So, this book starts out hilariously. Atleast, the first meeting. Rishi being the dork he is, sees her outside Starbucks and calls her his “future wife”. Dimple, who has no clue of their parents’ arrangement, assumes he is a creepy serial killer and throws her iced coffee at him. What follows is their journey from bickering to being teammates to friends and then lovers.
Dimple is passionate and feisty and so independent. She is annoying at times but otherwise, I really liked that she clearly knows what she wants to do, even though it’s not the “expected” thing. But it’s Rishi who I could totally relate to – practical, stable, the ideal older son – I’ve seen way too many such guys in real life that I was actually surprised to find one in a book. But what endeared me to him was his goofiness, his optimism and the way he totally fell for her. The way they get to know each other and fall in love and communicate (except towards the end) was very very cute and I totally gushed and swooned a lot. Their conversations are also quite funny and romantic and gave me all kinds of feels. I also loved that the setting of the book was at a coding competition (or camp sorta). Also, the girl here is the passionate coder and he is the nerdy artist and I loved that about them. They are not the usual type of characters from the books I read, so it was interesting. The gang of bullies and roommate/brother side characters are cliché but I am a huge fan of sappy Bollywood romances most of the time, so I didn’t really mind any of them.
However, what I really loved about this book is how relatable it is to me. Based on Indian families in America whose kids feel conflicted about being both Indian and American, every single character here was someone I knew or they felt similar to me. The parents struggle to keep their traditions alive, trying to keep their kids from becoming totally westernized, the kids trying to reconcile their feelings of both making their parents happy as well as forge their own independent lives – every aspect of this book was something I could really feel and understand. Of course, the little mentions of Bollywood, Raj and Simran, and using Hindi words in intimate conversations felt so real and wonderful and made me very happy. It’s so rare to get to read an Indian YA contemporary that it made the experience better. And the fact that it’s cheesy, romantic and gave me all kinds of feels is an added bonus.
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️