Her Name Should’ve Been Tinkle: From Twinkle With Love by Sandhya Menon

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Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.

Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?

Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.

Source: GoodReads

I loved Menon’s debut but man her sophomore effort, I really, really, hated it.  There’s no other way of putting it.

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One of the things that bothered me the most about From Twinkle With Love was that I was never really able to find myself attached to either its characters or plot.  It just felt flat.  Also, Twinkle….gah, she annoyed me.

The book itself sort of has a little bit of Princess Diaries meets Boy Meets Girl feel to it.  I just realize I’m referencing two Meg Cabot books, surely that most be a good thing since I love Meg Cabot books, right?

Um, no.  At least not in this case.   Twinkle annoyed me.  Sahil annoyed me.  Twinkle’s idiotic parents and grandmother annoyed me.  Her best friend annoyed me.

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Everybody annoyed me.

Most of the story is told through Twinkle’s POV in letters to famous female directors.  A cute idea, but honestly after awhile I thought why not just have it be a regular diary.  There’s not really any connection to any of these directors except that Twinkle wants to be a famous director like them.  Even in Beverly Clearly’s Dear Mr. Henshaw, after awhile the main character drops addressing the letters to Mr. Henshaw.  It just seemed redundant after awhile.

Funnily enough, the lack of evolution with the salutation is also sort of synonymous with the lack of character development when it comes to Twinkle.  And God, I want to call her Tinkle throughout this review.

You know what, fuck it.  We’re going to call Twinkle Tinkle because I keep calling the idiot Tinkle in my head throughout the entire duration of reading this shit.  Did I mention that I hate this bitch?

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Based on that sentence alone, you can tell I’m not in a good mood.  Honestly, I felt frustrated throughout the entire reading process.  This was just not an enjoyable experience to read.

Usually, I am a fan of first person more than third person, but this is one case where first person did not work.  In fact, I actually preferred Menon’s first book which was in third person-that is a rarity for me.

Tinkle and I just did not get along.  I couldn’t connect with her.  At first I thought maybe it was because the narration sounded really young.  I know I’ve addressed this issue in the past in my blog, if it’s really a fault in the novel or not.  And in this case, I think it is.  I just had a hard time believing that a character with this maturity level was capable of being in a relationship and for that matter completing a movie.  She sounded at most she should’ve been twelve.  Actually, come to think of it, I know twelve year-old’s with better social skills than Tinkle.  Again did I mention I hated Tinkle….

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On paper, what Tinkle discusses throughout the book are good things.  I like books that discuss gender issues and diversity, but the gender issues was really more or less just randomly dropped a couple of times and that was it.  More of less, it was just used to give Tinkle’s movie original and give it credence and it annoyed me.  Especially since there was so much sexist behavior going on with the love interest, who even though he says he’s a feminist is just really an “Actually” guy.

God, I hate those fuckers.

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Sahil gets pissed because Tinkle because she thought her secret admirer was his brother not this random dude who obviously has a crush on her.  And it’s like her fault for thinking this and as a result we get the thirty page boo hoo scene of how it’s all Tinkle’s fault her life is shit.

Well, it might be in part but Sahil and Maddie are fucking idiots too.

I’ll get to the Maddie mess in a minute, after I eat some more of this watermelon sorbet infused with saki I made.  I need something to get this vile shit fest out of my head.

Watermelon sorbet

I needed a lot of sorbet after this book.

Okay, so yeah Sahil is a dick who has an inferiority complex because of his identical twin brother and Tinkle is somehow the bad guy.  And look, I don’t even want to defend Tinkle throughout all of this because she annoyed the shit out me…but portraying her as wrong in all of this GMAFB.

Anyway, now we’re on to Maddie.  If I was actually drinking while writing this review or eating watermelon sorbet I’d be rip roaring drunk right now because the book annoyed me THAT much.  That being said, Maddie is a terrible friend, terrible person.  Not really much else to say about her than terrible.

Not really much to say about these characters but terrible.

Terrible is the theme of the book, and it doesn’t only apply to characters but plot as well.

This book pretty much is about nothing.  However, unlike Seinfeld it fails at perfecting the art full of nothing .  I was so, so, freaking bored.  This book was a lot of tell and not a lot of show.   Really, nothing happened.  I was just told that Tinkle was making a movie, and somehow her movie was a success even though the production of it sounded more amateurish than when my AP US History class had to do a video presentation over the 20th century.  And that’s saying something.

I just wasn’t impressed…at all.  Which is sad, because again I really liked this author’s debut.  I just can’t recommend this one without grimacing.

Overall Rating: A C- and THAT’S being generous.

 

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Need Movie Now: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

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.

Source: GoodReads

When I heard about When Dimple Met Rishi it was on my TBR list pretty automatically, but I’ll admit it, I was a little skeptical about the whole arrange marriage angle.

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Okay, a lot of skeptical.

I think part of it is a culture thing.  In the US, arranged marriages aren’t really seen much.  I also took a course in law school on human trafficking, so I know how these marriages can go when they go wrong. And then I read that one book a few years back with a disastrous arranged marriage.  And finally, I know of someone who keeps avoiding being put in an arrange relationship by her mother so…it’s really hard to romanticize something like that.

Good thing is that Menon really doesn’t force the marriage angle at all.  In fact, Dimple’s reaction to the whole thing was so on point.

Oh, God, I love Dimple.  She is everything I want and more in a YA protagonist.   First of all, she’s direct to the point and bad ass.  Also, she’s interested in STEM which is highly unusual for a protagonist  in a YA book.  And it’s a genuine interest too, not some pandering interest ( a la that dumb ass Codes and Clues game in the Nancy Drew series).  I wish there would’ve been more discussion about her app, because it sounded really cool, but I did enjoy the parts that did focus on her and what a woman who is interested in STEM might potentially face.

I also enjoyed Rishi.  He was adorable.  At first I was kind of annoyed by him, because he did come off as slightly creepy in the opening pages of the book.  But it’s quickly revealed that that creepiness is really nervousness, and he really does develop as a character throughout the book.   Though, he still deserved that coffee in his face at the beginning of the book.

And oh yeah, the cover.  Totally fits the book.  I hardly ever can say that about covers, but this one fits.  And the cover models were actually how I pictured the characters.

The plot, is your pretty standard falling in love at a summer camp sort of thing with both Dimple and Rishi coming to realizations about themselves.  Menon makes the characters come alive, and I really like the infusion of Indian culture in the book.  It’s not done in a hammy way, but for readers who aren’t familiar with this culture will find it interesting.

The one  thing I did not like about this book was the side plot involving the Aberzombies.  I think it was in part suppose to be comedy relief, but all these characters came off as annoying and the whole bathing suit thing came off as borderline offensive and stupid.  It was the only thing that made me think about lowering this book from five stars to four.  However, I didn’t though.

Overall, if you want something cute and frothy to get your mind off of things, read this.  It’s a jut kiss already book  and it will take your mind off of things, while making you think about some other things.  Is it perfect, no.  But overall the faults it had, did not take away from the enjoyment (that much).

Overall Rating: An A.  A- if I want to be ultra picky.