Monday, January 21, 2019

Review: From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon

Title: From Twinkle, with Love
Written by: Sandhya Menon
Published: May 22, 2018 by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: An aspiring teen filmmaker finds her voice and falls in love in this delightful romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi

Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy-a.k.a. Sahil's twin brother? Dream come true x 2. 

 When mystery man N begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it's Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she's fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil. Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she's got is not the one she's scripted. But will it be enough? Told through the letters 

Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.

I loved When Dimple Met Rishi, and I am picky about contemporary romances, so when I saw she had a knew book I instantly added it to me TBR. So when I was looking for a new audiobook from the library I saw this one and snagged it. And I am really glad I did because this was a fantastic contemporary romance.

What surprised me most about this book was the romance. You guys know me, I am a cold-hearted romancephobe who is really hard to win over in the ship department. But this book won me over. For one thing it's a fantastic slowburn. The relationship between Twinkle and Sahil takes the entire book to really develop. When it starts , all it is is a crush from Sahil but the more time they spend together the more you can see how much Twinkle likes him. And honestly I just wanted to shake her and make her realizes that the guy she is looking for is right there. But the best part for me is that it wasn't perfect. They both make mistakes and end up screwing things up, which made the relationship feel even more realistic and enjoyable for me.

But so much of this book was about relationships and that expended beyond the romance. Both characters had interesting family dynamics where they felt like they weren't seen an appreciated by their family which connected them even more to one another and to each other. I could completely relate to Sahil in particular and the fact that he felt like he was living in his brother's shadow. I know Sahil isn't a middle child but he definitely had that feel. And for Twinkle, the struggle with her friendships was the most relateable. For her, a lot of what she is doing is because she's trying to win back her former best friend who is now much more popular that here. She wants to be cool but at the same time, I like she didn't sacrifice her identity and interests to do that. She felt very realistic and that is what made me like her.

While I wouldn't really call this a coming-of-age story, I do feel like there were some really good elements of that to this book. For both Twinkle and Sahil they want to be seen and appreciated for who they are and what they are interested in. Twinkle definitely has good character development throughout the book though. In the course of creating this film and working with people who she thinks look down on her she realizes that she is the one not giving them a chance. Twinkle is like that episode of 30 Rock where Liz Lemon goes to her 20 year reunion only to find out she was a bully and not the sassy unpopular girl she thought she was. But unlike Liz Lemon, she realizes the error of her ways and grows from it.

The only thing I didn't love about this book, however, was the format. It sounded like a fun concept at first, to be writing diary entries to the female directors that she admires, but overtime I just became frustrated with it. Each chapter starting with "Dear Ava DuVernay" or "Dear Sophia Coppola" became a distraction for me. It would pull me out of the book sometimes even making me wonder who the person was she was writing to. Maybe it wasn't that much of a big deal if you read the book but with the audio, it was kind of an issue for me. But honestly, that was just a small personal complaint.

On the whole, this was a really good book. It was a cute contemporary romance with a good relationship and realistic characters you wanted to see succeed. There was good character growth and complex relationships beyond just the romance. Which honestly is all I look for in a contemporary novel.

I give From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you are a fan of contemporary romances and have not read Sandhya Menon you need to change that. And if you aren't a fan of the genre but are looking for one to read then I would still recommend it.

Have you read From Twinkle, with Love? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

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