When Dimple Met Rishi is YA romantic comedy at it’s finest. The story follows Dimple Shah—a recent high school grad who is excited to start the web-development program at Stanford and to move away from her family and her mother’s obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband”— and Rishi Patel— a hopeless romantic, who is attending MIT in the fall to continue his father’s business, and follows the traditions of his family–through a six week summer program for app-development. Dimple and Rishi’s parents have decided that the two teenagers would be perfect for one another, and they are each attending this camp to meet. Their story starts as many romcoms do with a few spilled drinks, or one drink spilled forcefully over a person’s head… Menon moves the pair through all the trials of young summer love in a fast paced and fun way while letting her characters hold onto who they are at their cores.
I’m not even going to wait until after the cut to say that every single one of you should go get this book and read it. I’ll, of course, tell you more specifically why you should read it at the end of this blog post but, after accidentally reading parts of a few one-star reviews on Goodreads, and hearing some of the critics that were going around about this book a few months ago, I want to encourage you to get this book, to read it, and — I hope my judgements are right and that most people would love this book if given the chance — love it.
The story opens with Dimple preparing herself to speak with her parents about spending the summer at a coding camp, she doesn’t think they’ll let her go because she doesn’t think they are supportive of her dreams, and is convinced that they just want to marry her off to the “ideal Indian husband.” Surprisingly they agree to pay for it, and she heads off to camp. This is when we meet Rishi, who is also preparing to attend this camp so that he can meet Dimple. When Rishi arrives on the campus of SFSU, there are glimpses of his dreams, and the things that he wants to do with his life, that aren’t going to MIT in the fall. In the first twenty-pages Menon managed to make two characters that I loved and wanted to see succeed in anything that they ended up trying. And since this is a rom-com, and those all end the same way I was ready to cheer for Dimple and Rishi for the next 300 pages. When the pair meets Rishi tries to be cute, assuming that Dimple is aware of their situation—and well we all know what they say about people who make assumptions—he ends up doused in iced coffee and possibly more smitten with Dimple than he had been prior. The story follows Dimple and Rishi—now paired up in the app design competition—as they create an app that has the potential to help people with Diabetes, fall in love, deal with issues of class and privilege, and push one another to become their best selves.
I read this book in a single evening. It’s been a long time since a book so fully captured me, and this was excellent. It was so much fun. Dimple knows what she wants and who she is, and will do whatever it takes to get where she wants to be. Rishi is a textbook hopeless romantic, who thinks that he knows exactly what he wants, but with a little pushing, he starts to realize that his desires lie outside of the path that he’s set himself on. While the story is a romantic-comedy it is not focused entirely on this pair’s romance. Their relationship is part of the story and watching them fall in love is fun, but watching as they learn more about themselves, as they go through the changes and challenges of leaving home and making friends and growing up, was as even better.
This book is fun and seems to be everything that a YA romance novel should be. My only real wish from this book is that there had been more of the actual coding, the sections where Dimple is in the zone and working on her application for the contest are fascinating and I would have loved to see more of that.
Recommendation: Do you need a quick read to finish out your summer reading? Are you looking for something fun and cute to read on one last beach trip? If you like YA, are looking for an #OwnVoices read, want something cute and fast paced, go get this book. You won’t regret it.