Cover Image: Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment

Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This was a pretty cute YA, though slightly on the standard side.

The romance component had some cute moments, but to me, it was more on the weaker side. However, where this story was strongest was definitely in the relationship and dynamics among Arya, her sister, and her mother. The messiness of family dynamics, expectations, and change felt very realistic, and this part of the story had a lot of heart.

Was this review helpful?

“Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment” by Arushi Avachat is a YA contemporary romance set in northeastern USA about Arya Khanna, an Indian-American teen in her last year of high school whose estranged elder sister, Alina, is home in the months preparing for her wedding.

I generally like YA books, they’re easy reads, entertaining, and often with engaging emotional and psychological exploration of families, friends, self-discovery and personal growth.

This book was strange in that it felt like a book about adults. Or, at least my high school experience was way more juvenile than Arya and her friends. There’s a lot of dating, comments about regular shopping therapy, there’s even a Friendsgiving we’re told it’s hosted every year by a secondary character – they’re 17, how many years are they inviting their entire academic year to Thanksgiving events? There are the obligatory references to exams and university admissions, but I just felt like – for all Arya has never kissed a boy, she’s having conversations and interactions with others I didn’t have until my late 20s. How Arya manages to watch four-hour Bollywood movies and still study for midterms and act on student government is a mystery not solved by the author.

I also thought there were some under-explored issues here, such as the mental illness of Arya’s mother and the dubious relationship between the parents (the dad is perpetually happy and always at work, and it’s clear the author – like Arya – can’t decide if he’s a bad husband/father, oblivious, avoiding his wife and children, or is a loving-if-absentee-dad).

There’s also some friendship breakdown moments that I didn’t love (Arya taking on some guilt that I think was totally misplaced).

Was it a bit basic that Dean antagonizes Arya because he likes her? Yes. But, don’t worry, Arya uses the phrase “toxic masculinity” at some point and the needling is described as historical and from Arya’s not-too-reliable point of view.

Overall, I did enjoy this book for the teenage enemies-to-lovers elements. A cute read, but I liked “Better Than the Movies” a whole lot more. 3.5/5

Was this review helpful?

This was a cute YA romance with a complicated family. I fell for Arya and her desire for control. I think teens will be able to relate to her losing the election, sister getting married, working with a high school rival, and figuring things out. This is definitely perfect for a high school YA reader.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Netgalley and the the publisher for access to read and review, "Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment"by Arushi Avachat. I never actually watched a Bollywood movie before but reading this book certainly felt like being transported into one. Arya is such a three dimensional character with hopes and dreams of her own. Her thoughts and feelings were relatable to how I felt in high school The situations and miscommunications were also very relatable. I love reading books with traditions different from my own and I loved the way everything about the different holidays and events were described. Not going to lie, I did get a little hungry from reading some of the food descriptions. The outfit descriptions were also amazing. Overall, a great edition to the YA genre, I just wish the ending wasn't so abrupt.

Was this review helpful?

I have never wanted to watch a Bollywood movie so badly! I am such a fan of this book, Avachat did a great job on this one. I loved Arya and instantly fell in love with her character and her story. I had heard a few people compare this to Never Have I Ever on Netflix but I think they are completely different. I feel like this is much more relatable and more of a coming of age story than the show. I will definitely be recommending this to friends. Thanks Netgalley for this advance copy!

Was this review helpful?

First of all thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press,

If you've seen Never Have I Ever, you'll adore this book. Arya reminded me so much of Devi, and Dean and her's rivals to friends to lovers narrative gave me big Ben and Devi vibes, which I adored, so I knew Dean and Arya would be a lot of fun. This book was a breath of fresh air for me, and while I've seen my fair share of Bollywood films, I'd never read a novel that gave me the same vibes as this one did, and I believe Arushi truly nailed the target.

I loved getting to know the ins and outs of the Khanna family and getting to see the different dynamics within the family. This was such a good debut novel.

(4.25 stars)

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley for this eARC.

