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I would've liked this book much less if it hadn't been for how relatable Dimple Shah's relationship with her Mamma is, tbh. It's like Sandhya Menon heI would've liked this book much less if it hadn't been for how relatable Dimple Shah's relationship with her Mamma is, tbh. It's like Sandhya Menon held up a mirror and showed me how my mother made me feel. It all got to me...how Mamma hovers, how misogynistic she is, how she makes Rishi feel like her "entire existence is nullified if she doesn’t make the effort to look beautiful...nothing else matters—not her intellect, not her personality or her accomplishments; her hopes and dreams mean nothing if she's not wearing eyeliner" and how Rishi Shah is sure the only reason Mamma had agreed to let her go to Stanford was because "she was secretly hoping she’d meet the 'Ideal Indian Husband' of her dreams at the prestigious school". Rishi's fear of domesticity was so familiar. She felt the need to run away from a serious relationship because she didn't want to go down the same path as her parents. She didn't want to get married so young, a marriage her parents had arranged for her, even if she had fallen in love. There are some obvious red flags - one other readers have pointed out is how Dimple Shah kept hitting Rishi Patel. I've come to take my YA with a pinch of salt, y'all. A lot of the tropes in it are toxic. "Insta-love (I LOVED YOU FROM THE FIRST DAY I MET YOU NO I LOVED YOU BEFORE I EVEN MET YOU)", "love triangles (TWO HOT BOYS LIKE ME? WHY DOES MY LIFE SUCK SO MUCH?!)", "I'm not like other girls (I'M A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE AND MY ONLY FLAW IS NOT EVEN A FLAW)", "over-protective male love interest (I AM HERE TO FIGHT FOR YOU, MY DAMSEL IN DISTRESS, RESCUING YOU FROM NOT ONLY OTHERS BUT YOUR EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE SELF)", manic pixie dream girl (AKA THE JOHN GREEN FORMULA)...most of them are problematic. I'm not really going to get into that here. What I'd like to say is that I've read my fair share of contemporary young adult romance and I've never related to one like I did with this. Sandhya Menon said her inspiration was the lack of South Asian heroes and heroines in contemporary YA and I'm grateful for that. It is like every other contemporary YA - with all the worn-out cliches - and I am, for once, glad it is because it sounds like that is what she wanted it to be. Just a story about a boy and girl falling in love, teenagers who aren't from the other side of the world. One for us....more
I'm 21 years old but at times I still feel like I'm stuck at 17 or 18 and so I pick up books like this that transport me back to my teenage years. WheI'm 21 years old but at times I still feel like I'm stuck at 17 or 18 and so I pick up books like this that transport me back to my teenage years. Whenever I write a review of a young adult romance, I feel the need to justify why I still read them. I'm finally realising that I don't need to, though. We need endearingly life-affirming books in our lives. We need light reads to get us through late nights when we can't sleep and need an uplifting book to burrow into (I stayed up all night reading this). I'm not ashamed that young adult romances are the books that comfort me. My boyfriend moved abroad for a year 3 weeks ago and I've been rereading the Harry Potter series (which we both love) to get through him leaving. They've been so unbelievably soothing. I began watching the Harry Potter movies after I finished the books because I wasn't ready to lose the solace I found in them. After I finished watching the movies, I began googling "Books like Harry Potter" because I still am not ready to let go. This is where I found Words in Deep Blue, in a book list by BookBub Blog promising "10 Books Coming Out This Summer for ‘Harry Potter’ Fans". I read Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley four years ago. I had already began to read Words in Deep Blue when I remembered with a start who Cath Crowley was. If I'd remembered Graffiti Moon before I picked up Words in Deep Blue, I might not have read it. I am glad I didn't because Cath Crowley won me over last night. "But I love you, and before you say it words do matter. They’re not pointless. If they were pointless then they couldn’t start revolutions and they wouldn’t change history and they wouldn’t be the things that you think about every night before you go to sleep. If they were just words we wouldn’t listen to songs, we wouldn’t beg to be read to when we’re kids. If they were just words, then they’d have no meaning and stories wouldn’t have been around since before humans could write. We wouldn’t have learnt to write. If they were just words then people wouldn’t fall in love because of them, feel bad because of them, ache because of them, stop aching because of them, have sex, quite a lot of the time, because of them. ” The last line of this quote won me over. This book won me over, because half of it is about the characters falling in love through letters... and that is how I fell in love....more