Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
Every once in a while I participate in this one when I either
1) Like the theme, and/or 2) Have the time!

This week's topic:

Hi bookworms, it's been a while since I did a Top 10 post, and I'm not even on theme today, but we're seven days into our ten day event celebrating Sandhya Menon and TODAY'S release of her new novel 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY.

And, I mean, how could I NOT make a list today of all days?

I have read every single Sandhya Menon book -- and I've read each book in the Dimple-verse at least twice, if not three times (Especially impressive considering PINKY only came out today! Thank you early review copies!)

If you're new to Sandhya Menon books, she has written:


and in 2021, will be releasing
*OF PRINCES AND PROMISES {February 1, 2021}

and her first ADULT rom-com under the pseudonym Lily Menon,

*MAKE UP BREAK UP {February 2, 2021}

Why do I love Sandhya Menon and her novels?

Oh, let me count the ways!

In no particular order...


What is a good novel without really good romance? There are books where you don't really care if the main characters actually get together because they have no chemistry, and then there are books that really come alive and have you swooning over the characters and rooting for them to "just kiss already!" Thankfully, all of Menon's books fall into this category, and all of her couples have amazing interactions.  I always finish one of her novels with a huge smile on my face!


There aren't enough YA novels featuring strong familial bonds. The parents are just...always absent while the teens run around and do whatever they want. So when I see a book where family plays a prominent part, I get really excited.

Menon's families also have strong threads tying them to their Indian heritage and culture. Some parents are more "by the book" and traditional than other parents throughout the novels, creating interesting dynamics that fuelt various plots along. One thing, however, remains consistent: they're all supportive of their kids, even if they might not seem so on the outside. I think the Patel parents are actually my favorite of them all, because they just want their sons to be happy and are so kind and caring and supportive. Even though they're super rich, they act so every day and normal, and I always cheer to see a new scene with them and were so glad to have them featured in two Dimple-verse novels!


Some authors try to make their characters change or conform to fit society / their significant other.
Menon is NOT afraid to let characters be who they are meant to be and hold true to their believes. Take the

DIMPLE is so strong-willed and knows exactly what she wants for the future. Her mother wants her to find the "Ideal Indian Husband" and settle down and have a family, as is tradition, but she wants her own career and to go after her own dreams first. Rishi is so supportive of her and her goals and doesn't want to stand in her way or force her to change, despite being very traditional himself!

SWEETIE is an amazing athlete, talented singer, and also a bit overweight. And that's okay! While her mother is always nagging her to lose weight, Sweetie KNOWS she's healthy. And Ashishi could care less about her weight. He thinks she's absolutely gorgeous just as she is, and so does his family. I was SO HAPPY to have a book starring and overweight MC where there isn't fat-shaming that leads to the MC's quest to lose weight or something. This book was everything.

PINKY is a SJW and proud of it! There's always a new cause for her to stand up for, and it exasperates her mother to no end, but Pinky isn't about to stop standing up for the innocent or demanding change. And one of the novel's main plot lines centers around trying to save a butterfly habitat in a summer town from demolition, despite everyone telling her she's an out-of-towner and it isn't her fight. She'd rather spend her summer vacation supporting a cause she believes in then being lazy at the lake all summer!


I was over the moon when I heard the announcement that Menon would be writting a new series, St. Rosetta's Academy, and that each book would feature a different fairy tale. The first book, OF CURSES AND KISSES, came out earlier this year and features one of my favorite tales, Beauty and the Beast. I loved the way the book is so completely contemporary and modern, yet also has that whimsy that gives it more of a "contemporary fantasy" vibe, and I LOVED the way the curse was added into the mix -- not to mention the way the rose was featured! Check out my review for more on this great novel!

I'm so excited to pick up OF PRINCES AND PROMISES in 2021, which is inspired by The Frog Prince!

Plus, I love how Menon inserts mythology and lore into her contemporary novels as seemingly throw-away lines: I just did a huge post on the use of the Hindu goddess Kali in 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY a few days ago. If you missed it, check it out here!


One of my favorite things about THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT SWEETIE was a scene set during Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights. It's one of my favorite moments of the whole book, and I LOVE that it even made the book's cover! I learned so much about Diwali thanks to SWEETIE.

There are also two Dimple-verse novellas that take place during the holidays -- AS KISMET WOULD HAVE IT [Review here] begins with Christmas shopping before moving forward in time, and LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT takes place in a lovers-themed Escape Room on Valentine's Day! [Review here]  I know the Dimple-verse has come to an end, but I'd love to see more novellas in the future. I also would LOVE IT if Menon wrote a whole novel set during the holidays because she's so good at evoking the feel of the various seasons!


I love all of Menon's covers, but I ESPECIALLY love her Dimple-verse covers (Plus FROM TWINKLE WITH LOVE, which is an unconnected stand-alone, but has the same type of cover).

Each cover features a moment from the book come to life -- and it's always such an iconic scene that helps really cement the heroine's personality as well! The inside flaps on the hardcovers have little images from the book as well. 

Here's a peek at DIMPLE's full jacket:

And the back covers are also a thing of art, with additional scenes from the books.

I mean, look:

Lucky you! Here's a sneak peek from a photo shoot that I took for an upcoming Instagram photo @abackwardsstory!


I'll be doing a post later this week on the Dimple-Verse book design, which will give you yet another chance to win a copy of PINKY if you stop back to check it out!


I love a good trope! Hate-to-love, fake dating, friends to lovers, the boy next door, a sibling's BFF, etc. A few of my favorite tropes are in Menon's books already -- and Menon loves the hate-to-love trope as much as I do and has already used it a few times! I could read those forever.

