Author: Sandhya Menon
Age Range: 13+
Published: By Simon Pulse on May 22nd, 2018
Content Warning: Racism, parental neglect, ableist language
Format I Read: Hardcover
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?
Having read and loved Sandhya’s debut, When Dimple Met Rishi, I had very high expectations from this book. The cover even had the same style and looked so gorgeous that I had the book pre-ordered!
It was love from the first page onwards for me and I devoured it in a matter of hours. Twinkle was nothing like me in my teens but I felt a special kinship because of our shared culture and the fact that she was a flawed character. She was shallow, blind to the way she was treating others, got carried away at times and yet she learnt from each of her failures. I admired her determination, courage and hard work. The family dynamic was quite complicated in this one as it didn’t have the typical desi stereotypes and the way it was handled impressed me. The friend group was not my favourite but Sahil was the most swoony, sweet and dorky love interest of all time! He was understanding, adorable, painfully shy and became my favourite the moment he was introduced.
The plot was not the most evenly paced, but the characters were so good that it didn’t make a dent in my reading experience. The epistolary format is something I don’t enjoy in books but Sandhya managed to wow me without breaking a sweat. It was heart-warming to see Twinkle writing to her favourite female directors. This book had strong feminist themes, tackled girl-on-girl hate and took down tropes like the ‘popular mean girl’, while maintaining the cutesy, summery, feel-good vibe. This balance is quite difficult to pull off but if anyone can, I trust Sandhya Menon to do it. Overall, I’m so glad I read this as I was at a dark point in my life and it really helped to put a smile on my face and fill my heart with hope. For that, it will always have a special place in my heart.
I would highly recommend anyone who enjoys the young adult contemporary genre and looking for a diverse, fun-filled yet relevant book to pick it up without a second thought. For the music, some soulful, romantic Bollywood songs should totally do the trick to set the mood. For the food, Indian is the only cuisine I’d recommend and, more specifically, North Indian.
Have you read this book? Have you read any of Sandhya’s books? Do you have any similar diverse contemporary recommendations for me? Let’s discuss in the comments section below.