You know those books that you want to finish because you want your character’s dreams to come true? The ones that make you feel warm inside? That’s A Match Made in Mehendi.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
A Match Made in Mehendi is a story about family, friendship, and standing up against bullies. At the same time, A Match in Mehendi is about balancing technology and tradition, fear and desire, dreams and expectations. Simi’s family are professional matchmakers, as a way to facilitate matches and join communities. But Simi would rather be an artist, drawn to a world full of exploration and color, not the sparks between people. Is there a way to balance her seemingly natural talent for matchmaking, with her own dreams?
A Match in Mehendi is one of those books that has all these varied layers going on – her dreams versus her families expectations, her relationship to her family, her own romance story, her self-discovery – all wrapped up into one cohesive and captivating story. But what really resonated with me, is how her family is struggling with the line between being too modern, while retaining their authenticity and traditions.
Many of these characters struggle with the pull between one or the other – art or science, our dreams or our family’s expectations – and A Match in Mehendi proves that you don’t have to have just one or the other. That while it’s important to agree on the same common values, a little tension, a little pull is good for the relationship – for each elements to play against each other.
What A Match in Mehendi explores is this push and pull relationship between adapting, while keeping the spirit. When Simi’s app crosses cliques and popularity, will a true connection be enough to overcome the lines we’ve drawn between each other? And what Simi will discover, is that when you’re dealing with love, it can get messy – especially if it’s unrequited.