Rummanah Aasi
 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.

Review: 10 Things I Hate About You is a companion novel to There's Something About Sweetie and features two of Ashish's close friends: Pinky Kumar and Samir Jha. You don't have to read There's Something About Sweetie before picking this book up. There are quite a few romantic tropes used in the book such as hate to love and fake dating, which will delight romance readers. 
   Pinky is a rebel with a cause, who is proud, unafraid to voice her opinions and makes impulsive decisions much to her mother's frustration. An incident involving a fire at her family's vacation home makes Pinky a usual suspect, but she is falsely judged. Tensions escalate between her mom and gives Pinky a new cause to fight for: proving her mom that she is capable of making the right choices. She concocts a relationship with the perfect, parent approved boyfriend. She knows the right person, but will he agree to join the scheme?
    Samir is Pinky's polar opposite. He is extremely organized, looks after and is close to his ailing mother. He is content to follow his plan on having an occupation in corporate law. When his dream summer internship falls through, Samir is left spinning until Pinky invites him to play her boyfriend for the duration of their coastal summer vacation. 
  While Pinky and Samir have great chemistry and banter, they each have a lot of personal baggage that were not fleshed out and hindered their character development. Pinky has a strenuous relationship with her mother, which was only explored at a surface level. There is a pivotal moment in which we learn bits of Pinky's mom backstory that highlights how mother and daughter share more similarities than differences, which I wished was explored much more. Samir has issues of anxiety and control which were spurned on by his mother's diagnosis of cancer when Samir was very young. Mental health continues to be a taboo topic in the South Asian community and this would have been the perfect time to address it in the book, but unfortunately it is glossed over. Instead of addressing these hard issues, the book spends more time in Pinky's and Samir's activism in trying to fight and conserve a butterfly habitat. Although it was nice to see teen activists, it didn't interest me much. 
  Overall I enjoyed 10 Things I Hate About Pinky, but I don't think it is the strongest book in the When Dimple met Rishi universe. The pacing felt uneven and I wanted more introspection from the characters. Readers who are looking for a breezy romance read may feel different. 

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some minor language and allusions to underage drinking. Recommended for Grades 8 and up.

If you like this book try: Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao, Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen
1 Response
  1. This series has been really fun so it's a bummer that this book didn't live up to the other novels. Too bad that there are missed opportunities to deal with important issues.

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