Arya Khanna is starting her senior year on the outs with her best friend and having lost the class rep presidency to her rival. Her estranged sister is home and preparing for a large wedding before the holidays. Things are looking rough. But between her family drama, a growing attraction to her very Darcy-esque presidential rival, and the wedding plans, she finds time to apply for colleges and work at the local bookshop. It’s her escape and that is so relatable. Arya’s relationship with her family is super complex and I did feel that her mother’s obvious depression wasn’t touched on nearly enough. It wasn’t resolved or given enough hope for healing. The sibling relationship was definitely the focus and I think that that focus did the parental relationship a slight disservice. Arya and Dean’s romance was completely sweet and slow and I wanted more of it. I could see the way her thoughts and reasoning played out and understood her. I wanted a firework ending but it felt like a sparkler ending: soft and over far too soon.

Was this review helpful?

This was such a fun read! I didn’t really have many expectations going into this book but I can say that I definitely wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did (although the scenes about college admissions made me feel both old and some FOMO). I wanted to root for Arya, even when that meant acknowledging she had to do better, and all the relationships explored were interesting and in the case of the romance, very cute. Arushi Avachat does a fantastic job of writing a book that feels like it fits the gorgeous pink cover while also including some harder topics and tougher subjects (mental illness, issues with family, etc). It ended up being a very quick read because I was enjoying my time so much, and I will definitely be looking for more of Avachat’s writing in the future!

A lot of this book feels so classically YA romcom while also having the advertised Bollywood twist. Additionally, I think Avachat really manages to capture a current feeling of high school and of senior year while not tying the book down with pop culture references that would be out of date by the time the book has come out. I wish I could relate to all the different fun things that Arya experiences in high school but I can still appreciate the authenticity of friend worries and worries about the future after high school (while still being glad it’s in the rearview mirror).

The absolute best part about this book for me is the relationships. It’s definitely a romcom and there’s a romance inside that’ll make you want to kick your feet occasionally (the hints of it are everything!) but there’s also the ups and downs of friendships, sisterly and other familial relationships, all on top of Arya’s own growth as a character and as a person. For me, it had the perfect balance of seriousness with fun and a world that was enjoyable to jump into. I would definitely recommend picking it up!

Was this review helpful?

I very much enjoyed this Bollywood-inspired YA romance. A fun, laid-back, and episodic read, "Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment" kept my attention from start to finish.

With drama occurring within her family, her friendships, and at school, Arya's senior year is not going the way she'd hoped it would.

Arya's sister Alina is home for the first time in three years for her wedding, but Alina and their mom keep clashing. While Arya is happy to have her sister back, she can't help feeling bitter towards Alina for being gone.

Arya also finds herself caught in the middle after her two best friends break up and is unsure how to proceed, especially when one of them starts to purposely distance herself.

At school, Arya still resents Dean for winning student body council president but tries (and sometimes fails) to work amicably with him instead of bickering like they have since they’ve known each other.

"Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment" is a welcome addition to the YA sphere. The story exhibited a realistic teenager with realistic and relatable problems. I liked all the characters, the drama, the setting, and the cultural experience. The romance was nice and didn’t overtake or become the focus of the story. Overall, this was great!

Was this review helpful?

I thought it was a cute story I really love books I introduce things about other cultures without feeling like it’s a documentary or a nonfiction book and this was a cute read for Ya audience

Was this review helpful?

Fairly predictable rom com but it was still a good read that I enjoyed. And I did enjoy learning about another culture.

Was this review helpful?

3.5 stars! This was such a fun read. I really enjoyed it. The one thing I didn’t love was the ending. It felt like there should have been a little bit more. I wanted to see a little more after some things were resolved near the end. I enjoyed Arya’s journey through the first part of her senior year, and seeing how she grew to be a better communicator with her family and friends. I did enjoy the young romance as well.

Was this review helpful?

This is a great example of the enemies-to-lovers trope. The story is cute, and the characters are sweet and likable. Even Dean turns out to be a much more admirable character than he appears at first. Aside from Arya and Dean, there are a lot of other interesting, well-drawn, and mostly likable characters in the book as well including Arya's sister, Alina, and various other friends and family members.

The book is full of great family vibes. There is plenty of real family as well as the found family of deep friendships. The author does a good, realistic, and relatable job of showcasing the highs and lows of both familial and friend relationships and how they can go wrong and still manage to be salvaged in the end.

