Cover Image: From Twinkle, with Love

From Twinkle, with Love

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Twinkle Mehra has always been on the outside, but she has had her best friend to keep her company.  Now Maddie has some new friends and Twinkle is not welcome to join them.  She feels even lonelier and left out until Sahil offers to help her produce a film for the Summer Festival.  Twinkle could finally follow her dream of becoming a filmmaker and let her voice as a director be heard by many.  Her life becomes more complicated when a secret admirer begins emailing her and she thinks it is Sahil’s twin brother.  Will Twinkle’s ego let her complete the film and keep the friends she has made?  Will she find love along the way?

From Twinkle with Love is a stand-alone romance novel that is perfect for young adults of all ages.  Menon has created a cast of characters that are easy to relate to and a plight that many readers can understand.  Most of the story is told as letters from Twinkle to female filmmakers she admires and some of the story is told through other characters’ text messages and other writings.  Although the romance along the way was not surprising, it was refreshingly easy without a lot of drugs or violence.  From Twinkle with Love is a feel good novel that will be enjoyed by most readers who enjoy a nice young adult romance.
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From Twinkle With Love is the dramatic diary of a teenage Indian American filmmaker as she traverses the process of making her first real film, as well as the troubles of young love and friendship.

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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?

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I received an eARC of From Twinkle With Love from Netgalley, courtesy of Simon Pulse, in exchange for an honest review.
We gave away a copy of When Dimple Met Rishi, Menyon's debut novel, in our first post here on LFAI. I think it's clear that I'm a fan of her work.

From Twinkle With Love is told in almost an epistolary format, which was a lot of fun. It's mainly told through Twinkle's diary entries, each of which is addressed to a particular female filmmaker. Sahil, our lovely love interest and film producer, chimes in with his own perspective occasionally with a group chat between him and his friends and blog posts that are barely disguised versions of his reality.

This should come with some content warnings for use of aromantic-antagonistic language and ableist language.

Twinkle is a bit of an unreliable narrator, but she's also honest about what she perceives in her diary entries, which is nice. I adored watching Twinkle fall head over heels for Sahil. We got delightful quotes like this one.

Everyone in my family liked him right away, even Mummy and Papa, who were generally suspicious of boys. And how could they not? Sahil is like gentle sun on a winter's day. You automatically want to turn your face to it and soak it up.

Twinkle's relationship with her Dadi was lovely. I liked that her relationship with her parents was not as perfect as she would have liked it to be, much like her relationship with Maddie. I loved that Sahil noticed, and did what he did at the end of From Twinkle With Love.

I'm 100 percent sold on Twinkle and Sahil's relationship, even if I thought he should have had more of a right to be angry when it's time for the big reveal.

Overall, I loved From Twinkle With Love. I highly recommend it.

You can purchase a copy of Book Title on Amazon, Indiebound or Barnes and Noble! 
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Title: From Twinkle With Love

Author: Sandhya Menon

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Length: 336 Pages

Release Date: May 22 2018

Rating: ★★★★★ / Five stars

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Representation: indian american main character, indian american love interest, 

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I absolutely loved Sandhya Menon’s When Dimple Met Rishi, so when I saw her second novel From Twinkle, With Love pop up on Netgalley, I knew I had to request it immediately.  

Menon really delivers in this novel with a fun writing style, quirky, sweet, and charismatic characters, and an overall message that is important for all readers to soak in.  The story is told through a series of letters, emails, text messages, and blog entries that really add a great element to the story. 

Twinkle is an Indian-American aspiring filmmaker, who spends her time writing journal entries to her most favorite and inspirational female film directors, detailing the events of her life as they happen.  She deals with the fallout of a friendship ending, mean girls, secret admirers, and discovering who she is and who she wants to be.  She’s brought out of her shell by the oh-so-sweet Sahil, who had me swooning the entire time I was reading.  He asks her to direct a movie he wants to produce for their school’s upcoming festival, and from there, Twinkle faces challenges that make her question her character and the future she thought she wanted for herself.

There are definitely some moments where Twinkle is stubborn and can’t see the way she’s acting is hurting not only her, but others too, and I wanted to shake her a little in those moments.  In the end she figures things out with a little help from an unexpected new friend, giving her story a complete arc, filled with growth and development.

