{Review} 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY by Sandhya Menon -- and enter to win 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY!

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

   THE DEAD BODY WAS an especially nice touch. Pinky Kumar grinned at her friend Ashish's prone figure. 
   "This is amazing," she said, touching Ash's face. 
   It looked waxy and pale, and his lips were the exact right color of death. Well, what death probably looked like, anyway. "You said Sweetie did this?"
   "Yeah, she took a stage-makeup class last year," Ash said, cracking open one translucent eyelid. "Does the hair look okay, though? I did that myself." 
   "The hair's poppin'," Pinky said, lifting up a few strands of the purple wig he wore, the thick locks falling past his shoulders. "You look like you could start shredding on a guitar any minute."
   They were in Pinky's living room, where they'd lit a dozen LED candles all over the furniture and floor and drawn the shades for extra ambience. Ashish was lying on the couch, his arms crossed on his chest, barely breathing. Of their friend group, he was the only one who'd been able to help her out on short notice; everyone had alraedy flitted off to various holiday destinations. Ash himself was leaving for Hawaii later today.

(Page 4, US e-book edition)

“Pinky Kumar knew who she was -- a social-justice warrior. She wore that metaphorical badge with pride, laughing at those anonymous internet trolls who tried to use the phrase as a slur. What was wrong with being passionate and fiery and outraged? What was wrong with wanting the world to change, to expand its collective mind, to dig a little deeper to find the last dregs of empathy it could muster up? So yes, Pinky knew and loved who she was.


I love reading books set during the summer in, y'know....the summer. It just makes me feel like I'm right there and experiencing things in real time, you know? And I always read more contemporary in the summer, too. It's like there's something about sun-drenched days and ice cream date nights and fireworks and vacations and first loves and beaches and ALL THE THINGS. 

Sandhya Menon's latest novel, 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY, takes place during the summer and it takes place at a lakehouse. Plus, it has the rom-com tropes of fake-dating and hate-to-love, so it's fun from beginning to end. There are also some amazing scenes set at a butterfly reserve, including a fantastic kissing scene. ^.~ I first read PINKY in the fall as soon as I received a review copy, then re-read it earlier this month. I appreciated the summer aspect so much more this time around -- though I'll admit, at times it was hard to read because I decided to time my re-read right during the search for actress Naya Rivera, who was one of my favorite parts of the TV series Glee back in the day. Reading about teens messing around on a lake when you're reading stories about how dangerous lake swimming can be while rescuers are out really muted the love of that aspect of the story for me. When I re-read it again in the future, I'm sure that will be out of my system though, lol. Interestingly, I've read so many novels featuring lake swimming in the past, and never realized the hidden dangers, so I may just read such scenes differently from now on. We'll see. Luckily, there aren't too many scenes in PINKY actually set on the lake. There are, however, many set at a gorgeous butterfly reserve. 

The novel revolves around Pinky Kumar, whose family owns a lakehouse that they go to every summer. Pinky is proud to be a Social Justice Warrior and always supporting a good cause. Her parents are often exasperated with her and don't understand her. When the barn burns down, Pinky's mother accuses her of messing around with delinquent boyfriends. Desperate to show her mother that she isn't always doing horrible things, she blurts out that she has a boyfriend, a good boy this time. Then, she extends an invitation to Samir Jha to spend the summer with her as her fake boyfriend. Samir has just lost his summer internship due to no fault of his own and doesn't want to go home with his tail between his legs. He agrees to Pinky's offer, even though they're more frenemies than friends, but neither knows how this devious plan will draw them together for real....

This is, for now, the final book set in Menon's Dimple-verse and you don't technically have to read WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI or THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT SWEETIE in order to dive in. It does take place after SWEETIE, and Pinky and Samir are both really good friends with Ashish Patel, one of the two main characters in SWEETIE. He's in the opening chapter and Sweetie is mentioned, and there are some texts with Ashish here and there throughout the novel, but they have very little presence in the book, and neither Dimple nor Rishi have a presence. The book is very self-contained, and will likely make readers curious to read about Ashish next if they haven't already, but there really aren't any spoilers that will hinder enjoyment of the book.

