10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon—The Desi Frenemies-to-Lovers YA Summer Romance

10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon

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 she’s made (a.k.a. boyfriends she’s had), she hatches a plan. Get her sorta-friend-sorta-enemy—who is a total Harvard-bound Mama’s boy—to pose as her perfect boyfriend for the summer.

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10 Things I Hate About Pinky lists all the perfect ingredients of a YA contemporary and mixes everything to create a story of unexpected love, familial tension, voicing concerns, and summer days. It justifies as the third and last instalment of Dimpleverse by materialising the perfect boyfriend who not only proves to be a catch for the girl but also a gem for the parents; and by making the girl a fierce, adamant, and slightly flawed teen.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Representation : Indian-American MCs.
Ownvoices reader as: an Indian.
Trigger warnings: : incidence of racism, silenced while protesting.

Pinky is the ferocious girl you’ll cheer on and support right off the bat.

From saving a possum and keeping it as a pet till it’s safely left at the animal welfare to immediately voicing her anger against the butterfly habitat that’s closing down, Pinky is the young activist we all should aspire to be. Her adamant nature is the strongest aspect of her personality even if it often garners her mother’s disappointed stares—the very usual response of a desi mother to being rebellious. Her fierceness is worth admiring and so are the quirky fashion statements.

Samir is the adorable & perfect guy who makes to-do lists everyday.

An aspiring lawyer who is super understanding, well structured, and witty. Samir is the definition of what many would say a great boyfriend but doesn’t let himself take all the spotlight (or sunlight since it’s a summer read) while Pinky goes through her own struggles. Though I wish his character would’ve been fleshed with more individuality, he did play an excellent love interest who strengthened Pinky’s story. He brought the balance to the chaotic personality of Pinky by being calm, composed, and just as compassionate as Pinky herself.

Frenemies-to-lovers is true but the fake dating trope was underused.

The two main characters land together at this summer house by a quick pact that would benefit Pinky by helping her climb the ladder of achievements in her mother’s eyes and promise Samir an internship of his dreams. While the start of this fake relationship is a delight with the awkwardness, annoyance, and slip-ups, the trope is soon placed on the backseat. Though, the frenemies-to-lovers romance is well played through the witty banter, forced smiles, and unexpected feelings.

Overall, Sandhya Menon creates yet another entertaining, fun, and character-driven YA contemporary with desi expectations & the idea of standing up for what’s right.

Received a digital copy of the book from the publicist as part of the Sandhya Menon street team but that doesn’t influence my opinion at all.

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22 / she | a desi blogger who loves books and anything related to stories! focuses on south-asian representation in literature, a writer working on a hindu eschatology-based fantasy.

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