Jumping back to Sahil, I just adored him.  He is so nerdy and sweet and good and just the best kind of friend and potential boyfriend a person could want.  He supports Twinkle and helps her achieve her goals and dreams.  I really enjoyed seeing him interact with his other friends, Skid and Aaron, and getting a little taste of his inner monologue through the blog posts he writes.  On the outside, Sahil is confident in whom he is, but underneath he has insecurities just like everyone else, especially concerning his twin brother Neal, and they way they are compared to each other.

The diversity and representation in this novel is done quite well, through a range of people of color and LGBTQ characters.  I also really enjoyed getting to learn more about Indian culture, terminology, language, and food.

Overall, this is a wonderfully heartfelt story full of characters to root for and love.  I cannot wait to see what Sandyha writes next!

*Thank you to Simon Pulse and Netgalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.*
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Twinkle Mehra has big plans.  She's not hoping to make it as an actress or a singer, though.  She wants to work *behind* the camera.  Via letters to her favorite female filmmakers, Twinkle explains how she plans to change the world by presenting fresh new ideas from the perspective of a female, Indian-American film director.  #WeNeedDiverseBooks, and we need diverse movies too!  Not only does Twinkle get a big break by being invited to participate in a local summer film festival, but she breaks out of her wallflower status when her casting calls generate a lot of buzz.  Twinkle is amazed to see that even the cool kids listen when she is directing and she begins to wonder whether this means she will finally get noticed by the über-popular Neil -- especially since she is spending so much time with her producer, Sahil, who just so happens to be Neil's twin brother...

Not only does Menon do a great job of writing authentic and relatable characters with fresh new story lines, but she manages to do so while subtly expanding her readers' cultural knowledge.  This story doesn't get as far in to Indian culture as When Dimple Met Rishi, but it definitely gives readers a crash course in female movie directors and working to smash the patriarchy!  Even if you don't recognize all of the filmmakers and/or get all of the film references, which I am fairly certain *I* didn't, it was a very fun read.  Grab this book when it's released next week and put it on the top of your #SummerReading pile.

Happy Reading!
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I was worried that the follow-up to When Dimple Met Rishi would be too similar to the author’s debut or that it would not be nearly as good.

I shouldn’t have worried!

Twinkle was a character all her own, and while I was frustrated with some of her behavior, I still rooted for her. Also, I enjoyed the friendship that she struck with her producer, Sahil. Unfortunately, I disliked her fixation on Neil. Meh. Mostly because I didn’t like him.

And in spite of the fact that my e-galley did not include a majority of “N”s letters, I knew exactly who “N” was right away.

I’ll definitely buy this book, and fans of Stephanie Perkins will enjoy Twinkle!
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Twinkle is a young aspiring director. She is a nerd and often very insecure about herself. She is hoping that becoming a director one day will make her the person she has always dreamed of being. Twinkle wants to stand out more than anything in life. So when young Sahil approaches her at school to direct her first ever movie she is in. Twinkle has had a crush on Sahil's twin brother for as long as she can remember so things get pretty strange when she starts to have feelings towards Sahil. The novel is told through letters to Twinkle's favorite female directors which I absolutely loved and thought was incredibly unique. All the drama in this novel and the love triangles are extremely predictable. When I read books I like to be on the edge of my seat just a little bit and this novel did not do that for me. There were scenes where I did find myself laughing and liking a lot. The overall concept I thought was pretty creative it just didn't give me that feeling I usually get during amazing books. It was pretty average to me. Twinkle got to be extremely annoying and felt even more juvenile than a teenager at times. Sometimes, I even got so angry with her I felt like strangling her. How did she not see right away that Sahil was the better choice for her? Everything that I thought was going to happen in this book did. As far as characters my favorite was Dadi her Indian grandmother. The novel did have amazing diversity representation as far as culture. Twinkle comes from an Indian family. As far as who I would recommend this book for... if you are looking for a light, fluffy, predictable, contemporary this one is for you. It wasn't my favorite but I didn't hate it. At least Twinkle corrected all her flaws in the end and this shows how you grow overtime as a teenager.
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She did it again! Another sweet, frustrating, multi-faceted YA romance - swoon! And it's set in Colorado Springs! I love Menon's earnest, alluring, generous, flawed love interests - almost as much as I love her unique, ambitious, familiar, flawed girls. So excited for the world to get more of Sandhya's voice.
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Oh man, this book has my heart. 

