Sunday, June 14, 2020

A Match Made in Mehendi

Bajpai, Nandini. A Match Made in Mehendi
September 10th 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Public Library Copy

Simran (Simi) comes from a long line of matchmakers-- her mother and aunt run a matchmaking business. Simi and her tech-savvy brother Navdeep have often thought the business could be updated with technology, and decide to test Navdeep's app (with a few of Simi's tweaks) on the school population. Simi's friend Noah helps as well. Simi is also working on a big art project into which she is trying to work her skill in mehendi (henna designs). The app does well, but of course causes all sorts of social upheaval. Super popular Ethan is matched with new girl Tea over their shared love of soccer, but his former girlfriend (and school mean girl) Amanda thinks this can't be possible since she is "meant to be" with him. Simi does get matched with long time art crush Ethan, although she finds a relative of her sister's new boyfriend (whom she sort of discovered) appealing as well. When the app fixes Suraj up with her classmate Jassi, she's disappointed, but arranges a meeting even after Ethan disappoints her with a show of academic dishonesty. When Amanda starts an attack, will the app be in peril?
Strengths: This was a great, light romance with lots of details about high school kids involved in different activities-- art, soccer, coding. It integrated culture and other differences seamlessly. The ending is happy, with Simi getting a kiss, Noah finally realizing Connor is interested in him, Navdeep finding a girlfriend interested in tech things, and the matchmaking business deciding to try the app.
Weaknesses: Amanda's bullying was rather over the top; Simi's story was already intriguing, and Amanda's arc seemed unnecessary.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing. Some of my romance books are in really bad shape, and aside from Kasey West, it's been hard to find books with high school characters that don't go into more details than I would like when I am handing books to students!

Ms. Yingling

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