I have love story standards. I don't think I had any standards for romance until I read Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park. Then I read Rowell's Fangirl and reading romance has never been the same. The scene where Cath reads The Outsiders to Levi is a masterclass and I need a scene close to that in every romance I read, or I'm disappointed. Sandhya Menon's When Dimple Met Rishi does not disappoint.
Dimple is a smart, middle-class, makeup shunning Indian-American bookworm with traditional parents and a love of app development. Rishi is a smart, wealthy Indian-American who suppresses his love of art in favor of being the son his traditional parents want. It's the summer before their freshman year in college and all Dimple wants is to win an app development deal and the opportunity to work with her hero, and all Rishi wants is Dimple, but she doesn't even know he exists. When Dimple meets Rishi and discovers his intentions she is not down for the cause. In six weeks the way they view themselves, one another, and their traditional parents is constantly shifting. Is it possible for everyone to get exactly what they need and reconsider what they want?
In the end, I didn't always like Dimple, but in even her petulance she felt real; I thought one plot point was too convenient and read more as device than development, and I wish more of the plot focused on the app development, but I get why it didn't - one book can't be everything for everyone. Menon does a fantastic job of bringing the reader into the Indian-American culture. She also writes some mesmerizing passages. This book at its heart is about self-discovery and realizing it is possible to respect what you know and where you came from while still living your true life.
When Dimple Met Rishi isn't a perfect book, but it does have perfect moments. In fact, it has enough perfect moments to make this one of my favorite books of 2017, so far.