I read When Dimple Met Rishi and fell in love with Sandhya's ability to write beautifully complex lady characters (and also her ability to write an adorable healthy romance). But From Twinkle, With Love furthered this. 

Sandhya Menon has written a contemporary romance that combines strong characters (from main to side to background) with a fun plot, a frustrating yet sweet romance while also addressing culture, family (created and born with), and filmmaking. 

I loved this book. It surprised me by making me cry by the end. 

Shoutout to NetGalley for helping me read this book early.
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In From Twinkle, with Love, the follow up to the charming When Dimple Met Rishi, Sandhya Menon crafts another winning protagonist and another compelling story for young readers, who will surely find a little bit of themselves mirrored in the delightful Twinkle.

Lively aspiring director Twinkle Mehra spends her free time writing admiring letters to her favorite female filmmakers  in which she spills her dreams, fears and desires.  A whole year younger than most of her classmates, Twinkle is poised to enter the summer bereft of the friendship of her longtime BFF Maddie Tanaka, who’s been absorbed into rich girl Hannah Macintosh’s popular clique (codename: silk feathered hats). This leaves unpopular and poor self-described ‘groundling’ Twinkle behind much of the time due to Hannah’s possessiveness of the members of her clique. The somewhat awkward Twinkle often finds herself observing events at her school from the sidelines - the confidence with which she expresses herself in her letters and diary rarely transposing itself into the real world because she, in her words, lacks the ‘courage gland’ possessed by others in her family.

As the school year ends, she’s approached by Maddie, who suggests Twinkle make a movie for Midsummer Night, her school’s biggest academic event, and one that could pave the way for Twinkle’s upcoming post-graduation life.  Twinkle is filled with anxiety at the thought; she’s only ever made movies for her YouTube account, which has exactly seven subscribers, and several of those are her tech-unsavvy, new-age-y Dadi.   Their conversation is overheard by fellow classmate - film geek, film club member and critic Sahil Roy - who offers to oversee the critical aspect of the project, and unbeknownst to Twinkle, has his own motives for wanting to help her.  On saying yes, she achieves two aspects of her long-ago set personal manifesto - she gets to make a movie and gets to be closer to jockish trainee Olympian Neil, who happens to be Sahil’s twin brother - and on whom she’s been crushing on for ages.

Sahil helps her form an idea - a gender-swapped take on Dracula - and they cast Maddie as the lead.  Just as the movie begins production, a mysterious admirer, “N”, starts emailing Twinkle. She’s a hundred percent sure that it’s Neil – who must simply be too shy to approach her in real life and explain how he feels. Unfortunately for Twinkle, the more time she spends on the set, the harder she falls for Sahil, all the while being completely oblivious to his crush on her.

Caught between loving two brothers, trying to deal with cultural conflicts at home and getting her  movie cast and produced all the while getting her econ grade up with the help of the school’s genius hacker, Brij Nath and, most importantly, figuring out who “N” is, Twinkle’s life is anything but boring.  But will she manage to make her dreams come true?  And when she’s given the opportunity to expose the school on film, will she hold true to her art or get revenge on those who made her unpopular?

Whelp, I loved From Twinkle, with Love.  I think my only real quibbles with the book as a whole are that less film-astute teens might not get Twinkle’s movie references and the second-act Big Misunderstanding is a hair too clichéd.  Otherwise it’s a delightful ride through the art of moviemaking and the original life of a truly entertaining main character.

I knew from the first page I was going to love Twinkle.  What an exuberant voice!  She’s flawed and fun and realistically self-centered, bursting into life as a realistically formed teenage character.  She feels incredibly real, and her shyness when contrasted with her drive and her desire to ascend the ranks of popularity makes her feel more three dimensional.

The supporting characters are just as good - I liked Sahil’s dryer, more reserved behavior, which makes a nice contrast with Twinkle’s barely-restrained narrative intensity, and I also liked that his boldness - like Twinkle’s - comes out in the form of blog writing.   I’m a little less fond of the deceptive nature with which he initially approaches their shared film production; there is a level of manipulation between them that hallmarks the relationship for the first few chapters, but once they start to get to know one another, that notion disappears.

