Tuesday, June 26, 2018

BOOK REVIEW | From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

Title: From Twinkle, With Love
Author: Sandhya Menon
Series? No
Pages: 336
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: I received an e-arc of From Twinkle, With Love via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Simon & Schuster!

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.
One of my favorite books from last year was Sandhya Menon's debut, When Dimple Met Rishi. I thought Menon's debut was close to perfect. The romance was adorable, the protagonist was headstrong, and there was just enough angst. When reading From Twinkle, with Love, I found the same three elements present. But when comparing which one I like more, When Dimple Met Rishi still takes the cake. 

From Twinkle, With Love follows Twinkle as she directs a movie for an upcoming festival with Sahil Roy. Twinkle has had a crush of Sahil's brother, Neil, since forever. She is also getting emails from a secret admirer who signs off with "N". Twinkle thinking that Neil could be her admirer decides that working with Sahil is a perfect solution. She can make a movie and spread her voice all the while getting an in with Neil and boosting her social status. While making the movie though, she begins to develop feelings for the wrong Roy - Sahil. Add in friendships, insecurities, teenage drama, and tender moments among family, and you've got From Twinkle, With Love.

I really liked the romance in From Twinkle, With Love. The situation is pretty complex, but it's obvious from the start who Twinkle's real romantic interest is. Her interactions with Sahil were so adorable, and I loved that Sahil always recognized Twinkle's voice and respected what she had to say. There never was an uneven power balance between them; they were both equals in their relationship. There was also plenty of angst. Twinkle can't fully commit (what if the mysterious "N" is Neil??), which led to some instances where I wanted to reach into the book and shake some sense into our frustrating protagonist.

My main issue with this book was the main character. Twinkle makes some choices that I just didn't agree with. While they are painted in bad light, and eventually get rectified, it was difficult to empathize with her from then on out. Even when the mistakes are fixed, I wasn't rooting for Twinkle as much after seeing how vindictive she could be. I appreciate that Menon wrote such a complex protagonist, but Twinkle verged on villainy at times.

Another reason that From Twinkle fell a bit short for me was it's focal point. I would have loved if the book focused a bit more on Twinkle's relationship with her parents. We see some amazing interactions between Twinkle and her dadi, but not too much with her parents. They are largely absent from the book. The scenes where they are present were very touching and heartfelt, and I wish we saw more of them! 

Despite the lack of focus on Twinkle's family, there was a pretty large focus on friendships. Twinkle struggles with her self confidence throughout this book, and solely because her best friend, Maddie, has crawled the social ladder and is hanging out with new people. Maddie isn't reserving any time with Twinkle, leading Twinkle to feel more insecure. Though I wish this problem would have been resolved sooner, I did love how they ended things. While the whole love triangle (square?) thing was happening, this other conflict grounded the book and made me reflect on my friendships in high school. 

I didn't love From Twinkle, With Love, but I did like it.  It has its flaws - including a protagonist that I did not root for at times - but it kept me interested the entire way through. If you are a fan of Menon's debut, I would suspect that you would enjoy this as well. The book offers Indian-American representation as well, which is own voices. Menon's novel is steeped in Indian culture, and it refreshing (and at times educational) to read a young adult contemporary that presents a perspective different than my own.

With that, I give From Twinkle, With Love
3.5 out of 5 Flowers!






Have you read From Twinkle, With Love? What did you think?

Thanks so much for stopping by and I'll see you soon with another post!

Happy Reading!

Genni @ Ready, Set, Read!

10 comments:

  1. aahh, from the sound of it, I have a feeling From Twinkle, With Love will feel exactly like When Dimple Met Rishi for me -- liking it but not loving it and will just end up on the huge 'meh' books on my shelf. I've read nothing but adorable things about Sahil though so I may end up reading this at some point. Great review, Genni!

    czai @ the Blacksheep Reader

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sahil is truly the shining star of this book! He's so supportive and always listens to Twinkle (even if she's in the wrong)! If you do pick it up, let me know. I'd love to know what you think. :D Thank you czai!

      Delete
  2. I can see what you mean about Twinkle and I think I would be the same way. I get that young characters (well, all characters) make mistakes and it's great to see growth, but I do sometimes find myself so annoyed with poor choices that it taints my feelings about the main character. Glad this one was still an overall enjoyable read.
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've found recently that when protagonists are around 15 or 16 I tend to get annoyed with them more. It seems like there's such a big divide in YA. If you are 15, you're immediately immature and the problems aren't that big, but if a protagonist is 17 they have a lot more chances to be mature and have complex problems.

      Thanks for visiting Tanya!

      Delete
  3. Lovely review! <3 I'm glad to hear you overall enjoyed this one, even if it had its issues - too bad it didn't focus more on the relationship with the parents, especially if you got some cute moments like that every now and then. I really enjoyed the author's debut and am still looking forward to reading that one :)
    Thank you for sharing! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Marie! <3 Since there were cute moments, it's like I saw what I was missing! I do think the parental relationships in When Dimple Met Rishi were more fleshed out and given more focus. I hope you enjoy it Marie!

      Delete
  4. I definitely liked Dimple And Rishi better too! I found Twinkle a bit immature and honestly kind of cruel?! And at the end I didn't think she deserved Sahil since he always seemed to be her second pick?! SAHIL WAS ADORABLE I LOVE HIM.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, she definitely verged on cruel! She seemed so intent on getting revenge and just labeling it as "telling the truth," and it bothered me a lot. I'm glad that everything was resolved, but I didn't have the best time reading from Twinkle's POV during that. And yes, Sahil forgave her so easily!! At least he knows she is flawed now. UGH HE WAS SO CUTE!!!

      Delete
  5. A fallible protagonist is great and relatable, but sometimes I think authors fail to create enough redeeming factors to win over the reader and balance out the character's negative traits. Sorry this one was disappointing :( But I still look forward to reading it, and I love the sound of the friendships!
    Wonderful review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amy! It's great to have you back. :) It was mildly disappointing, but I'm still glad I read it. Like you said, I think there should have been a couple more redeeming factors for Twinkle. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete