Cover Image: Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment

Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment

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This was SO CUTE.
Arya is such a fun character. She's snarky and a little bit of an asshole but still so loving and kind. I really liked her character arc over the book, and I'm really happy with where she ended up.
I loved the romance in this book so much. They were so well-matched and Dean was so so sweet and I just loved them. It had me squealing for the last like 50%. The Pride and Prejudice parallels were PERFECT.
I will admit, at the beginning I was kind of bored, mostly because I think books that take place mostly in high school are just a little too young for me now. But when the romance got really introduced I was completely invested.
The family dynamics in this are really complex and interesting, and I especially appreciate that they weren't easily solved. The issues were messy and deep-rooted and they needed to be treated as such. Also, Arya is so clearly parentified, and I was waiting the entire book for someone to tell her that none of it was her responsibility and I am SO GLAD someone did.
The side characters were so good too. Andy and Emilia have my whole heart, especially Emilia. She was like a black cat in human form and Andy was like a golden retriever. Mindy was a much needed caring adult, and she provided a lot of stability. Alina is messy and cool and real. Nikhil!! I loved Nikhil so much, he was so soft and gentle and kind.
I loved the culture in this story, as we learn about all the different Shaadi traditions and all the different events in an Indian wedding. It was really such a fun time, and everything was described so beautifully.
I was only really annoyed with one or two things at the end, particularly Lisa, but overall this book was so lovely.

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Love desi rep especially in YA but this one just did not hit. The tropes were fine but put together I felt very little interest and motivation to keep reading. An overall short read but definitely one wasted, sadly. And they felt very reminiscent of Ben and Devi (NHIE) but just fell flat.

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i've seen a couple bollywood movies (courtesy to my college roommate), so i went into arya with expectations of dance numbers, drama surrounding the main leads, and a sweet romance - and arya did not disappoint! i loved learning about so many aspects of desi culture: from the food, to the clothes, to the intense amounts of preparations needed for the beautiful weddings. this book was truly an immersive experience.

though this book is marketed as a romcom, i would say it's equally parts family drama, friend drama, and boy drama. arya faces multiple conflicts throughout this book, and i'm a sucker for a coming-of-age love story that delves heavily into family issues. the family themes hit really close to home for me, and i felt for arya so much. in a way, i looked forward to the chapters with dean because it felt like an escape from the chapters with family that reminded me too much of my own issues with my family.

let's talk romance! i would categorize dean x arya as (soft) academic rivals to lovers and he fell first, both lovely tropes that i eat up every time. they spend the majority of the book bickering, and i think the transition into lovers was a bit rushed? but i enjoyed their romance nonetheless. the indoor picnic date was so so sweet and romantic.

some issues i had with the book were mainly with some of the characters. i simply did not like lisa, the horrible aunties, and honestly, alina! lisa was being really unfair to andy and arya, the aunties are pretentious and prideful and say terrible things to the khanna's, and alina seemed really immature despite being 23.

if you're a fan of ann liang's books, i would highly recommend arya!

overall, this was a cute, quick read that felt very realistic in its writing of high school lives and dealing with the growing pains of graduating, family issues, losing friends, and first romances.

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This was a super fun read. Arya is a driven teen in her last year of high school. Between preparing for college and helping plan her sister Alina's upcoming wedding, she's got her plate full. On top of that, her best friends, who up until recently were dating, have broken up creating a rift in their usual friend group. In steps, Arya's school frenemy Dean who isn't quite as mean as he seems and definitely likes Arya a lot more than she realizes.

So the characters - somewhat a big cast of characters in this one which is kind of to the deteriment of some of the character development. It felt like Arya's mom, her sister Alina and her should be more fully developed as a group, and the relationship is there for Arya and Alina, but not so much with their mother. Granted, their relationship is strained because of her mother's depression. It just felt like there was more to explore there. The break up between the two best friends happens before the book starts and we don't know anything about these two characters' relationship, but other than creating some conflict between Arya and her friend Lisa, serves no real narrative purpose. It just gives the adults in her life reasons to give her advice or a reason for her to lash out at others which feels unnecessary. Investing more in the family relationship would have been enough to give the plot conflict, and make the whole story a bit more put together.

