Fun, uplifting, and culturally friendly!

Summary:

Simran "Simi" Sangha is from a family of Indian matchmakers and that is her expected career. But what she really wants to pursue art. When she accidentally demonstrates an aptitude for the skill of matchmaking, her mother, aunt, and best friend are delighted. She is dismayed but nevertheless begins to embrace that side of her as well.

Working with her techie older brother, Simi helps guide a matchmaking app that pairs up students at Mayfield High School. When she gets caught in the teen drama between a broken-up couple and two boys of her own, Simi has to decide where her heart lies and what the path to love truly is. This is a journey that includes plenty of chaos, bullies, crushes, and family expectations, as Simi learns to be proud of her own heritage while still becoming something unique.


Teen Student Reviewer (16):
I truly loved this book. In fact, it's the type of book I could read over and over again. The plot is quirky and fun, and nothing is too predictable. It is a lighthearted fun book that instantly cheers me up when I'm down. It always brings such happy feelings, and the plot is something I never tired of.

The representation of matchmaking and marriages in India is very positive, as was the portrayal of Simi's family and her culture/customs. The characters are well developed and likeable, including the resident "mean girl." I liked this book, and believe it is truly representative of the high school romance section of the YA genre.

The story is LGBTQ+ friendly and portrays healthy friendship and family relations. The image of Indian culture, marriages, and matchmaking is a positive one, something rarely seen in the media. The character interactions (Simi and her friends, Simi and her brother, her best friend, and her brother, etc.) are cute and realistic. The storyline is compelling, and the bits of culture sprinkled in throughout were highly enjoyable to read and easy to understand for someone who isn't already Indian.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

If you're looking for a book with positive cultural representation that is lighthearted and fun on a rainy day (or any day) this is it!

Content Awareness Factors:

There don't seem to be too many factors to be aware of. Contrary to other YA romance books, there is no drug/alcohol use. There is some bullying with students, but nothing is physically painful. A girl's shoes are stolen, her locker is filled with a sticky substance, and a precious heirloom is stolen. One thing that may be upsetting is that a closeted LGBTQA+ student is forcibly outed to the school, though aside from that instance he doesn’t receive much blatant homophobia. No explicit or implicit violence is depicted. There is slight talk of racism and implicit bias when one character calls another one out, and teenagers share kisses from time to time, though this is also not described in explicit detail. All in all, not many factors to be aware of.

 

I believe that this book is certainly one that people should keep on their shelves. Not only does it have a fairly accurate and positive portrayal of indian customs and marriage/matchmaking (compared to many other media works I've seen where indian marriage is portrayed as negative) but it is also a very fun, sweet, and cute story that you can read over and over again. All of the characters and their interactions are funny and lighthearted, and the overall tone of this book makes it something that is perfect as a casual read. I would read this book over and over again to cheer myself up, and think others may feel the same way!


Educational Themes:

Not only does this book teach about the importance of family and tradition, but it also manages to teach readers more about Indian culture in a positive light. It showcases how to find the true meaning of love, and the kinds of things people look for in a lasting relationship. There are great morals about modernizing traditions while still keeping their essence alive, handling friendships that can become rocky, and forgiving those that have done you wrong in the past.

Reading Level:
4.4
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
13 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
12 and Up
Age of child:
Teen Student Reviweer. Reviewer's Age: 16
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. This is a book you'll love the first time and return to when you need a laugh or a pick-me-up.

Title A Match Made in Mehendi
Author Nandini Bajpai
Publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers © 2019
ISBN 9780316522588
Material Hard Cover
Cost $17.99
Genres Family, Coming of Age, Art, Realism | Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Romance
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