When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: Book Review

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Obtained: Simon & Schuster Canada, ARC
Pages: 380
Publish date: May 30, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

SUMMARY

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.

Goodreads

WHAT I LIKED

First of all, I loved the diversity in this book. I love reading about different cultures and traditions, and this book actually gave me a great insight into a culture that isn’t my own.

The story was also super adorable. It was so sickly sweet that I found myself d’awww-ing out loud. I find a lot of YA romances feel interchangeable and eventually I begin to mix them up in my head, but you just know right off the bat that When Dimple Met Rishi is going to be a rom com to remember. All of the little details in the novel – Insomnia Con, Dimple and Rishi’s separate dreams and passions in life, the Bollywood dance routine – are ones that will make this YA romance stand out against all of the other ones for me.

Dimple and Rishi were great, and I actually really loved Dimple as a strong female lead. I could imagine her perfectly in my head, and I related to her quite a bit.

AND WHAT I DIDN’T

Honestly, I felt the ending to this book was kind of rushed. There was only 100 pages left and Insomnia Con still had three weeks to go. I kind of wished all of the plots had more time to wrap up; it was literally the halfway-point of Insomnia Con and then the next paragraph was “we’re announcing the winners”.

My other issue with this book is that I didn’t particularly like the secondary characters – Celia and especially the Aberzombies – seemed very flat. The “bad guys” were so over-the-top “bad” that I just couldn’t believe them. I wish they’d had more redeeming qualities to make them more well-rounded.

RECOMMEND IF…

  • You love cheesy romantic comedies;
  • You crave some diversity in your reading;
  • You want a read that will keep you smiling the whole way through;
  • You’d like to gain perspective about social privilege.

When Dimple Met Rishi is available online at Chapters Indigo, Book Depository, and Kobo.

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Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven: Book Review

Holding Up the Universe

Obtained: Purchased at Chapters
Pages: 400
Publish date: October 4, 2016
Rating: ★★★★

I love when bookstores do the thing when they stock the book before it’s technically released.

So last year, I fell in love with Jennifer Niven’s first book, All the Bright Places. When I found out she was writing another YA novel, it rose to the top of my “Want to Read” list. And then the other day (actually, yesterday), I found it sitting on the shelf at my favourite bookstore. Needless to say, I bought Holding Up the Universe and gobbled it up in a day.

Holding Up the Universe is about a girl named Libby who used to be America’s Fattest Teen; many people know her as the girl who got stuck in her own house and had to be rescued. Now that she’s lost a lot of the weight, she is ready to go back to school. The other protagonist, Jack, suffers from face-blindness – a disorder that means he cannot recognize faces, including his family, or even himself. He constantly feels as though he is in a crowd of strangers, even in his own home. But he compensates for that by remembering people’s identifiers and embracing the fact that his own identifier is often ‘douchebag’.

I was a little bit nervous going into this book due to the subject matter – if approached incorrectly, this story could have been offensive or cliche. But this novel is neither of those things (at least, to me). I actually found myself relating a lot to Libby. I never earned attention because I was too big, but I was often bullied by people who had simply decided upon first glance that they didn’t like me. And Niven captures those feelings really well.

The writing was very emotional, which I’m glad to see carried over from All the Bright Places. I loved reading about these two characters going through their own issues and finding comfort and support within each other. I also enjoyed the numerous references to nerd culture (Supernatural, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who)!

I could go on about this book, so I’ll stop here. But basically, if you were a fan of All the Bright Places, or if you like books by Rainbow Rowell or John Green, I highly recommend you dive into the world of Niven’s writing. Because she is incredible, and I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

Holding Up the Universe is available online at Chapters Ingido, Book Depository, and Kobo.

The Kite and the String by Alice Mattison: Book Review

The Kite and the String: How to Write with Spontaneity and Control--and Live to Tell the Tale

Obtained: Penguin Random House Canada, ARC
Pages: 256
Publish date: August 16, 2016
Rating: ★★★

The book’s full title is what got me interested – The Kite and the String: How to Write with Spontaneity and Control, and Live to Tell the Tale. I consider myself a writer because I think in writing. I see something happen and imagine how it would be described in a book. I capture moments in words as they settle in my mind. But it’s been quite a while since I’ve put pen to paper and written fiction. As a NaNoWriMo participant a couple of years ago, I got to stretch that skill, but recently, it’s been slipping through my fingers. Enter Alice Mattison and her book about helping writers to perfect their craft.

Firstly, Mattison begins by explaining that this book isn’t for people who want to learn how to write; it’s a book for writers who want to learn further technique – which I appreciated. She gives quite a lot of great tips that I have taken note of in my phone for now to explore as I write this year’s NaNoWriMo novel.

She explains that when building a character, the writer shouldn’t base them off of a person they know entirely. It’s best to stretch the imagination and create completely new characters and let them drive the plot (no, they’re not two separate things). She also brought up a lot of issues that I find myself stumbling into as a writer of fiction and how to overcome them, such as describing the fact that a character is thinking of something (unnecessary), or giving the okay to write sentences that are informative (they’re not boring if they’re about something you’d want to know).

One thing Mattison wrote that I didn’t agree with was that breaking chronology of the story distracts from the story itself and focuses too much on the writer and the medium of the book. As a reader, I don’t find myself getting distracted from a story because it isn’t told in a straight narrative from beginning to end. I quite like a style that isn’t too linear. I don’t write that way typically, but I really appreciate the writers that do.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this book. I got a lot of quality tips from it that I can use in my writing, and now I’m super motivated to write a great book for NaNoWriMo, avoiding all of the bad writing traps I often fall into.

The Kite and the String is available online at Chapters Indigo, Book Depository, and Kobo.

Recent Reads: Mini-Reviews

I’ve been trying to read a lot of books that I already own, or ones that I have been wanting to read for a while, but I don’t want to sit here and write out a crazy long review for a book that’s been out for years and years. So here are my super mini reviews of books that I’ve recently finished!

This Is Where It Ends

This is Where It Ends – Marieke Nijkamp

Pages: 285
Rating: ★★★

The only one on this list that hasn’t been out for a number of years, but I still don’t really want to talk a whole lot about it. Really moving story about a high school shooting, written entirely in the time span of the shooting itself. The characters were actually diverse and real, which I loved, and the story was simply tragic. I was so heartbroken at the end. I recommend this YA read to anyone who is looking for something quick and easy to read, but still has depth and is worth your time.

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

Pages: 837
Rating: ★★★★★

I don’t think I need to talk much about this book. Everyone’s heard the hype. But let me just say. Since reading the book, I’ve watched the first episode of the show, and I’m actually way more excited to continue reading than I am to continue watching. Onto the second book right now, and I’m absolutely in love with the writing style, the characters, the way that Martin has built this entire world – it’s incredible and already one of my favourite series.

V for VendettaV for Vendetta – Alan Moore

Pages: 296
Rating: ★★★★

I think I’m one of the few people left who hasn’t actually seen the film. But this graphic novel was such a great read, I literally couldn’t put it down. Started and finished in a couple sittings in one day. Watchmen is one of my favourite reads, so I knew I’d love Moore’s other works, and V for Vendetta was no exception. I’m looking forward to watching the film now and seeing how much was changed, because this book is really politically and philosophically deep, and I don’t know how much of the dialogue can be successfully moved to the screen.