ARC Review

A Hilarious & Lovely Coming of Age Novel in Purely a “Desi” Way! | ARC Review: A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai

Fifteen-year-old Simran “Simi” Sangha comes from a long line of Indian vichole-matchmakers-with a rich history for helping parents find good matches for their grown children. When Simi accidentally sets up her cousin and a soon-to-be lawyer, her family is thrilled that she has the “gift.”

But Simi is an artist, and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with relationships, helicopter parents, and family drama. That is, until she realizes this might be just the thing to improve her and her best friend Noah’s social status. Armed with her family’s ancient guide to finding love, Simi starts a matchmaking service-via an app, of course.

But when she helps connect a wallflower of a girl with the star of the boys’ soccer team, she turns the high school hierarchy topsy-turvy, soon making herself public enemy number one.

Gah! How do I even explain in words; how absolutely adorably amazing this coming of age desi”- in – US” book actually was!

First, before I even dive into the book and its plot and  it’s diverse characters; lets just talk about the formatting of the book – the cover, right of the bat is so freaking light and breezy, its like a hug in pink confetti. Secondly; every chapter not only starts off with a relatable quote from our protagonist’s familial matchmaking guide, it also has some very intricate and brilliant mehendi designs that not only please our (my!) creativity senses, but also set the tone of the book right!

Now, coming to the plotline; Simi, our protagonist, a clumsy and endearing freshman is currently on crossroads – her family’s expectations of her joining the family business of matchmaking, is just making her doubly sure that she needs to focus on her art. She is, of course an amazing artist who uses mehendi as her medium. Things take an interesting turn when she actually realises that she may have teeny – tiny gift for matchmaking herself.

Armed with her best friend, Noah on her side and cajoling her big genius brother, Simi & Noah hatch up a plan to use the original matchmaking ideals into a fun, modern app to find matches within their high school.

So, we navigate the sudden fame of a successful app launch; to the lovelorn crushes of both Simi and Noah while trying to avoid the mean girls of high school – all this made for a fast paced; fun and adventurous read that I actually flew through within a couple of days of picking it up!

But that wasn’t all what I absolutely adored about this book – the author did fan – freaking – tastic job of enunciating the loving and endearing yet nosy way our Indian parents try and interfere in our lives, both personal and professional. The not – so slight obsession of having a doctor or an engineer son/daughter – in law yet somehow finding the balance between being loving and overbearing parents we have come to adore and respect as we grow up.

But most of all, I enjoyed the growth that Simi showed from the first to the last page – the undeniable oscillation between what we want and what our parents expect from us is expertly and easily shown in how Simi handles it throughout the book – most of us will recognise our own lives, our own inner monologue when we read Simi’s perspective in the book and that is where the author has struck gold.

Match Made in Mehendi is not just a light, breezy and hilarious coming of age contemporary novel; it is also a reflection of the struggles, majority of the desis go through, at one or the other time in our lives; even if it’s done in fun and charming way!
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ .25



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