The contrast between Twinkle’s very grounded relationship with Sahil and the pie-in-the-sky idol worship she has for Neil works very well. Neil is, however, rather distant towards Twinkle, which makes their prospective romance pretty clearly moot.

The contrast between Maddie’s tightly planned, more practical personality and Twinkle’s looser way of seeing the future is smartly handled; while Maddie is hoping to become a doctor, Twinkle sort of hopes she’ll go to film school.  Kind of.  I could relate well to Maddie, caught as she is between the popular and the unpopular and two different groups of friends and trying to please everyone at the same time.  I will say that I didn’t expect Twinkle’s intense feelings about Maddie to comprise so much of the narrative, but I’m glad it did.  Also bonus points to Menon for making Hannah and the other girls in the popular clique sympathetic and well-rounded.

The Brij subplot is perhaps one of the books’ weakest spots. I thought Brij was an interesting character, his involvement in the movie and Twinkle’s math struggles interesting - but as a romantic foil for Maddie he doesn’t really make sense, something Twinkle actually observes.

Menon’s prose is lively and hilarious; it feels very teenaged – frantic, emotional, observant, and funny.  The diary entry format in which Twinkle addresses the events of her life to various famous female directors is sweet.

Twinkle’s family is another of the story’s assets.   Menon does a great job capturing Desi culture and the flavor of a family that’s tried to Americanize itself but kept their roots intact and somewhat traditional.  I liked the contrast between Twinkle’s household and Sahil and Neil’s, the conflict between Twinkle and her hard-working, remote mother, the closer relationship to her distracted dad; the emotionally intimate one she had with her loving Dadi was absolute tops.

As for the mystery of “N”, it’s perhaps a bit too obvious to the reader, but still provides the right amount of narrative tension.

From Twinkle, with Love is nearly guaranteed to brighten the summer of your teen or tween-aged relative.  I especially recommend it to aspiring filmmakers; may Twinkle’s brightness encourage them to soar

Buy it at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Kobo
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With trademark humor, this story about friendships, a mysterious secret admirer and figuring out what the “right boy”means is fun and adorable. Twinkle is a filmmaker who can’t always see what’s in front of her. She’s funny and so easily relatable. 

Bonus points for an inclusive cast of characters (LGBT and varied ethnic backgrounds, family structures, income levels).
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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.
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From Twinkle, With Love cements Sandhya Menon as one of my MUST read YA contemporary authors. No sophomore slump here. Also, can I put the caveat on this review, that if I hear you complain about names like Twinkle or Dimple, I will write you a strongly worded letter and follow you around with a bell yelling SHAME SHAME SHAME. I have been SOOOO stressed out by a million and one things. This book though, it is just what the doctor ordered. While reading it, I could feel myself finally relax and get lost in Twinkle’s letters.

So, from what I can tell, From Twinkle, With Love isn’t a spinoff of When Dimple Met Rishi. Maybe they’re connected but I wasn’t being observant? That actually is very possible. Anyways, you do not need to read Dimple to understand what is going on in this book. Still, I highly recommend you read Dimple regardless because that book is also pure excellence.

This book follows Twinkle Mehra as she longs to stop being what she has deemed a “groundling” and to be one of the elite kids at her school, a “silk feathered hat.” Mainly she wants this because her best friend Maddie is suddenly popular and distant from Twinkle. She thinks that she can accomplish this by dating her crush, a swimmer named Neal Roy. Lucky for Twinkle, she begins getting emails from a secret admirer who goes by N. She thinks it is Neal. OH and throughout all of this she begins making her first film for the Midsummer Night Festival at school with the help of Neal’s twin, Sahil. At this point, Twinkle is falling kinda hard for Sahil WHICH IS OUR DILEMMA.

There’s a lot to love and like about From Twinkle, With Love. For example — Twinkle doesn’t come from an upper middle class family. Her parents struggle with money. She doesn’t have a cell phone. I LOVED that. As someone who also doesn’t come from an upper middle class family (read: poor), I loved this portrayal. I am so sick to death of the cliched picture that can be painted of poor people when I read YA books (ie parents not together, parents who don’t work, parents on drugs etc) and this book knocked that piece out of the park for me. It was up there with Ramona Blue for that aspect. I also loved how Twinkle finds her footing and her voice as a filmmaker — mostly independently.