There are so many good summer vibes and rom-com feels this time around. Pinky has such a huge heart. She finds a baby opossum outside and decides to nurse it back to health, and there are so many comedic scenes with the opossum, who plays dead so often that she's named Drama Queen. Pinky also isn't lazy: She's not going to waste her summer hanging around the lake and swimming and tanning and not doing anything with herself. Instead, when she hears that her beloved butterfly reserve that she helped build as a child is going to be razed and turned into condos, she spends her summer helping to fight to preserve it and move the building elsewhere. Many people wouldn't spend their free time fighting so hard for what they believe in, but it is a huge part of Pinky and really strengthens her as a character.

When I read THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT SWEETIE, I was always intrigued by Pinky when Ashish was out with his friends, but Samir always got on my nerves a bit. He changes and grows a lot in SWEETIE, and has really evolved by the time he gets his own book in PINKY. I was really happy to see the growth and to find him to be a character I could stand behind and root for. There is also a lot of exploration into his past and how it has shaped him, which I also enjoyed, because it really fleshed him out. Interestingly, when I did my re-read earlier this month, I read PINKY first, then SWEETIE, then DIMPLE, and went backwards. It was really striking to see how Samir was after just seeing how he has changed, and the difference is an ocean in all the best ways.

Like all Menon's other books, there is a huge focus on familial relationships. I don't want to go into too much because spoilers, but Samir's mother used to be very sick, and he always worries that the cancer might come back and has shaped his life around those fears. Pinky's mother is always nagging at Pinky to change and to be less of a SJW, etc, but they have some huge heart to heart moments in the book that really open them up to one another and allow them to understand each other and strengthen their relationship in so many new ways. Pinky also has a strong friendship with her cousin Dolly (maybe someday we'll return to the Dimple-verse with a Dolly book!) and their connection is also a highlight of the novel.

10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY is a perfect book to read this summer in a lawn chair, at the pool, etc, and really reminded me of why I love Menon and her books so much. They always have such a great focus on relationships, not just romantically, but revolving around family and friends as well, and they always have memorable scenes that are so interesting, the publisher has added them to the inside flaps and back covers! (See more about the design below or in today's design analysis post.)


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

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


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!

"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."(To come -- tech issue)
"The ghosts of boyfriends past hovered between her and her parents, all of them jostling for space." (
To come -- tech issue)

"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." (To come -- tech issue)

"She was no stranger to deceiving her mom (wouldn't you deceive your captor if she forced you to live in a corset and you were more an Empire-waist kind of girl?)..." (To come -- tech issue)

"I don't know what it'd say about me if I were to invite your beautiful, mind-spining chaos into my life." (To come -- tech issue)"Pinky Kumar might just be an optimist who spent her time masquerading as a cynic. And somehow, that made him like her even more." (To come -- tech issue)

"No matter what I do, Samir, she's always going to find a reason to criticize me. When it's me against the world, she's always going to side with the world." (To come -- tech issue)

"He hadn't realized that her veins, her arteries, were just a road map to lead him to her." (To come -- tech issue)


Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: G ( Kissing )
Language: PG13 ( Light cursing such as hell and damn/dammit and crap and sucked, etc; acronyms such as SOL and WTH and WTF; name calling such as Gringo and douche and asshole and slut; using 'wrong words' such as 'ducking' or 'effed-up'or 'gotdang' to convey other language. Sexual lingo implicaation such as 'hooking up' or 'nads' or 'impregnate.'  )
Violence: --
Other:  PG13 ( Offpage underage drinking by a secondary character that leads to a burned down building; scondary characters talking about beer; character is lectured for being a delinquent and vandalizing or stealing or sneaking around drinking alcohol based on past boyfriends. A character mentions she was with other teens who had been smoking and she smells like smoke. A possible trigger is one character's mother previously had cancer and he still worries about it and acts accordingly.)
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

This cover really captures the essence of Pinky, complete with pins on a denim jean jacket and that fabulous mermaid hair!

Like all of Menon's other YA contemporary fiction novels, there is a second scene on the back cover straight from the novel and an image of the couple on the back interior flap. This was the first book not to have a picture on the front interior flap as well.

I don't have a flat lay this time due to COVID19 and couldn't really flatten my copy without damage, but take a peek:

I always love the styling and the lighting of these photo shoots that lead to such vibrant colors, and the books always look so good together in a stack, too, fully complementing one another.

Check out today's other post on cover design for more about the design!
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!

You get an extra entry for every day of the event if you comment on these posts as well:

*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!