Since it’s been a little while since I read these, I figured that I would do mini reviews for each since I can’t remember all of my feels but definitely the intense ones. Both of these books were some of my highly anticipated contemporary reads this year – LITERALLY I WAS SO EXCITED FOR THEM – but I found that they did not quite live up to my super high expectations of them. I definitely preferred When Dimple, but neither sadly made it to my favorite contemporary shelf. Let’s take a look at my full thoughts!
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
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.
I’m going to start this by saying this book has some serious adorable moments. It had some cute moments, it had some funny moments (the first meeting between Dimple and Rishi was literally so adorable and actually got a real life chuckle out of me), and it had some super positive role model moments (epic girl coding and actual conversations between couples about important issues). This book is definitely a good contemporary in so many aspects.
My favorite character was definitely Rishi. Omigosh, I give five amazing princess crowns to that man. He was so cute and funny and in tune with his feelings. I was just like, BUT I WANT A RISHI OF MY OWN. SO CUTE. Ugh, he might be one of my favorite book boyfriends of the year.
Dimple was good. I never felt a super big connection to her, but I could understand where she was coming from in may situations. I loved how you saw her progress from beginning to end and she did feel like a different character by the end of it – and one that I really liked.
There was really only one big issue that I had with the novel, and it was the pacing. It took me an absurdly long time to read this – if it’s a cute contemporary and I’m in a reading mood, I should be able to knock it out in 2 days. It took me 9. It just seemed like I would get bored a bit and give up on it for the night.
I think my issue stemmed with what Steph @ Lost Purple Quill mentioned in her review – the moment after the arranged marriage issue came and went, I just lost that tension and draw that had originally drawn me in. I loved the idea of them working through the whole arranged marriage issues and then falling in love, but literally they had agreed they were not getting married within the first two meetings. Where was that original tension that kept it quirky and different? It was still cute, but it just lost its extra little magic and what I had envisioned for the romance.
Overall, this was a super cute contemporary, but it lost me a bit with the pacing and how things really didn’t match up with what it seemed to be. The characters were still good, the plot was good(although, why the heck was there a need for a talent show – I just wanted lots of epic coding!!), and I want to marry Rishi myself. The diversity aspect was brilliant as well. 3.5 crowns and a Jasmine rating since there were parts I really enjoyed but also parts where I was like, but eh!
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I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.
This was easily what I thought my top contemporary would be this year. It sounded so ADORABLE. I mean, flirting failures + guidance in K dramas + one epic swoony name? Oh, Mandy thought she might have to be revived because she was surely going to swoon to death. The issue? Well, Desi. D:
I understnad a lot of what Desi did was based on her guidance of K dramas, but a lot of it just felt too…like I wanted to smack my head with my hand in that cliche way. I found myself thinking, WOW, that’s really selfish (SPOILER: she literally puts nails on the road so they have a big trauma and ends up RUINING his car and getting herself injured – plus, she literally uses the “dead mom card” whenever she sees fit). It just rubbed me the wrong way.
Also, I didn’t really feel a connection with anything or anyone. There would be a moment that would be, oh, that’s a cute. Or oh, lol internally, but nothing struck me as standing out.
My favorite part was Desi’s dad. Omigosh, he was wonderful. I was so in love with him – and you know the struggle is real in a book where you’re literally heart eyes over a protagonist’s father and literally no one else.
Overall, it was decent enough read, but I skimmed a lot at the end. I thought a decent amount of it was cute, but I just couldn’t get behind Desi and some of her actions. I really don’t have too much more else to say about this (i. e. actually the mini review in this “mini” review post XD). 3 crowns and a Belle rating!
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