I should start off by saying that I do not typically read YA. I have always been more inclined to read adult fiction, even when I was the target audience for YA. Thus, when I do read YA, I try to judge lightly. I know I'm not the target audience and I know it's not my usual thing.
I decided to pick up When Dimple Met Rishi because two different ladies on Booktube praised this book as being a NEW type of feminist YA. "Dimple's into coding!!" "She's letting nothing--not even a boy--stop her from pursuing her dreams!!" "She don't need no man!!"
A YA book about a strong female character pursuing a career in coding with feminist themes? OK cool. I'm game. I put myself on hold at the library and wait.
When Dimple Met Rishi is the story of Dimple, an Indian-American 18-year-old who is headed off to a coding camp the summer before she starts college at Stanford University. Her parents have selected a husband for her and believe college is merely a stepping stone in her preparation for marriage, but Dimple is not into their plans. Her focus is to go to coding camp and create an app to win the camp prize: a mentorship with her idol, app designer extraordinaire Jenny Lindt.
When she arrives at camp she discovers that her parents agreed to pay for camp only because her husband-to-be Rishi is attending as well. At first, she is furious and even more so when she discovers she and Rishi have to be partners for the entire summer. But Rishi is eager to please and a short time later (like a week later), they are developing feelings for each other. Soon, Dimple is reconsidering what she really wants out of life.
So how was the NEW type of YA book? It was very anti-climatic.
There's a brief discussion of the coding camp and the coding project Dimple and Rishi are working on at the start of the book and then a mention of them working on it in the middle of the book. We also spend a few chapters on the end of the coding project as part of the denouement.
The rest of the book is spent on Dimple and Rishi's relationship and also on a talent show that is held at coding camp.
I can't tell if the Booktube ladies called this feminist YA because they truly think it is or if the usual YA they read is so completely ridiculous that this seems like a breath of fresh air.
I did like reading a book about Indian-American characters written by an Indian-American author, but otherwise this YA seemed rather typical, insta-love included. I mean both of these characters are 18, but they're acting like they have their whole lives figured out! It boggles my mind!
I liked the book, but I didn't love it. It was a fast read and it was cute, but overall it was a letdown for me. Le sigh, the problem of buying into the hype.