Audience: 12 years and up
Review by Kayla Hlad (she/her)
MLIS Student, Kent State University iSchool
Sandhya Menon offers a refreshing and well-written Own Voice perspective in the world of teen romance in When Dimple Met Rishi. Dimple just graduated high school and is ecstatic that her parents are letting her take a summer program in app development. Little does she know, her parents are using this opportunity to give Dimple time to get to know Rishi, a potential candidate for an arranged marriage. Rishi and Dimple’s contrasting opinions about the prospect creates conflict from the start. But as they get to know each other, they prove to be destined for a natural friendship and a supportive, romantic relationship that helps them both to grow.
Menon is highly effective at creating whole, realistic personas which encourages the readers to root for each character as an individual and as a couple. Their story reads true and authentic, and the two tackle real issues as Menon explores relatable themes of otherness, friendships, relationships, and adulthood. Most significantly, the author presents the stories of characters who are seldom seen in the genre, while giving them the space both to consider the unique issues they face as children of immigrants and those universal to the teen experience. Notably, the main character’s ethnicity isn’t hidden behind a pretty, symbolic cover, but is highlighted and celebrated by putting a real image of a teen that looks like Dimple on the cover. The plot of this novel is predictable, but often that’s exactly what teens are looking for when they pick up a novel in this genre. It’s a fun read for anyone who loves teen romance.