A Match Made In Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai
Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers (The NOVL)
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository: A Match Made In Mehendi
Summary: Fifteen-year-old Simran “Simi” Sangha comes from a long line of Indian vichole-matchmakers-with a rich history for helping parents find good matches for their grown children. When Simi accidentally sets up her cousin and a soon-to-be lawyer, her family is thrilled that she has the “gift.”
But Simi is an artist, and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with relationships, helicopter parents, and family drama. That is, until she realizes this might be just the thing to improve her and her best friend Noah’s social status. Armed with her family’s ancient guide to finding love, Simi starts a matchmaking service-via an app, of course.
But when she helps connect a wallflower of a girl with the star of the boys’ soccer team, she turns the high school hierarchy topsy-turvy, soon making herself public enemy number one.
*Received ARC from festival*
My Thoughts: Hey everyone, I’m incredibly excited to be part of the blog tour for A Match Made In Mehendi! Its a YA Contemporary I’d really been looking forward to and today I’ll be sharing a list of 5 reasons why you should read it!
Doesn’t the summary just immediately make you want to read? Long line of matchmakers? Two best-friends want to improve their high school status? A match-making app that causes chaos everywhere–don’t you want to pick up this book right now?
Nandini’s debut at its heart though is about pursuing your dreams and better understanding your own goals alongside the expectations others may have of you!
The story is incredibly character-driven and you’ll keep turning the page wondering what’ll happen next!
Simi and her narrative voice just pull you in from page 1! She’s determined, honest, and knows she can be incredibly awkward at the worst of times! I adored her character a lot and felt I related to her in so many ways, and while I’m not a high school student like her it was the journey of finding yourself, expectations, exploration of love and friendship that resonated with me in many ways― and I feel people at any age are still tackling and exploring!
If you love contemporary stories with a dynamic cast, this book will not disappoint! From Noah to Simi’s mother and aunt, her brother, and her high school classmates all come to life as you delve more into their character and overall, I just loved this cast a lot!
You know when your reading a book and you can’t explain it, but the pages are flying by? That’s what reading A Match Made In Mehendi is like! The plot, its mystery, and questions of what could happen next, swirl around in your mind as you speed through page by page of Simi’s story! If you love stories that pull you in from the very beginning and keep you hooked, you will love Nandini’s debut!
The writing is just so good? I’m not sure there’s any other way to describe it! Not only does Simi’s narrative voice keep you reading, but the way the plot unfolds through her POV just makes you feel incredibly connected to the story and feels incredibly personal because you feel like your right there with her!
This ties into the writing as well! Through Simi, you see she’s confident, focused in her passion as an artist, and although there’s many expectations she’s facing (both internal and external) you see how she is incredibly loyal to herself. The theme of self-discovery alongside her own personal journey make A Match Made In Mehendi such a wonderful story through wholesome and inspiring protagonist like Simi! You can’t help but smile all throughout this book while reading from Simi’s POV!
To celebrate the release of this lovely debut I’ll also be sharing a mini Q&A with Nandini, where she talks all about A Match Made In Mehendi, plus a free downloadable wallpaper based on the cover! 🌸📚💖
1. Hey Nandini, thanks for joining me on the blog today! To start off this Q&A, what inspired your novel A Match Made In Mehendi?
Nandini: I’ve always been interested in how first and second generation Desi American families have adapted to life in the US. How kids born and/or raised here have view their parents’ traditions and what they choose to change, keep, or leave behind. Teens get such different signals from their peers and parents especially about things like crushes, dating, and assimilating or holding on to traditional values. Arranged marriage is one of those things that has been widely misunderstood and it’s good to lift the curtain on that process a little bit and examine it in a entertaining way through the Desi lens in the American context both for the young people that can see themselves in these characters and for their peers from different backgrounds.
2. Simi’s family believes she has the matchmaker “gift,” but Simi doesn’t want to be involved and focus more on her talent as an artist. From the summary it looks like your novel will delve into quite a variety of themes involving family, art, pursuing one’s dreams, and the passion that comes with art! Could you talk a little bit more about your inspiration behind these themes and which theme you personally, had the most fun exploring?
Nandini: Well, the matchmaking aspect was really fun to develop, honestly. What makes a good match? What makes a good matchmaker? Can the process really be developed into an app? How would that all work? How does a professional matchmaker put people together? How would a teenager view all of this differently from her mother or aunt? I have a background in systems analysis so it was nice to use that part of my brain as well to break down the problem of turning the very amorphous matchmaking process into an algorithm for an app. This theme was really different than any other story I’ve worked on!
3. Any fun or interesting facts you can share about your writing process or development of A Match Made In Mehendi?
Nandini: Initially I had different generations of matchmakers in Simi’s family telling stories of matches they had made scattered through the book. It was a fun challenge to write about couples in the 1920s, the 1940s, the 1980s all in the voices of three generations of women in Simi’s family and how the lessons learned from those matches becomes part of the lore and wisdom of the Shagun Matchmaking Guide – the book handed down in Simi’s family from mother to daughter. The matchmaker log didn’t make the final cut but I do feel that the deep dive into Simi’s family history colors the tone of the book, even though it’s not there any more.
4. In your novel, Simi develops this matchmaking app and it drives different layers of the story! What inspired you to explore Simi’s journey of family, friendship, and art through the inclusion of this unique app?
Nandini: It was really fun to do a close examination of how this generation deals with parental expectations, discovers what they’re really passionate about, and figures out who they might or might not love. This is a world I know, and though there are many other valid experiences that may be quite different, I can only speak from my own personal experience and try and tell one story I feel confident I can. I also think that while books about underrepresented groups that deal with heavier issues are necessary and important it’s really good to have lighthearted books that are about joy and happy things like the search for love. I certainly didn’t have any such books about Indian kids to read when I was growing up and it was so hard to see that nothing had changed when I was looking for books for my own kids. Like Gandhi said, “Be the Change!”
5.Overall, what are you most excited about in regards to your novel and anything in particular your excited for readers to discover in A Match Made In Mehendi?
Nandini: Overall, I’m just excited for the book to finally be out there in the hands of readers, but one of the smaller things that I enjoyed creating and that I hope readers like is the way the Matched! app analyzes profiles and puts people together. It’s kind of like a technical sorting hat that not only figures out where you fit and creates a cute personal match icon for you (the match icons, were SO fun to dream up!), but also finds your top matches and lists their match icons for you, sorted from best to last.
Thanks so much for celebrating Nandini’s A Match Made In Mehendi here on 24hr.YABookBlog! Also, check out my FREE downloadable wallpaper inspired by the novel:
Here’s the other wonderful bloggers, who’ll be joining me on the Blog Tour for A Match Made In Mehendi (from Cake Literary):
Kat @ Pretty Little Library (September 6)
Olivia & Lori @ The Candid Cover (September 9)
Fanna @ Fanna Wants The World To Read (September 10)
Are you looking forward to reading A Match Made In Mehendi?