The author also shares a lot of information about Indian traditions, customs, etc., particularly those regarding weddings throughout the book. While this information is interesting, it is not very well explained, and it leaves the reader wanting to know more which takes away slightly from enjoyment of the book. It would be better if there was a glossary of terms for readers who might not be at all familiar with these traditions, customs, etc. Other than that the book is a delightfully engrossing read.

Was this review helpful?

I was excited to read this book, I loved the summary of it, I think it just did not stick out for me as a diverse YA read besides the main female as an Indian lead and the main male as a Jewish character, but neither of these identities really were that present in the plot. It didn’t feel like there was a ton of plot in the novel, and the characters also unfortunately fell a little flat for me. But I could definitely see YA readers enjoying it, it just did not do anything different for the genre in my opinion.

Was this review helpful?

This was a fun romcom read that read YA. I enjoyed the relationship development from enemies to friends and then lovers. Fashion, Bollywood and food had me living every second of this hilarious heart warming book.

Was this review helpful?

Arya’s trying to navigate her senior year of high school while dealing with her sister’s wedding, her sister’s return home, her mother’s depression, a part-time job, college applications, her best friends breaking-up and the snotty but cute boy who beat her in the student election. It’s a lot. Everything is changing around her and while Arya seems to want everything to stay the same, she’s forced to face these changes head on.

She’s a bit stubborn and maybe not the most instantly likable character I’ve ever encountered but you certainly wanted to root for her just because of the sheer number of things the girl has going on. She needed the win.

The synopsis suggests this is structured like a Bollywood film but I didn’t really get that. My interaction with Bollywood films are limited, particularly in the last few years so perhaps I’m ignorant and if I’m wrong please do correct me. It seemed to be structured like every other teen novel I’ve encountered. There were certainly no musical numbers or fights and well there was a dance scene that really had no bearing on the plot. It also lacked the melodrama that I often associate with Bollywood films. To me, the characters seemed very realistic in terms of their personalities and the problems they were facing. I guess the comparison had me expecting something a little different and as a result I was a little disappointed.

It still was a cute contemporary young adult novel that I would feel confident handing over to any teen to enjoy.

Thank you Wednesday Books for providing an advanced reading copy through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Arushi Avachat's "Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment" is like a Bollywood dance sequence in book form – full of energy, drama, and a whole lot of fun! Arya takes us on a wild ride through the glitzy world of Bollywood, and Avachat keeps it real with a perfect mix of glamour and relatability.

The book is a spicy masala mix of dreams, drama, and a dash of chaos. Arya is not just a character; she's your Bollywood BFF, and you can't help but root for her as she navigates the ups and downs of the film industry. Avachat's writing is like a burst of confetti – lively, colorful, and impossible to resist.

What I love most is how Avachat captures the essence of Bollywood while adding her own flair. The characters are like your favorite movie stars, and the plot is as unpredictable as a classic Bollywood plot twist. It's not just a book; it's a joyride through the Bollywood rollercoaster.

So, if you're in the mood for a dose of glitter, drama, and a whole lot of laughs, "Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment" is your front-row ticket to the most entertaining show in town!

Was this review helpful?

A young adult Bollywood drama with enemies to lovers, complicated family dynamics and a bookstore setting. I was transported by the clothes, food, films and traditions described so beautifully in this book. A very cute rom com centered on Anya who, as many teenagers do, finds herself making mistakes in the name of fixing things. I loved seeing Anya’s relationship with her boss, friends, sister, mother and her cute rival develop and progress. Set against the backdrop of holiday celebrations and wedding festivities, this was a cute and quick rom com and I am so glad I read it! Thank you to NetGalley for my earc!

Was this review helpful?

This was a cute, sweet young adult book. I wasnt sure what to expect at first but I throughly enjoyed it.

There was definitely the warm fuzzies of romance in it and I liked all of the Pride and Prejudice mentions.

This was a perfect coming of age story. The enemies to lovers plot was good too. I liked how the romance happened.

Thank you Netgalley and publishers for allowing the chance to read. This was a four star rating.

Was this review helpful?

Due to the ongoing marketing boycott of St. Martin’s Press because of their continued failure to address an employee’s harmful and offensive remarks on social media, I will be withholding from reviewing this title. I sincerely hope the company takes action soon so I may resume promoting the diverse stories that SMP ought to stand by,

Was this review helpful?