Title: From Twinkle, with Love
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Review Copy: eARC received from publisher
Availability: Available on May 22
Summary: Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.
When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.
Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?
Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.
Review: I very much enjoyed Sandhya Menon’s previous novel, When Dimple Met Rishi, and have been looking forward to reading From Twinkle, with Love for a while now. There are similarities between the two novels—a big project that the protagonists work on together while they’re getting to know one another better/fall for each other being the most obvious—but this novel focuses much more on the heroine. Where Dimple was split more-or-less equally between Dimple and Rishi’s POVs, Twinkle is almost exclusively from Twinkle’s POV, with occasional text messages and blog posts from Sahil interrupting. Part of me misses getting a better look at what’s going on in the hero’s head, but I really enjoyed Twinkle’s letters-to-female-filmmakers narration style. It made me wish I knew more about them so I could better understand the emotional resonance Twinkle felt between the events in her life and their movies.
The central conflict of this story is really a battle between Twinkle-as-she-thinks-she-is and Twinkle-as-she-thinks-she-wants-to-be. There are a lot of growing pains in there, between secret admirers, learning to speak up, problems at home, and economic divides, and Twinkle takes more than one detour as she sorts out her ambitions and the ethics of how she actually wants to achieve them. Much of this is exemplified through Twinkle’s complicated friendship with Maddie. Menon really captured the desperate feeling of a slowly fading relationship and the desire to salvage it. Their ups and downs are painful and filled with a wide mix of emotions, from anger and jealousy to genuine happiness. I was thoroughly satisfied with the arc of Twinkle and Maddie’s friendship.
Twinkle’s relationship with Sahil was equally complicated, though, as a reader, I was surprised by very little of it. (The resolution for the secret admirer was plainly telegraphed, in my opinion, and thus felt like a distraction to me.) It was still enjoyable, and I’m always a sucker for a boy who secretly pines and a girl who denies her feelings, so it was a fun read. I do wish there had been a tiny bit less denial and fewer chips on Sahil’s shoulder, simply because I’m far more interested in the post-getting-together stage of a romance than the will-they-or-won’t-they, but that’s just me.
As far as complaints go, I don’t have many. Perhaps the one area that felt like a missed opportunity was exploring the gap between Twinkle and her mother. Menon did much better with the distance between Twinkle and Maddie; in comparison, Twinkle and her mother felt more like an afterthought. Their emotional resolution felt hollow because I didn’t get to see Twinkle’s mother on the page enough for her absence/distance to have much weight for me.
Recommendation: Get it soon. If you enjoyed When Dimple Met Rishi, you’ll find yourself right at home with From Twinkle, with Love. This book is a fast-paced romance that is actually about a teenage girl trying to figure out who she wants to be and how she can get there. Twinkle is a lively narrator, and her complicated relationships with her peers make this an engaging read.
“11 Things You Didn’t Know About From Twinkle With Love That We Learned from Sandhya Menon’s Twitter” at Riveted by Simon Teen
“From Twinkle, with Love tour has been announced — get the dates” at Culturess.com
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