Overall, I enjoyed Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment

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i’m submitting the reviews for books by you that I already have, but I will never request another one. In October one of your employees made a horribly racist statement and you have chosen to do nothing about it. People have continuously asked you to say that you don’t stand with what the employee said, and you refuse to. This is not someone who I want to promote ever because you are sending the wrong message. These reviews will not be posted on social media because you don’t deserve the promotion. By not speaking out you are also not preventing your followers from stalking and harassing people who are participating in the boycott. Your silence speaks volumes. I hope that all of your authors move to other publishers because you are standing with a genocide. Watch this video for more information

This book was cute but it was more coming of age than romance. Arya felt like a real character who made teenage mistakes. I enjoyed it enough.

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My takeaway- I don’t know enough about Bollywood and need to immerse myself in the movies ASAP. Such a fun book, and I’m sure I’d love it more if I did know more about Bollywood.

This is a great YA novel. It has the enemies to loves trope, which plays out nicely. We get to watch a sister relationship start strained and eventually work itself out, and as an added bonus- the mom is difficult too. We ultimately see Arya learn and grow through her struggles and selfishness.

Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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A YA romance with family drama, high school drama, and wedding planning stress. The romance is enemies to lovers, but I struggled to feel any chemistry between the main characters. There was a LOT happening beyond the romance - family tension, family member with mental health struggles, friendship rifts which ultimately made the story feel slow to me.

I hope this book works better for others!
DNF @ 37%

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Young adult books are so sweet and nostaglic. But they also remind you how raw and real their feelings are and how they shape so much of their future. Truly enjoyed reading about Arya's life with family, friends, and those first romantic feelings. I also loved experiencing, as it was written so well you did feel part of the story, her culture. Great, clean read for tweens and up!

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I am a huge fan of academic rivals to lovers and a huge fan of self-aware rom-coms, so as soon as I started reading this book I knew that the concept was perfect for me. And as I read it, I found myself falling in love with the story and the characters. The story was so charming, and I found myself literally giggling and kicking my feet and staying up late into the night just to finish this book in one sitting.

There were a few times where I found myself rolling my eyes at some of Arya's actions, but then I had to step back and remind myself that she is a teenager and that is often how teenagers act. And on that note, I found the characters, dialogue and scenarios in this book to be incredibly realistic. Sometimes when I read YA books, it's really obvious that the author has not spoken to a teenager since about the 80s, but that was not the case in this book. I saw a lot of myself as a teenager in Arya, and loved rooting for her and seeing her and her relationships develop.

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Recommended: yep!
for a family learning how to forgive and love each other again, for a big ol' Bollywood book, for an MC who has a lot to learn (but does!)

Overall this was a romance that had a lot more besides it, which in this case I really appreciated. Arya is forced to work with her academic rival of sorts, and she's real bitter and petty about it. She's genuinely an ass and pretty much just because she's... jealous? insecure? I'm not sure, but there were definitely times I didn't like her much because it was like I was actually reading from the villain's perspective. She was the villain. That saying about people being mean to someone actually means they're romantically interested in them was kind of the vibe she embodied. She is just a relentless, unnecessary jerk to Dean.

Dean sticks around, though. I loved the way he identified and handled situations where Arya was clearly picking a fight and displacing her feelings onto him because he was convenient or nearby. Honestly he dealt with those very maturely most of the time, unlike Arya, so it was easy to root for him as a love interest because he's sweet and mature and knows when to walk away and let her cool off. I actually adored it.

Arya's complex relationships with her family were a great draw as well. She loves her sister, but harbors so much hurt and resentment over being left in the wake of the destruction her sister's absence cause. She wants to love her mother, but her mother's constant depression makes it feel difficult and overwhelming for her. Her father is her rock, but she recognizes that he might not actually be the greatest husband, even if he's a great dad. The interactions between these three tangled lines felt really genuine, and even her sister's fiance got some impactful screen (page?) time.

As I write this, I'm realizing more and more that Arya is just a mess of a girl with relationships because she also does a piss poor job with her friend Lisa. She makes a choice towards the start that should be so obviously something that would become a problem for Lisa, and then is so surprised when it's a huge damn problem for Lisa. This was a bit frustrating to watch, and both of them could have done better, but in the end I think they got to a decent place individually and would be better friends to others in the future because of it.

There are a ton of Bollywood movie and actor and cliche references in this which I didn't usually know, but I'm sure would be recognizable to someone more involved in it. Even without knowing, I got the broad strokes of their significance and was able to enjoy the story without feeling like I was missing out on something (or like I was being bashed over the head with it, either). Overall although it didn't necessarily blow me away or break new ground, this is a well told story with some great character relationship development -- and not only romantically!

Thanks to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for a free advanced copy. This is my honest review.

