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.
Have you ever gone into a book thinking that it’ll just be a casual read, and then it completely sweeps you off your feet and puts you on a rollercoaster ride? Well, that’s how I’d describe my reading of When Dimple Met Rishi. Everyone’s been hyping this book up so much so I knew it’d be a great book, but I didn’t expect it to hit me so hard
I loved the false set up of an opposites-attract romance. Dimple rebels from her traditional Indian family to become the web coder she’s always dreamed of being. Rishi sacrifices his dreams of comic book art and design to obey his parents’ wishes and attend MIT for engineering. How different they are, right?
Wrong! As the story continues, we start to see just how similar these two nerds are. So even though their whole relationship is off to a rocky start (re: Iconic scene where Dimple throws her iced coffee on Rishi when they first meet as depicted on the back of the hardcover), their friendship and eventual romantic relationship bloom throughout the summer in such a refreshingly natural way. My gosh, I love these two.
And yeah, it’s a story about an arranged marriage, but it’s such a positive one! I remember explaining this book to a co-worker when I worked at the library and they immediately stopped caring. Don’t be like them! Don’t skip over When Dimple Met Rishi just because the only stories involving arranged marriages are tragic love stories! This is a beautiful love story with a happy ending.
I mentioned their relationship starts off strained because their first meeting isn’t exactly what you see in the fairytales. But they’re soon paired up for the competition at their summer coding program and forced to work together. They quickly realize how not-so-different they are and become friends. Dimple makes it clear from the beginning that she’s in no rush to get married, and Rishi totally respects that. Their communication is so open and accepting and I loved seeing it in a YA book.
I want to talk about Dimple’s relationship with her parents because that’s also an important part of this story. Although Dimple’s parents push her to find the Ideal Indian Husband™, they don’t force her to do anything. It’s what parents do when they meddle in their kids’ lives but aren’t as slick as they thought. And I totally get how this could be abusive in certain circumstances, but that’s not the case here! I don’t want to give spoilers, but I promise Dimple’s relationship with her family is a lot healthier than it may appear at first glance!
Last few comments I want to make about these two dorks before I wrap this up! Dimple actively rejects traditional feminity without being an “I’m not like other girls” character which is BEAUTIFUL. Rishi breaks stereotypes too because he’s not the super genius doctor or engineer or lawyer that his parents want him to be or that
white Americans seem to expect from first- and second-generation Americans. He’s smart, definitely, but he’d rather put his brains to art than STEM subjects (which is a mood).
Final Thought: I could go on and on about this book and these characters but 1) I’m sure y’all wouldn’t want to read all of that and 2) I’m on the verge of accidentally writing spoilers in this review. So I’ll stop here to tell you that you need to pick up a copy of When Dimple Met Rishi ASAP!