Then there’s the romance! It is SO sweet! And supportive! And okay kind of drawn out — but that is with good reason. I do think that this book reads a little younger than Dimple but ya know, nothing wrong with that. I think this is the sort of book that just makes you feel happy and good at the end. The character you cheer for the entire time has all these chips that fall into place and I love it. Read this book when you are feeling down. Read it when you want something to fill your heart with joy.
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Charming and fun, I had a blast reading this novel and getting into the head of Twinkle through the letters she wrote. Would definitely recommend, especially to South Asian girls!
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3.5 stars This was adorable and I think I would have absolutely loved it as a teenager. It was a little less cute reading it as an adult but I still enjoyed it. 

Here's why:
-This reads really young. Twinkle is very naive, though I don't feel like she started the book that way. Somehow along the way she gets stuck in this dream-self idea she's always had and how she was going to achieve that ideal and that whole plotline just seems very young and naive and got pretty annoying after a while for readers who know what's going on.
-I liked the way Twinkle had to deal with some real emotional situations, both with her best friend and her mother. Those two situations felt very relatable and painful. I wish she would have been able to talk to them without throwing her pain back at them but her responses to those individual situations felt realistic. 
-I'm tired of girl on girl hate. And I hated the movie Mean Girls, which followed a sort of similar idea to the book. I know girls can be mean to each other and this might read more realistic to those still in school but it just got way out of hand for me. 
-Sahil was the absolute best. The moments between him and Twinkle are the best parts of the book. And Dadi. And his parents. I wish there could have been more of those moments.
-I thought the letter writing would bother me because of how it starts out but it actually ended up being pretty cute and worked really well.
-The ending was cute and sweet and completely unrealistic. As a teen, I'd be screaming in delight but as a slightly jaded adult, I admit to rolling my eyes a teeny, tiny bit. 

Overall, while I wasn't a huge fan of the secret admirer bit or this ideal romance bit she clung to for far too long, this was still actually pretty cute. It has quite a bit of my less favorite YA tropes and kind of a strange love square, the characters and their journeys felt relatable enough to see why so many people will love this one. Also, Sahil and Dadi save this book for me. And Victoria even a bit near the end there. It just goes to show that you never know how your story will end no matter how you plan for it and not to write people off just because of who you think they might be. And always remember to be true to yourself. Because in the end, you can't control anyone else but you can decide how you will react and what you put out in the world. I really hope fans of YA romance and teen rom coms get the chance to pick this up and fall in love with it.
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3 stars

Plot: After reading When Dimple Met Rishi, I knew I had to keep an eye on Sandhya Menon. She is a talented writer who highlighted real-world problems while her characters navigated high school and their love lives. While From Twinkle, With Love started strong for me, I started losing steam as it became apparent that Menon was trying to juggle too much in a 300-page book. Twinkle was dealing with an unrequited crush, a best friend who was moving in different social circles, a fractured family dynamic, a need to be seen, and a movie remake that she was asked to create before the student body. Because there were a lot of topics to explore, it felt like nothing was addressed in the end. 

One aspect I enjoyed was the format of the book. From Twinkle, With Love was told in the form of text chains, blog posts, and diary entries/letters to her favorite female directors. Menon's research was evident as Twinkle made mention of specific quotes from the directors and their process. I think it was this narration style that made From Twinkle, With Love a fun book. 

Characters: Much like Dimple, Twinkle was still discovering herself and made a few unfortunate mistakes along the way. Twinkle was obsessed with climbing the social ladder and leaving her fellow plebs behind, but her budding friendship with Sahil allowed her to see outside of herself. Speaking of Sahil, the romance was absolutely exhausting. Twinkle was madly in love with Neil Roy and barely knew that his geekier twin, Sahil existed. When Twinkle started hanging out with Sahil, she started to think of him as more than a friend while still falling back on her crush on Neil. And on top of that, Twinkle had a secret admirer. There was a lot of back and forth and I just stopped caring about who ended up with who. 

The relationships that I wanted explored the most were between Twinkle and her family. Twinkle had a different dynamic with each of her family members and I wanted them to have the space to talk more, especially Twinkle and her mother. While there was a passage that acknowledged the tensions, I thought that there could have been more. 