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The book I read before this one (which I haven’t even put a review up for yet) actually made me want to stop reading for a while. I had been reading things that were making me feel so blah that I just couldn’t do it anymore…and I took a long break. It took me almost a month to pick up a book again. And thank goodness it was this one, because I’m fired up and ready to read again in 2024!

What didn’t work for me

The Lisa/Andy/Arya triangle: Though the title of the book really seems like it will focus on the wedding, there are *a lot* of other things going on, and while a lot of them really enriched the story, I feel like I could have done without this friendship drama. Andy disappeared for days at a time for college stuff and Lisa didn’t really factor into the story, ultimately, so I feel like this was just added to make things unnecessarily tense…and it wasn’t needed.

The mother: I don’t want to go into spoiler territory, but we don’t really get answers about what’s going on with Arya and Alina’s mom…not really. Did it affect the way I read the book? No, not really, but I would have liked some resolution here.

What I liked

Enemies to lovers: My favourite trope. I will never not love it. That being said, I liked that the enemies part didn’t last too long and that there was nothing pulling these two dramatically apart in the middle of the book (spoiler alert?). We just saw them progress, and it was nice. I love them together.

The Bollywood of it all: I have never watched a Bollywood movie and I’m not familiar with the wedding spectacle of the culture (beyond what I’ve seen on TV), but I love that Arachat didn’t dumb it down for those of us who did know. She used the real words, presented what was going on as fact and just moved on. I liked that it was my responsibility to look things up if I needed to. Plus, the whole thing seemed like fun. It was really giving me wedding vibes from Never Have I Never, which I loved. And the intermission in the book was cute!

The bookstore: As a reader, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I love a good bookstore, but I also enjoyed the relationship that Mellie and Arya had and the scenes that took place there really warmed my heart.


Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Wednesday Books for an advanced book copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Arya Khanna’s Bollywood Moment is a novel about navigating high school, relationships, family and love. It also gives off the feel of some of the old school romcoms of the past with the rivals to lovers trope.

The romance between Arya and Dean was a slow burn, but that felt right for this story, and for them, especially given their history. It felt right for their age and how it happened over the buddy read of Pride and Prejudice. It was refreshing to see how they paid attention to one another's likes and dislikes and even if there were disagreements or if they were dealing with emotions of things happening at home, they gave one another the space to process those emotions appropriately. I applaud Avachat for doing a great job at encapsulating what high school is like and how kids navigate it. I also enjoyed the Bollywood-style marriage, as I didn't know much about this.

This was a wonderful read and I think those that enjoy YA novels will highly enjoy this!

**I voluntarily read an early copy of this title courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

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What I enjoyed:
-Seeing Arya’s relationships with her sister, mom, best friends, and love interest develop was really nice. They each took very different directions but still felt fleshed out without overwhelming the storyline.

-The enemies-to-lovers romance was admittedly adorable.

-We saw a lot of character growth from Arya. She learned how to own up to her mistakes while also being able to admit and apologize for her wrongdoings. She also made a point to stand up for herself when she was being treated unfairly, which I love to see in YA.

What could’ve been improved:
-The pacing of the story felt off to me at times. Seemingly important events would be covered in a couple of pages, while seemingly minor events could take entire chapters.

This was a quick and cute debut, and I would definitely be interested in future novels from this author. While this novel wasn’t perfect, I think the author’s future works will only improve.

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DNF. I really liked the premise but the writing did not work for me at all. It wouldn't be fair to the book if I finished reading and gave it a low rating.

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This was such a fun, swoony, banter-filled romcom—I loved the nods to Bollywood, and the Never Have I Ever comp is spot-on!

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Enemies to friends to lovers trope? Check. Teenage angst? Check. This book fits well into the young adult romance genre. It also gives a look into Desi culture, which was really cool. Some of it was a little hard to follow due to unfamiliar terminology, but that gives readers a chance to look into what the terminology means in order to delve deeper into that culture. Those who are part of that culture who read this book will no doubt love the representation it gives, similar to the representation from Ms. Marvel (both comics and on screen). It has some cutesy moments and some moments that have the reader empathizing with the characters, both main and support. That said, I found the plot a little lackluster. There wasn't a lot that actually happened, per se. I feel like things could have been fleshed out more. A decent read, but not a favorite.

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I've heard about Bollywood movies, but didn't know anything about them; that's why I picked this book up - to learn more about Bollywood. Still not sure I know much about it, but this book was a fun party! The book is structured like a Bollywood film (says the description - intermission and everything).

