What is this about?: This is the tale of Dimple going to a hacker con, learning her parents have set up a meeting with Rishi without telling her, and hope that she falls in love with him, and marries him. Yes, it’s an arranged marriage story.
What else is this about?: To me at least, this is the story of a young girl who fought hard to get to do what she wants in life. Having fought hard to do that myself, I identified with Dimple immensely, and in general found Rishi too perfect to be an engaging character. Cute yes, but anything beyond that no.
Stars: 3/5 for the sincere cuteness that abounds. And because this should have been Dimple’s story only.
Blurb: 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.
Dimple loves coding, loves all tech and is going to change the world – or rather her father’s world when she goes to Insomnia Con, codes and amazing app, wins the competition and gets a chance to have her idol, Jenny Lindt see her work. However, it’s there that Rishi Patel, a soon-to-be engineering students turns up and declares they’re going to be married. Which might have been mildly funny had Dimple been aware that their parents had set them up.
From that inauspicious beginning Dimple finds herself partnered with Rishi on her project, much to her anger, but once the initial WTF-ness of their first meeting has passed, the author sets about creating a wonderful romance, with two people who are similar in some ways and entirely different in others, but fall in love anyway.
I adored her wholeheartedly; and I understood most of all. She’s focused on her future, which despite her mother going on about make-up and landing a husband, Dimple wants something else. She believes that’s all her mother wants for her, and she hates it, and resents it, but she stands up to her mother, and never once did I think that standing up to her mother was disrespecting her parents, and everything they’ve done for her. We are a product of our environment, but we are a product of our parents’ influence too – and everything Dimple is – a open-hearted, funny, loyal and compassionate person is a testament to her parents. And the fact that she won’t do what they want is something I never thought Rishi understood in this story.
This is her story most of all, I think, even though the chapters feature them both. We learn of how she meets her roommate, Celia, online, of how they become fast-friends despite Celia’s crush on an utter douche at the con. We learn too that she is willing to question what she thought she needs from her life, but is afraid of change, and what that would mean for her, because like she says in the book – coding, her work and her dreams? They’re her passion. All valid concerns and I love that the author put Dimple through something so relatable.
I could go on about her, but suffice to say, this is one of the first times I could say I identify with a character in a book so completely.
Unfortunately, it’s with Rishi that the book falters for me, and why I think this should have been Dimple’s story entirely. Don’t get me wrong – Rishi is the kind of dork anyone could love – anyone should be lucky to find to love in their lives. He is kind and thoughtful and wants nothing more than to be the kind of person Dimple could fall for.
He is, in short, a saint.
I kept wondering why Dimple had to apologise for being …. Her. She’s got a healthy dose of snark in her, and I loved that, and yes, when it gets out of hand, you have to apologise for it. But why is it that she’s the only one in this book that is like that? When Rishi gets his snark on, he aims it at the douches at the con, and earns a softening from Dimple in return. See, whatever he does it perfect. He’s allowed one bit of anger in the end, but in general I just thought him cute but colourless as a character. I basically wanted to feel something more than: Aw, he’s cute
Rishi’s plot in this book is that he is a dutiful son, who does everything his parents want, because their younger son is off on his own path. Okay, I do understand that on some level, but he says he wants to take care of his parents, and that means getting a good job to be able to support them (and himself)… except, and I know I’m being uber practical here, his father is the CEO of a successful internet company. I would hazard a guess and say the man would know how to handle his money and his retirement with his wife – so what does taking care of them mean? Does it mean putting a roof over their heads? His parents are a loving couple, who not for one moment did I think would turf him out if he ever needed to move in.
The other thing that occurs to me is that a man who handles a successful internet company in the USA is going to be so set in his ways that he won’t even consider his son doing something that isn’t engineering? I suppose though I’m overthinking this — there are people who have moved to other countries and retained some very old fashioned thinking. I’m just finding it hard to reconcile a man so set in his ways by all accounts is a man who leads a big company — that to me says his father has to be a dynamic thinker, a man who understands his customers and a very changable world… is he really going to be that set in his ways?
Alright, I’ve thought about it alot. It’s just how my head works.
I know this seems like a minor point in the grand scheme of things, but I’ve always lived with my grandparents, and things will be no different for any one of my sisters and my mother either. So, it was important to me to see this reference in the book, but it just didn’t make sense to me in the end.
Compounding that – Rishi’s hang-ups around his parents and their expectations are resolved, except we don’t actually have any scenes or dialogue in that regard. It’s just told to us. This is the thing that has defined him his entire life… and affected his relationship with Dimple, and it’s sort of just swept under the rug.
In the end, he is a a sweet, non-confrontational boy, but this book should have been about Dimple Shah. She’s the star of this story.