Worldbuilding: Menon's ability to capture Twinkle's voice made this book feel incredibly authentic. Memon's diverse characters were messy and their friend groups had problems which every high schooler could relate to. The physical location, Colorado, was done well, but nothing to separate it from the other towns that are featured in contemporary novels. 

Short N Sweet: While From Twinkle, With Love wasn't everything I wanted it to be, I liked following Twinkle's journey of finding herself during a crazy time.
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A sweet and funny romance with a fantastic female protagonist who isn't afraid to dream big while navigating the complexities of life and love.
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Reviews like these are so hard to write. It's hard to write book reviews for the books you love. Your emotions are all over the place and days after finishing all you can think is, "can I press pause and read this book again?". It's all emotions and flailing and gushing and screaming. So to make sense of the chaos I'm going to list the reasons why I loved this book (there are many)

    The book is told in letters to Twinkle's favorite filmmakers. Um, yes. This was amazing. 
    Here characters have a vivid personality from the very beginning of the book. They pick you up, sweep you off your feet, and instantly make themselves a home in your heart. Come on in Twinkle and Sahil!
    Female friendship is a big part of this book - mostly in the 'how do you repair a friendship' kind of way. I want more books about girls having to call each other out. They have a lot of work to do, bridges to repair, and tough conversations that need to happen. 
    There is a wry humor to the writing. It's definitely teenage in the best parts of the awkwardness, of the chasing dreams, and of the first crush variety.
    At the heart of the book is the challenge of marching to the best of our drum when we can't hear the music.
    There's a swoony romance aspect which is just so touching and heart warming.
    I liked Twinkle because she embodied these times we make mistakes and have a hard time owning it. It's about when we get so wrapped up in the quest for happiness that we miss the point entirely.
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It's *so hard* for me to read a book by an author whose debut I absolutely loved. The standard is way too high. However, trying to measure From Twinkle, With Love on its own separately from When Dimple Met Rishi is nearly impossible for me. Comparisons are unavoidable for me.

Twinkle the book is heartfelt and swoony like Dimple the book was, but Twinkle as a character had a lot more flaws and problems actually listening to the people in her life (for someone who felt like she was never heard or able to speak up, it really bothered me how unwilling she was to listen to people sometimes). She also read as a much younger or immature YA character than Dimple. She's 16 but read like a 13 year old in terms of emotional maturity.

That said, the changes and turmoil Twinkle goes through with her best friend, whom she believes she is losing to the popular crowd, really struck home for me. I think most of us have gone through growing pains with certain friends, and sometimes we just grow out of certain friendships entirely.

I recommend this for people who want a contemporary YA romance with a heavy dose of teenage angst.
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Trigger Warnings: Profanity, Neglect, Verbal bullying.

*Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for the ebook. This does not affect my honest opinion*

Since it’s written in journal format, it offers the audience a more personal feeling that’s heartfelt, honest, pure, and empathetic in nature. This novel highlights realistic issues we face daily, for instance, Self discovery, Friendships, Career aspirations, Family issues, and Romantic relationships. This novel is SO much more than a Romance and you NEED to read this.

Sandhya delivers a descriptive world and lighthearted journey of a sixteen year old girl who aspires to become a filmmaker with romantic elements that are bound to make you smile. 

Twinkle literally shines (get it? Punssss) from the pages. Her personality is incredibly lovable from the very start. Did I mention that Twinkle is 100% a Feminist? Yeah she is and it never failed to make me smile & cheer her on with spreading female empowerment. You go Twinkle! 

There is also SO MUCH DIVERSITY IN THIS BOOK—I LOVE IT! Not only is there Indian Rep, but also Asian, Black, Christian/Catholic & Bisexual Rep too! Even though the Bisexual and Black character made a small cameo it made me happy to see more diverse characters.

Twinkle is often portrayed to be overlooked by everyone around her: Friends, Family, Peers. But not everyone overlooks her....wink wink. This is a Sandhya novel, guys you KNOW there will be romance in here. She’s a geeky wallflower who has MAJOR character development and you’ll come along her journey.


There is a reoccurring element of her wanting to become a filmmaker, but afraid of taking risks to pursue it because of her introverted personality. By this, she’s aware that if she takes the risk, her films can be displayed to the world (which is also scary because her films are apart of who she is). She does overcome her fear and it opens doors to many opportunities for her wildest dreams.

