Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Pages: 464 pages
My Rating: 5 Stars
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
The Hate U Give is one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read, and I wanna beat myself up for not reading this when it came out but I just got really scared of the hype. With hyped books, it’s usually a hit or miss for me, and I didn’t want people to hate me if I didn’t like this one. But oh boy, I was so wrong because I love this book with all my heart. In fact, this is my first 5-star book of the year.
I actually just watched the trailer for this one the other day, and I had goosebumps the entire time. The Hate U Give is a book that everyone must either read, or watch at least once in their lives. It’s an amazing story about a young girl finding her voice, having solace in her family, standing up for herself, living through grief, learning to love, learning the reality of Black violence, along with all the things that come from being a teenager.
The story is beautifully written, and I definitely felt so much while reading it. It’s amazing how Angie Thomas was able to weave all these things together into one beautiful novel. The Hate U Give encompasses so much, and my heart truly connected with the characters in this one. They all felt very real to me, and I just had this urge to give Starr a big hug. Ugh, definitely a must-read!
5 eye-opening-and-life-changing stars
Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 30thth, 2017
Pages: 380 pages
My Rating: 5 Stars
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.
When I first read the synopsis for When Dimple Met Rishi, I immediately wanted to read it. Fake and arranged relationships that turn into love are guilty pleasures of mine when it comes to romance novels. When I learned that this also features Indian characters, I just needed it in my hands! However, I was kind of put off because of the low Goodreads rating. Speaking of, how can such an amazing book not even have 4 stars?! How appalling! Anyway, I’ve read both positive and negative reviews on this one, and I kept them in mind while reading the novel. I mostly remembered the negative ones, but I couldn’t help but disagree with those because I just loved When Dimple Met Rishi so much!
I saw so much of myself in all the characters – Dimple, Rishi, Ashish, and Celia – and I just couldn’t help but fall in love with each of the characters. Being born of immigrant parents myself (Chinese in the Philippines) I sometimes feel like I don’t belong anywhere as well (Dimple) and how I still want to uphold the traditions of my ancestors (Rishi), at least those that I know of. Most of the time, I do things I’m uncomfortable with as well so as not to break the status quo and be branded as overreacting (Celia), and always have a defensive stance and not let people see me hurt or sad (Ashish). Sometimes I also don’t have the courage to speak up for what I know is right (Isabelle) and just like the parents of Dimple and Rishi, I often don’t know how to show love, understanding and acceptance in a way people would understand.
When Dimple and Rishi is a very dynamic book that encompasses so much. It showed Dimple’s relationship with her family, as well as Rishi’s relationship with his family. Here, it was seen that there were a lot of misunderstandings and ultimately, all our parents want for us at the end of the day is what would be best for us. Sometimes they don’t understand that what makes us happy may be the best things for us, but we to do our parts as well and make them understand. I also really loved how the relationship of Ashish and Rishi took a turn for the better after they talked to each other, although it still wasn’t perfect in the end.
I also loved how it featured aspects of Indian culture because it’s books like this that make people more open minded about the different cultures in the world. I had some issues because there were no translations for the Indian words in the novel, but that’s a minor issue for me. The aspects of respect towards elders and having to call relatives confusing titles is something similar with our culture as well, and I’m glad that I learned new things about Indian culture.
My favorite aspect is the journey that Dimple’s character took. She was very headstrong and stubborn at first, but towards the end of the book I believe that she has learned a lot. She often criticizes herself, but she’s also very adamant when it comes to her goals. Some people might find her character annoying, but I find her character to be full of potential. My favorite is probably when she learned to listen to her heart and learned to speak up for herself when it comes to her parents.
More than just about feels and romance, When Dimple Met Rishi is about culture, family, self-discovery, personal growth, gaining courage, learning to break the mold, and most of all, learning to listen to your heart and following it despite the criticisms of others, and most especially yourself. This book made me so happy and made me feel so many different things. I loved it to bits and pieces, and I wish everyone could appreciate it as much as I did. This is definitely a must-read!