When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Copyright Date: 2017
Reading Age: 12 and up
Reading Level: Grades 7-12
Awards: The Amelia Bloomer Book List
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Dimple Shah has just finished high school and wants to be a web developer. She has big dreams for her time at Stanford University. Her parents, though, are a bit old-school and think finding a good husband and settling down might be a good option. Rishi Patel might be the perfect option—dedicated son, hopeless romantic—when the two go to the same summer program in San Francisco, could something happen with this "suggested arrangement"? Amusing and charming, this teen romance is a perfect beach read.
Not only is this a sweet story of falling in love for the first time, exploring the romance of a burgeoning relationship, it is also an honest portrayal of arranged marriages and how that cultural aspect is not bad, just different from Western sensibilities. Dimple's parents love and support each other, but their marriage was arranged, and the author explores how sometimes, parents know their children well enough, they can see the potential for compatible mates. That acceptance of marriage designs so dissimilar to what Americans usually suggest may make some readers push back on those ideas. There is also the concern of inherent misogyny of this type of relationship set-up. Menon tries to deal with those issues with a strong female character who dreams of being a web developer and someone who wants to embrace her American upbringing and leave certain Indian traditions behind. It is Rishi who is the artist, the dreamer who wants to be in an arranged arranged marriage. By turning those reader expectations on their head, the author addresses some of those potential concerns. There could be a criticism made for the tech company that Dimple works for in the summer program really not being as focused on supporting new talent as they originally claim. However, since I grew up in Northern California, the attitudes of upper level management of the tech company rang true for me. In the end, When Dimple Met Rishi is a light-hearted romp of a romance with some interesting examinations of cultural expectations—old and new—included.
Dimple Shah dreams of being a web developer and is attending a summer program in the Bay Area. Can she pursue her dreams when her mom is focused on finding Dimple an IIH—Ideal Indian Husband?
About the Author
Sandhya Menon is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels with lots of kissing, girl power, and swoony boys. Her books have been featured in many cool places, including on The Today Show, Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue, NPR, Seventeen, Entertainment Weekly, and Buzzfeed. Two of her books have won the Colorado Book Award, and her Dimpleverse series was turned into a hit TV show with Netflix India.
A full-time dog servant, Sandhya makes her home in the foggy mountains of Colorado. With a glass of wine at her elbow, she also pens adult romances under the name Lily Menon. (About the author and author photo can be found here.)
Iced coffee has its own part in this book. Discuss it while creating your own coffee beverage.
Art and technology are often intertwined in this story, Do you think the two go together? Compliment each other? Why or why not?
Challenge issues: teen sexuality
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It is a light, breezy romance that also deals with the concept of arranged marriages. It explores cultural expectations of being Indian-American and how those expectations differ based on the generation.