What I found interesting is that Twinkle dedicates each of her journal entries to Real Life female filmmakers she aspires to be, instead of plainly writing “Dear Diary or reader.” Her journal entries are full of life, honesty and vibrance that will entice you. Not only does this book show you Twinkle’s journal entries, but also Sahil’s blog posts indirectly talking about his crush on Twinkle, the progress of their relationship and emails from Twinkle’s secret admirer.

I became very fond of the idea of this novel being written in journal format. Which reminds me a bit of Perks Of Being A Wallflower, but ‘From Twinkle, With Love’ has a different dynamic. Twinkle will pull the reader into her mind, emotions and the world her then directly discussing certain things to you.

Twinkle embraces you and pulls you into her life to experience her internal and external conflicts. I fell in love with Twinkle because I can personally relate to her, and learn from her as well. Plus she mentioned a scene in the show Supernatural (which I love) so that made my heart REALLY happy.


Sahil
Sahil is an awkward, kind, geeky film kid  who is also a Feminist (swoon) and has a crush on Twinkle. Twinkle had moments of doubt when directing a movie for the first time and Sahil always encouraged her. He also undergoes a major character development from: Geeky, awkward to confident and charming. All these characteristics aren’t bad, but to see Sahil flourish is amazing to see. 

Mother
Her parents aren’t shown as much, especially since her mother is dealing with her own internal issues which do affect Twinkle. Twinkle’s mother deals with regret and pain of leaving India because she wasn’t able to attend her Twinkle’s grandmother’s funeral. It just hurt me to see her mother shutting herself out and not seeming to care for anyone around her. Sandhya properly describes and delivers grief and loss well. Later, her mom does discuss her grief & regret she feels which causes the Mother-Daughter relationship to grow.

Father
Twinkle’s father had only a few cameo’s in this novel, but is always busy with his students since he works at a youth center. He does show that he cares for Twinkle’s well being, but hasn’t been in her life as much. Overall, both of Twinkle’s parents are a bit unsupportive of her dream to be a filmmaker, but do care for her.

Dadi
Dadi is basically portrayed as a caring mother figure to Twinkle who supports her dreams of being a filmmaker and there when Twinkle needs someone. Dadi is one of my favorite supporting characters besides Sahil. She’s so kind, wise, spiritual and supportive, it really makes my heart melt. 

Maddie
Twinkle and Maddie had a close friendship and have grown apart. It hurts Twinkle to see her friend leave her for a more popular crowd, but she’s so hopeful and has so much faith in their friendship. I’ve personally experienced what Twinkle’s going through as in, seeing your closest friend become “popular” then ignore you like your friendship didn’t exist.
It makes me want to say “Screw her, Twinkle, let us be friends!” But Twinkle does learn to become more outspoken and stand up for herself. YASS TWINKLE *raises supportive flag*
In the end, Maddie and Twinkle’s friendship does overcome obstacles and is later restored which warms my heart. 


Overall, I really enjoyed this novel SO much just like I loved When Dimple Met Rishi. This statement says so much because I cannot stand Romance novels, but I absolutely adore Sandhya’s!

Side Note: To answer a question, no From Twinkle, With Love is nothing like When Dimple Met Rishi. Of course, there is certain aspects that are in both novels like relationships, but this novel is a standalone and not a sequel to When Dimple Met Rishi.

My Rating: 4.8/5 Stars ★★★★★

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This book was such a fun read. Written in diary format, this book follows the main character, Twinkle. Twinkle is an Indian-American who aspires to be a filmmaker. 

I enjoyed the writing style and it was fun to read the jounral entries of the main character, I felt as if she were personally writing to me. I also enjoyed the secondary cast of characters and thought that it was well written with high-school drama, jelousy and some romance mixed in. The writing style well aware of the characters, thoughts, emotions and feelings. 

This story had a lot of key themes that include accepting yourself and staying true to who you really are. 

I think the main reason why I enjoyed this book so much is because the characters were written with real problems and the characters are relatable. 

There were a few times the storyline and plot didn't seem to be moving forward, but as a whole, I really enjoyed this book. 

If you enjoy young adult contemporary with a little bit of romance then I highly reccomend that you read this book!
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