** I received a digital ARC of this book from the author as I am part of Sandhya’s street team. This has in no way influenced my thoughts and opinions of the book – this is an honest review**
WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
Pinky Kumar wears the social justice warrior badge with pride. From raccoon hospitals to persecuted rock stars, no cause is too esoteric for her to champion. But a teeny-tiny part of her also really enjoys making her conservative, buttoned-up corporate lawyer parents cringe.
Samir Jha might have a few . . . quirks remaining from the time he had to take care of his sick mother, like the endless lists he makes in his planner and the way he schedules every minute of every day, but those are good things. They make life predictable and steady.
Pinky loves lazy summers at her parents’ Cape Cod lake house, but after listening to them harangue her about the poor decisions (aka boyfriends) she’s made, she hatches a plan. Get her sorta-friend-sorta-enemy, Samir—who is a total Harvard-bound Mama’s boy—to pose as her perfect boyfriend for the summer. As they bicker their way through lighthouses and butterfly habitats, sparks fly, and they both realize this will be a summer they’ll never forget.
WHAT ARE MY THOUGHTS?
Looking for a fun contemporary read with all the summer vibes for this time of year?? Sandhya Menon has got you covered with this fake dating and hate-to-love romance!
Bold and outspoken, Pinky Kumar doesn’t let much get in the way of fighting for what she believes in, not even her parents’ disapproval of her methods. Whereas organised to a T, “mama’s boy” Samir Jha finds comfort in following the rules and his mother’s wishes.
During her family’s annual vacation to their lake house at Cape Cod, Pinky hatches a plan that involves goody-goody Samir being her fake boyfriend in an attempt to placate and predominantly get the better of her mother’s constant rebuking.
Samir had his summer all planned out until his internship at a law firm fell through. So despite forever being at odds with her, when Pinky’s offer gives him another option over returning home to his overprotective mother, he takes it.
“What was wrong with being passionate and fiery and outraged? What was wrong with wanting the world to change, to expand its collective mind, to dig a little deeper to find the last dregs of empathy it could muster up?”
10 Thing I Hate About Pinky is as cute and heart-warming as you’d expect from one of Sandhya’s stories, but this time there is some added spice. I absolutely loved Pinky and Samir’s banter and bickering. Experiencing their clashing personalities in There’s Something About Sweetie had me wishing for more from them and this book threw the two of them together in the perfect way!
Previously curt and outwardly judgemental their relationship blossoms into one of understanding. Of challenging each other to break out of their respective shells – Samir bringing a hint of order to Pinky’s chaos and Pinky adding a dash of spontaneity to Samir’s checklist lifestyle.
“This was his life the way he liked it, here in black and white, predictable, manageable, controllable. No surprises.
And yet…the best things in his life so far, the most inspiring, amazing, scintillating thing had happened unplanned.”
One thing I always really love about Sandhya’s work is that alongside an endearing romance, there are wonderfully nuanced secondary relationships too, particularly familial ones. It’s always great to see well written and healthy female relationships within the YA contemporary genre and I really liked Pinky’s friendship with her cousin Dolly. Furthermore both protagonists have quite complex relationships with their mothers.
On Pinky’s side of the story the friction with her mother is prominent and really interesting to uncover. When it came to Samir however, having read Sweetie and thus being aware of his mother’s overprotective nature I was quite surprised to find that she didn’t have much of an appearance in the book. Being a companion book that you should be able to read without having picked up Dimple or Sweetie, I feel like the full scale of Samir’s relationship with his mum didn’t come through enough.
A significant part of Samir’s perspective that I really appreciated though was the portrayal and discussion about mental health – a topic that is still too often brushed aside, particularly in Indian families/society. We see how strong of a hold his need to plan and keep everything under control influences his world and it was great to see a conversation brought up about how seeking professional help in such situations is okay.
“But listen, people change all the time. Maybe not in big profound ways, but in little, incremental ways that end up changing essential parts of them anyway.”
Pinky may be missing the extra touch of desi-ness that the unapologetic Hindi phrases and Bollywood song references added to the previous two books, but reading it still felt just as homely in my heart. I’m sad that this marks the end of the Dimpleverse but I can’t wait to read what Sandhya writes next!
10 Thing I Hate About Pinky is OUT NOW!
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