Review | When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

I had seen When Dimple Met Rishi touted as one of the best diverse YA romances – a description that is very hard to resist. It started off strong, with one of my favourite meet-cute moments to date (if a guy came up to me like Rishi did, throwing iced coffee at him and promptly running away sounds like a very solid plan) but quickly fell into a predictable trajectory once the romance arc kicked in.

I loved the emphasis on family in general, and how difficult it can be to live up to your family’s expectations. It was very interesting to see how both Dimple and Rishi approached tradition: the former eschewed it, while the latter strongly believed in following the path that his family had set for him.

That said, I really wasn’t fond of Dimple or Rishi. Dimple came across as judgmental and entitled, and her insistence that she was “not like other girls” did nothing to endear her to me. Rishi came off as bland and opinionless and didn’t appear to have much agency outside of fulfilling Dimple’s every need.

It should come as no surprise that I was more intrigued by the coding competition than I was the romance, so when the romance became the primary focus and both Dimple and Rishi’s respective interests (coding and art) fell by the wayside, I became increasingly less invested in the outcome. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a woman in STEM who spent some time learning how to code, or perhaps it’s my age, but just once it would be nice to read about women who retain their own lives and prioritize their own passions even when entering a relationship. I also just couldn’t get on board with a ship where one party continues to punch the other party, despite them asking for that to stop.

Overall, When Dimple Met Rishi started off as a promising and fun read but quickly became a predictable story saturated with overused tropes.

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