I also love the way WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI feels like a rom-com movie in book form (And I'm SO excited to see the book become a movie this fall when Mismatched hits Netflix. Details here!)  I mean, even that ending is straight-up out of a rom-com movie and is so, so perfect!

I read more adult rom-coms and contemporary fiction than I do YA these days, and I am really, really, REALLY excited for Menon's adult rom-com debut MAKE UP BREAK UP in 2021. I will read both her YA and adult novels anytime, anywhere. 

Plus, how cool is it that all three Dimple-verse novels take their names from beloved rom-com movies such as When Harry Met Sally, There's Something About Mary, and 10 Things I Hate About You? I love it!


This is another thing that I wished happened more frequently between characters. In YA, in New Adult, in Adult -- everywhere. I kind of hate the romance novels that are so full of drama and misunderstandings. Sometimes, the scenarios are so outlandish that they completely pull me out of the story and are sooo annoying. I love that Menon's books avoid these tropes and instead have the characters talking to each other.

They have frank discussions about their futures, about their wants and needs. They talk about whether they've been kissed before or have less experience than their partner. They discuss if they're ready for sex or want to wait. They have serious conversations about whether they envision ever getting married or having children. They tell each other their hopes and feels. 

They have healthy relationships, and teens need to see more couples like these so they know what a good, positive relationship looks like!


I will tell you what. I own all of Menon's books in hardcover, but when I decided to re-read DIMPLE, SWEETIE, and PINKY earlier this month, I downloaded digital copies from my local library (Well, PINKY was a digital ARC, obviously, but you get what I mean) because I wanted to highlight all of the sentences. There are so many strong moments of writing.

Some of the sentences, are, of course, just very pretty:

"It was his damn fool heart. Ever optimistic, always looking for a sliver of sunshine in a sky clotted with thunderclouds."(Page 101, WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI)

"You make people sit up and take notice. I blend in. I'm like -- like boring old burlap and you're a duochrome, ombre, brilliant rainbow."  (Page 46, 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY)

"This was where he could stretch his wings -- damp and weak and slightly damaged from all his years at home -- and let them grow thick and strong in the sun." (Page 8, 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY)

You also have sentences that showcase just how overwhelmed the characters are with their feelings, and how gone they are:

"And then she smiled a smile so dazzling, Rishi tripped over his own feet."(Page 56, WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI)

"She opened her eyes and looked right into Ashish's. And the world shrank.
...You...You have the power to reduce me to vapor." (Page 249, THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT SWEETIE)

"He hadn't realized that her veins, her arteries, were just a road map to lead him to her." [Page 223, 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY]

Her writing style is really engaging, and I love how I can remember certain moments so vividly because of the descriptions and feelings of the characters!


If a book doesn't feel authentic, it's so hard to get on board, you know? I feel that the novels that burrow furthest into my heart and make a home there are ones ringing with authenticity. The characters and their motivations feel genuine, not forced. The relationships are solid and real -- be they romantic relationships, or threads between friends and family members. Even the world feels real and normal and ordinary and every day. Menon's books ring true, which makes me love them all the more. I'm addicted to her novels and think she has such a bright future ahead of her. I can't wait for a lifetime of reading her works!

What is your favorite thing about Sandhya Menon's books
-- or why are you excited to discover her?


If you are able to, please purchases a copy of 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY from indie-owned Wellesley Books, who will be hosting Sandhya Menon's virtual launch party for PINKY!

You can order online through Bookshop and Libro.fm -- the store will receive a portion of the proceeds and it will help so much!

Interested in attending the PINKY Launch Party?
Sandhya Menon will be in conversation with Becky Albertalli (SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA, WHAT IF IT'S US, YES NO MAYBE SO)
Tuesday, July 21st at 7 pm EST.

Sign up for the Zoom Webinar now!


You also have a chance to WIN A COPY of PINKY below -- it's truly the perfect summer read! It takes place during Pinky and Samir's summer vacation. I don't know about you, but personally, I love reading books that take place in "real time." I loved this book so much that I've already read it twice, and now I want you to have a chance to read it as well!

Enter below!

O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Sandhya Menon
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse / Simon & Schuster

Purchase Links:
BOOKSHOP *Order from and support your local indie or Wellesley Books, who is hosting the PINKY Virtual Launch Party! * 


Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways. 

O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Sandhya Menon
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Publisher: Simon Pulse / Simon & Schuster

Purchase Links:
BOOKSHOP *Order from and support your local indie or Wellesley Books, who is hosting the PINKY Virtual Launch Party! * 


Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After he’s dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?

O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Sandhya Menon
Release Date: July 21, 2020
Publisher: Simon Pulse / Simon & Schuster
Received: For Review

Purchase Links:
BOOKSHOP *Order from and support your local indie or Wellesley Books, who is hosting the PINKY Virtual Launch Party! *


The follow-up to WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI and THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT SWEETIE follows Pinky and Samir as they pretend to date—with disastrous and hilarious results. 

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. 


You could win...

-  A copy of 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY by Sandhya Menon!

This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL
wherever Book Depository ships!

You must be at least 13 years old to enter or have a parent's permission!

Winner will be emailed and must respond within 48 hours, or a new winner will be chosen.

Enter now!

...Stop by tomorrow for another chance to win, and check out yesterday's post reviewing WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI! for another chance to win!

You may have also missed these posts:

*Street team interview with Sandhya Menon
*A Twist in the Tail Thursday featuring 
 the mythology in PINKY
 *Learn more about Mismatched-- an upcoming Netflix film centered around our beloved couple Dimple and Rishi!
*{Review} AS KISMET WOULD HAVE IT -- and read it now for FREE!
*{Review} LOVE AT FIRST FIGHT -- and read it now for FREE!