @ Words on Paper

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    1. I haven't read Anna and the French Kiss but I figured with my history maybe it's best to stay clear of entirely romance centred books. I really wanted to give this one a try, because I thought there'd be a strong storyline besides the romance, but I didn't really feel it. I haven't heard much about the book being insta-love-y either. In its defence, what Dimple and Rishi had wasn't love at first sight. I was just surprised how quickly their relationship progressed.
      Thank you, Cass! I don't think this was a bad book in any way and it was mainly to do with my preferences, but I hope you enjoy it as much as the rest of the Internet did :D

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  2. I'm glad it's not just me! This book was so hyped that I was sure I would love it but ended up finding it a bit boring. I agree that the representation was great but I think I expected more from the story. Completely agree on the insta-love as well, it felt like they went from nothing to head over heels in love in like a week!

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    1. I'm glad you agree, Sophie! I couldn't find any reviews that thought the book was insta-love-y and I was beginning to think I was just the odd one out. I agree that I definitely expected something different from the story and so it didn't work for me. Thank you for visiting!

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