It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that was pure fun, so I finally decided to read this ARC because Sandhya’s books always make me smile. And this one didn’t disappoint.
The writing in the book is so easy to get involved in that I literally flew through the book. There are also many hilarious moments throughout which made me smile a lot. However, owing to the personalities of Pinky and her mom, there were a lot of arguments and confrontations which were interesting in the beginning, but got a bit repetitive soon (Also, I’m personally not a fan of confrontations, whether real or fictional). I also enjoyed the setting of the book at a lake house in summer, and I wish I could have read this while on a vacation, and not when we are all pretty much stuck at home.
Pinky has a soft and vulnerable side to her, but it takes a while for us to get to know that. I think I really liked seeing her through Sam’s eyes, because his insights about her are deep and he understands her very well. I was feeling pretty indecisive about her for a good chunk of the book because, while I really sympathized with her frustrations about having to live up the standards set by her perfect cousin (too relatable to me), it took a long time for me to get used to her forceful personality. Samir on the other hand is like the perfect boy whom you want to introduce to your desi parents, which might make him seem a bit boring but I could see parts of my younger self in him which made me nostalgic. I personally found that it was easier to root for him because he is amiable, confident, maybe scared due to his past but doesn’t let anyone get away with bad behavior.
However, I did have issues with how their arcs played out but I’m not sure if I can articulate them properly. The tension between Pinky and her mom is ever present, but the resolution was so quick that I was surprised. I liked what happened towards the end, but I guess I felt it deserved a bit more introspection and dialogue between the both of them. On the other hand, we see Samir interact with his mom probably twice in the whole book, which was unbelievable because we know since the previous book how overprotective she is of him. It almost felt like he forgot about her, but that’s just not him as a character. I also didn’t like the subplot with Cash and Dolly, because while I could empathize with her wanting to rebel, I really couldn’t see why she was tolerating such douchey behavior from him. The subplot of saving the butterfly habitat felt like a worthy cause, but it was another part which I thought resolved too easily.
To conclude, it might seem like I’m criticizing this a lot but I actually did have a good time while reading it. It’s just that I went into this book with the expectation of finding joy (Sandhya’s books have always given me that feeling), but I found parts of it exasperating and the characters got on my nerves, and I wasn’t prepared for it. So this was definitely me reading the book at the wrong time. However, if you have previously enjoyed the author’s books, you’ll have fun reading this one too.
PS: Thank you to the author for providing me with the advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.