Shaadi preparations are in full swing, which means lehenga shopping, taste testing, dance rehearsals, and best of all, Arya’s sister Alina is home. The Khannas are together again, finally, and Arya wants to enjoy it. So she stifles her lingering resentment towards Alina, plays mediator during her sister’s fights with their mother, and welcomes her future brother-in-law with open arms. (Okay, maybe enjoy isn't exactly right.)

Meanwhile at school, Arya’s senior year dreams are unraveling. In between class and her part-time gig as a bookshop assistant, Arya struggles to navigate the aftermath of a bad breakup between her two best friends and a tense student council partnership with her rival, the frustratingly attractive Dean Merriweather.

Arya is determined to keep the peace at home and at school, but this shaadi season teaches Arya new realities: Alina won’t always be in the bedroom down the hall, Mamma’s sadness isn’t mendable, friendships must evolve, and life doesn’t always work out like her beloved Bollywood movies. But sometimes, the person you least expect will give you a glimpse of your dream sequence just when you need it most.

My Thoughts:
Indian weddings are full of tradition and are very rich affairs that cover a large span of time. There are many rituals and lots of partying. This book focuses on the Khanna family relationships and how they work through issues all surrounded by the wedding preparations. This is a debut novel and I must say the author did a good job and produced a fun read.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press through Netgalley for an advance copy. Expected publication is January 9, 2024.

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Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment by Arushi Avachat is a delightful YA rom-com that shows the fullness of teenage life.

Arya Khanna's senior year becomes complicated when her two best friends, who had been dating, break up. Add to that family drama as her sister returns to the family home after a three year break in order to plan and prepare for her shaadi. Add to the friend and family drama the fact that Arya came in second place for class president, meaning she has to serve as VP for her rival, Dean. Plus a part-time bookstore job, maid of honor duties, mediating the broken relationships of her mom and sister AND her two best friends... oh, and college applications. Whew, Arya has a LOT on her plate.

Arya is a delightful narrator and main character. Though she has her own flaws to work through, she has a good heart and the best of intentions. As things get tense at school and at home, Arya begins to learn how to stop meddling in other people's relationships and focus on her own.

Arya's friends and family are fully fleshed, well developed characters. The academic rivals to lovers plot is fun and played out at a slow-burn pace. What I love most about this book might be the fullness of it-- we see so many aspects of Arya's life. We see her at her part-time bookshop job, at school, with family, with her future in-laws, at parties and with friends.

The setting of a smaller town in the Northeastern United States is charming, with adorable bakeries, coffee shops, and the incredible sounding Belle's Bookshop, where Arya works part time. This bookshop is my favorite setting, and I loved the descriptions and how it was a gathering place for Arya and her friends. It was also so lovely to see the relationship between Arya and her boss, Mindy.
This book reads like how watching a Bollywood film feels. Highs, lows, dance sequences, romance, even an intermission! It was utterly delightful. With plentiful references to Bollywood films and pop culture in general, this novel is cozy and perfect for curling up with on rainy/snowy winter days. This is a story worthy savoring, playing out at a Bollywood film pace.

Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment will be available January 9, 2024.

Thank you to the author, St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books, and NetGalley for an E-ARC such that I could share my honest opinion.

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Thank you to #NetGalley, Arushi Avachat, and the publisher of the book for the eARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

Arya is a high school senior just trying to enjoy her last year and help plan her sister's wedding. Things start to unravel though when her two best friends break up and a tense relationship with her student council rival, Dean. Things at home are also tough since her sister and mom are not getting along, her mom's constant sadness and Arya having to play peace maker.

Set up like a Bollywood film, get ready for a fun YA read! I love Arya's character and feel for her as she has to be the "adult" in most situations while she is still somewhat of a child. I will definitely be recommending this book to others!

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Save the Date meets Never Have I Ever in this story about a high school senior who is about to get a Bollywood spin on her life when her sister gets engaged and she has to navigate family drama, friend drama, and an unexpected crush. Arya is thrown headfirst into wedding planning when her sister becomes engaged, but that isn't without it's own drama as with new family members, mounting fights, and more come to a head. On top of that her senior is starting, and after losing the presidency she is now vice president to her frustrating yet handsome school rival, Dean. The more time Arya and Dean spend together the more their rivalry is starting to turn into something else, and with so much going on in her life, she'll have to find a way to balance everything before it explodes in her place. This was an okay read, you get to see a lot of family drama , especially between mother and daughters and sister and sister. Arya is dealing with so much, and she's trying to find a way to navigate it all on top of dealing with her best friend's breaking up and trying to remain friends with both as well as this new relationship with Dean. This would make a cute read for teens I think.

*Thanks Netgalley and St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*

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