Today I am ranking Sandhya Menon’s young adult books! Quick disclaimer: I am not including the adult novels she’s written under her pen name, Lily Menon, or any anthologies she’s been a part of. Sandhya is an Indian American woman that specialises in YA rom coms. She likes to parody iconic films and spin them in her book titles. You’ll see what I mean soon enough. Her lead characters are typically women of colour, which makes me very happy. I love her culture being represented in her stories. Without further ado, from most favourite to least, let’s get into it!
1.) There’s Something About Sweetie
In first place, we have There’s Something About Sweetie. It follows Sweetie and Ashish, two teenagers with something to prove. Their parents have set them up. Could anything be worse? But with each date, they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. I absolutely adored this book! It made me laugh and cry. This is such an important story that everyone should read. It highlights the word ‘fat’ is not bad, only society makes it so. It shows that large girls can be healthy, strong and sexy, despite how they are initially judged. It promotes the ideal that people are worthy of love and happiness no matter their size. Such a refreshing read! If you only pick up one book on my list, let it be this one.
2.) When Dimple Met Rishi
This is Sandhya’s most well-known book. Meet Dimple. Her main aim in life is to escape her traditional parents, get to university and begin her plan for tech-world domination. Meet Rishi. He’s rich, good-looking and a hopeless romantic. His parents think Dimple is the perfect match for him, but she’s got other plans. Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works even harder to prove itself in the most unexpected ways. This was such a feel-good read that made me smile from ear to ear. The story itself was engaging and unique. I thought Sandhya did an excellent job developing her characters and giving them flaws to work through. I would highly recommend this book for anybody who is partial to a cute love story with plenty of laughs along the way.
3.) Of Princes and Promises
In third place, we have Of Princes and Promises. This is the sequel to Of Curses and Kisses – from the Rosetta Academy series. The third book is set to come out in September. It follows nerdy Rahul, desperate to win popular socialite Caterina’s heart. When he is given the opportunity to attend a fancy event as her plus-one, he discovers a hair gel that transforms him into the suave RC. Believing only RC is worthy of Caterina, Rahul becomes obsessed with his superior alter-ego, but his true love yearns for the Rahul she feels comfortable with. I loved this unique take on the classic Frog Prince tale. It went in a pleasantly surprising, unexpected direction that made it far less predictable than I initially thought. It was full of heart and growth. Truly a feel-good story that will make you smile.
4.) Of Curses and Kisses
In fourth place, we have Of Curses and Kisses, the first book in the Rosetta Academy series. Will the princess save the beast? For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will stop her from exacting revenge. Then she finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. All she has to do is make him fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanour and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right? It’s the enemies to lover’s trope we all swoon over. I loved their chemistry and magical moments. It made me wish I could attend Rosetta Academy, despite my distaste for cold weather. Highly recommend!
5.) 10 Things I Hate About Pinky
In fifth place, we have 10 Things I Hate About Pinky. Pinky Kumar wears the social justice warrior badge with pride. No cause is too esoteric for her to champion. But a tiny part of her also really enjoys making her conservative, buttoned-up corporate lawyer parents’ cringe. Pinky loves lazy summers at her parents’ Cape Cod lake house, but after listening to them harangue her about the poor decisions she’s made, she hatches a plan. Get her sort of friend, sort of enemy, Samir 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. Pinky is such a stubborn, strong-willed and lovable character. You can’t help but root for Samir to soften her out, and he does just that. It is the perfect vacation read.
6.) From Twinkle with Love
In sixth place, we have From Twinkle with Love. FYI, this story is not part of the Dimple-verse. Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower, Twinkle, has stories to tell…if only the world would listen. So when nerdy classmate and fellow film-obsessive, Sahil, approaches her to direct a film for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle can’t wait. This is her opportunity to not only live her dream but get closer to longtime crush, Neil – Sahil’s twin brother. But disaster strikes when she finds herself falling for Sahil – the wrong brother. The only reason this book ranked lower is that Twinkle came across a little self-centred. I didn’t actually mind that, but it made her my least favourite female protagonist across Sandhya’s works. The romance was sweet, and I always enjoy books that focus on friendships. Also, big points for some of the feminist messages within the story!
7.) Love At First Fight
Love At First Fight is amazing but it’s a short story, hence why it’s ranked lower on my list. It follows Sweetie, Ashish, Pinky and Samir (all characters mentioned above) as they work their way through an escape room together on Valentine’s Day. I loved reading about their different dynamics as they solved puzzles and searched for clues as a group. Lots of sparks flying and tension brewing.
8.) As Kismet Would Have It
In last place, we have As Kismet Would Have It, which is another short story from the Dimpleverse. It follows Dimple and Rishi navigating their relationship and discussing whether marriage is in the cards for them. My biggest issue was them fighting about tying the knot at only 19 years old. I felt it was too early to be considering that option. The best part was being introduced to Sweetie, which was supposed to get readers excited about her book coming out and as you can see, I ranked it first.
Thank you so much for reading! How would you rank this brilliant author’s works? I cannot wait to pick up Of Dreams and Destiny this September. Let me know if her adult novels are worth checking out as well!
Peace & Love xo