Slightly late, slightly shorter edition of What I Read this month! I went on holiday in May which is why I am only going to be featuring 2 books in this post. The rest of my May books (and trust me, there are a lot) will be coming at you in a future holiday reads post! So without further ado, welcome to May…
When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon
This book, alongside The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, has really stuck out to me as one of the most highly anticipated reads of the year. It’s hard to step anywhere on the internet without spotting someone chatting about it (or reenacting the cover with a Starbucks cup), so, of course, I was so excited to receive an advanced copy last month.
When Dimple Met Rishi is a YA romantic comedy, telling the story of Dimple and Rishi, two Indian-American teenagers, whose parents have “suggested” an arranged marriage for them. But, unfortunately, Dimple has other plans. Like most American teens, Dimple has no interest in marriage yet and thinks that maybe she won’t ever want to get married in the future either. However, obedient to his parents’ wishes and hopelessly romantic, Rishi is more than ready to meet Dimple and start their love story. The parents plan for them both to head to the same summer programme for aspiring web developers where they will finally meet.
When Dimple Met Rishi is hilarious, adorable and like a breath of fresh air. As the two characters are paired up on their web developer summer programme, they end up working closely together and get to know each other very quickly. I loved watching their relationship develop, from friendship (begrudgingly on Dimple’s side of things) to more. It’s, as I said, hilarious. I’m talking laugh-out-loud funny here. Dimple and Rishi are always bantering back and forth and there are some great supporting characters involved too.
Sandhya Menon integrates a lot of references to Indian culture and stories into the prose very easily. With Hindi phrases included here and there and the mention of Rishi’s Indian superhero design, the characters seem to be connected to their culture throughout. However, there’s a sense with both of our main characters that they are also grappling with this at the same time. Both struggle against the expectations set upon them by their families: for Dimple, she is expected to be a beautiful, polite Indian girl that puts on make up and aspires for marriage. For Rishi, he is expected to study hard at university and go on to a high powered, high paying job. For both characters, they just want to be themselves. Dimple wants to put her career first and focus on becoming the best web developer she can be, whilst Rishi’s passion for art very quickly becomes evident as the path he would prefer to take. Overall, it’s a fun, quick read, perfect for summer, about falling in love and finding out who you want to be.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean – Jenny Han
This is the third and final installment in the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han and I feel like I have been waiting for this one for years. First of all, I absolutely loved this book. I am beginning to find that Jenny Han can do no wrong in my eyes. However, I will say that I found this novel to be quite different to the first two books in the series (To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You). Whereas, with the first two books, Lara Jean faces a lot of challenges, I found that not much happened in this one. If you’ve not read the earlier books in the series, in summary, Lara Jean writes love letters to all the boys throughout her life that she’s ever had a crush on. It’s her therapy, her special way of getting over them. However, Lara Jean’s love life kicks off after all of the love letters she’s written and never sent, get mysteriously sent out. She suddenly finds herself having to deal with all the boys she’s loved before, including her sister’s ex boyfriend. Essentially, Lara Jean is in a right pickle which leads to her ending up with a fake boyfriend to make another guy jealous, and then, eventually (spoiler), a real boyfriend. The first two books are about the boys, jealousy, insecurity in her new relationship, as well as many other topics. This final book, however, is a lot simpler. There’s no real conflict. Lara Jean is happy with her boyfriend and very much in love. She’s waiting to hear back from a number of colleges and is getting ready to graduate. There’s a bit of drama relating to college but, apart from that, everything seems to tick on.
And that’s why I like it. Part of the charm of this series isn’t the romance (although that part is certainly very sweet). It’s Lara Jean herself, a cute, kind young girl, and her two sisters, Margot and Kitty. Together they are the Song girls, living with just their father after their mother passed away when they were young. Throughout all the novels, I loved the details about their family dynamic, all the little things they were getting up to and their little family dramas. All the girls have such great, unique personalities and in Always and Forever, Lara Jean, we seemed to get a lot more of that and the book overall ended up being a pretty quick and chilled out read.
As I said, I love Jenny Han’s books, I’d probably read anything by her, but I don’t really know anyone in real life who has read anything by her. So, IRL friends who are reading this, get on it please! I’ve also read Han’s Summer trilogy which I would also highly recommend. It starts off with The Summer I Turned Pretty and it follows a girl called Belly who measures her life in summers spent at her family friend’s beach house. She heads there every year with her mum and brother and stays with her mum’s best friend, Susannah, and her two sons, Jeremiah and Conrad. The story starts quite literally the summer Belly has become pretty and her relationship with Susannah’s sons begins to change from friendship and crushes to something a bit more real. Again, this is a perfect summery read with lots of drama and romance.
So that’s it for May! As mentioned above, I read much more this month and I hope to post all about those books in a holiday post quite soon. Let me know in the comments what you’re reading at the moment. I’d love to add to my ever growing TBR pile!