Over the summer, I kept seeing this book on display in bookstores. And it pulled me in like a magnet. The cheery orange cover. The close up of the smiling girl whose face was slightly off center. The henna tattoos. The iced coffee. All of it just spoke to me. And then, like most things in my life, I got busy and forgot about it.
But…then I saw it at my library last week and knew I had to read it RIGHT NOW.
Dimple has just graduated from high school and is soon headed off to Stanford to study computer engineering. She honestly can’t believe that her traditional Indian parents have approved this momentous change in her life. She feels like all her mother wants for her is to find a smart, hard working, Indian husband, and so maybe she’ll find one at Stanford.
But Dimple has dreams of becoming a top-notch programmer and developer, and has no time for Indian husband hunting. That’s not what she wants in life.
What she does want is to attend a super cut-throat engineering program in San Francisco for six weeks of the summer. And when she casually slips it in to conversation with her parents and various “Aunties” that she really wants to attend, she is shocked to discover that her parents are ok with spending the money and letting her go.
What Dimple doesn’t know is that her parents have been secretly planning that she would go to the summer program to meet Rishi, her future husband.
Rishi knows why he is being sent to the camp. He knows all about Dimple and is looking forward to meeting her. He understands tradition and its importance to his family. He tries at all times to be the picture-perfect Indian son — he respects his family, his culture, his traditions, and the expectations that the Indian community has for him. He is willing to give up his dreams of being an artist in order to be what his family expects him to be.
Of course, Dimple and Rishi have a meet cute soon after arriving in San Francisco. He approaches her with personal information that shocks her, and she throws an iced coffee in his face. Dimple is horrified and vows to have nothing to do with Rishi.
But of course that’s not how things go.
Dimple and Rishi find themselves thrown together again and again during the summer program. And they start to realize that maybe that isn’t so bad. They encourage each other and understand each other and help each other figure out who they really are while they’re away from their families, and whats important to their futures.
I loved a lot about this story. I loved how filled with Indian life and culture it was. When Dimple and Rishi spoke to their parents, the conversations alternated between English and Hindi…and very rarely was any of the Hindi actually translated. But it didn’t matter — it gave the dialogues an authentic feeling that would have felt forced if they had been all in English. I loved Dimple’s goal of building an app to help her father and to raise Diabetes awareness. I loved the scene between her and her mother when they both end up crying.
There were a few things I didn’t love. The “Aberzombies” subplot. The fact that the college where they were spending the summer JUST SO HAPPENED to have the greatest Comic Book Art college courses ever. (Is this even a thing you can major in while in college? Am I just old and boring?). And the ending. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER. Yes, of course, I’m glad they ended up back together. But I hate endings where everyone looks for each other and misses them and then finally find them in the last place they would have though to look. NOTE TO ALL ROMANTIC COMEDIES: YOU WILL NEVER FIND SOMEONE YOU ARE LOOKING FOR IN AN AIRPORT IF YOU ONLY HAVE VAGUE DETAILS REGARDING THEIR TRAVEL PLANS.
But the good outweighs the bad here. I really enjoyed this. I look forward to reading her next book when it comes out next summer.