Cover Image: Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment

Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment

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This book as so cute. I loved to setting and the culture of the book. The romance was so good. And the writing was very well done.

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I was all set to love this book, but it’s a DNF for me. I love the representation of various races, religions, and sexualities, however the characters and story fell a little flat. There wasn’t a character I felt compelled by or was rooting for, which is a sign that the book isn’t going to work for me

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ARYA KHANNA’S BOLLYWOOD MOMENT was one of my favorite reads of the year! I literally cannot wait for it to come out so that I can persuade (force) all of my friends to read it. This book is marketed as being like Netflix’s NEVER HAVE I EVER which is one of my all time favorite series. You are looking at a girl who continues to read every crumb of BENVI fanfiction lol! Arya and Dean and literally so BENVI coded it’s ridiculous! It gives academic rivals to lovers! It gives “he always liked her/ never hated her”! These books are my bread and butter and I will devour them every time.

Thank you to the publisher for gifting me an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review!

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This book had everything - funny, family drama, friendship and love which leads up to a big Bollywood wedding. I enjoyed the reading this.

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This book was such a delight to read! The infusion of Indian culture and all of the intricate components of an Indian wedding added such a rich layer to the narrative. Truly, such a special novel and memorable debut!

There characters were so authentic, and the plot line was so realistic, which is everything you'd want in a contemporary novel. The romance was so charming with the perfect amount of enemies-to-lovers banter. I do wish some of the dates were fleshed out a tad more--some of them ended a bit abruptly. For example, I wish there was more at the pumpkin patch! Such an incredibly cute idea, and I wanted more!

Arya's familial relationships were complex and well-written. The themes of family and friendship, and navigating the uncertainty of the future with big life decisions (college apps are no joke!) were expertly crafted.
Arya's character development over the course of the novel is also so fulfilling. Overall, this is a gem of a book with exceptional diversity and much-need BIPOC representation, excellent writing, and endearing relationships. Highly recommend!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC!

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So. I signed up for Netgalley which... this does not spell good things for my TBR but oh well?

I honestly thoroughly enjoyed this, not only because of all of the wedding aspects (to be honest, this kind of stung a little due to the fact that I will be missing my first cousin's wedding for a little thing known as college), or the punjabi-specific representation, as much as I was happy to see that, but the fact that this book genuinely read like it was written by someone who understand what it is to grow Indian-American right now (which made sense to me after learning that the author is a current college student). This was visible throughout the story, from the fact that the characters were targeting colleges other than the same five schools that everyone seems to assume high schoolers end up at (despite never showing them doing actual work), to the aspects of the book that, in my mind, were most significant, which highlighted Arya's relationship with her family.
A lot of the time relationships in books are essentially described as "oh abc is xyz" "well you should move on/create your own life/do what YOU want to do." While all of this is true, it ignores the fact that things aren't always so simple, and particularly in Arya's case, she took on a lot of the responsibility that her sister left behind when she decided that she wanted something different, almost leading her to adopt some elder-sibling-like traits in the process.
Overall, I thought that this was a fun read, and it had enough depth that it didn't feel like complete fluff the entire time.
I will be honest though, I don't love the title.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC!

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Some of my favorite books are the ones I pick up, knowing I’ll at least mildly enjoy, but then once I read, I fall completely in love with it. That was the case with this book. Oh my goodness, what a treat! This book did it all for me: it made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me incredibly hungry (the food descriptions are top notch!) and it made me kick my heels at the romantic moments. I loved Arya so much. In all her messiness, I loved that she acknowledged when she was the problem or the one who made the mistake and then made it right. She also wasn’t afraid to call people out when they were in the wrong. I loved seeing her relationship with her sister and also with her friend Lisa. I thought those were done so well. I really loved the complicated family dynamics and seeing how they affected each member. There were so many events in this book, I felt like there was always something happening and that kept the pace pretty steady throughout. And, of course, Dean. What a prince. I really enjoyed him. I just can’t say enough good things about this book. Highly recommend and now I’m off to preorder because I need a physical copy the minute it’s released.


Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for an advanced digital reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a chance to read this book.
Unfortunately this was a DNF for me :( I really wanted to get into it because of the reviews but I just couldn't. I normally love YA and was thrilled to get to read this one once I saw all of the great reviews it is getting. However, once I was reading it seemed too YA for me. I still appreciate the copy given to me and give it two stars since I'm sure younger audiences would enjoy it more but the story/characters weren't for an older YA reader.

Thank you again to the author/publisher/Netgalley.

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I'm such a sucker for any YA that explores other cultures (and teaches me in the process). Arya & Dean embody the classic enemies to lovers trope where their forced proximity leads to more.

The entire Bollywood theme coupled with modern day high school romance makes for a quick, cute read. The characters are both believable and likable. The quick pace easily sweeps the reader along and is just a heartwarming story.

Overall: 5 stars

I'll tell my students about: language, sex, alcohol

**Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books for the free ARC. All opinions expressed are my own.**

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Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for the ARC of this book.

I will happily leave a review for this when the racist remarks by one of their employees is addressed. I want to support the author, but also want to know they don’t support this behavior.

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Arya Khanna’s Bollywood Moment is a compelling and delightful coming-of-age story and romance. Arya Khanna has to balance college applications, her sister’s wedding/family drama, and coming in second to her arch-nemesis rival. Dean is the president of the student body and they constantly battle for the upper hand. When Dean and Arya are forced to work together for the good of the school, they discover a potential friendship. Arya must also try and help her sister Alina get ready for the wedding and hopes to mend the broken bond between her mother and sister. As Arya works to balance her many responsibilities, what will she do when her friendship with Dean turns into a romance?

Arya is such a likable and relatable heroine. I really enjoyed her adventures in friendship, family, and romance. Arya has many obstacles along the way, including a tumultuous relationship with her older sister Alina. Alina is getting married, but the sisters have been separated for years. This leads to difficult conversations between them, but I loved the character growth from both sisters. Dean is a very sweet and charming love interest, who at first doesn’t quite know what to do with Arya when they aren’t fighting. Readers who enjoy powerful coming-of-age stories, rivals in love, and compelling characters will love this book. This is the perfect book for readers who love the tv show: Never Have I Ever. I’m looking forward to what Arushi Avachat writes next!

Thank you to Arushi Avachat, Wednesday Books, and Netgalley for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

For publisher: My review will be posted on Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon, Storygraph, and Barnes & Noble etc

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I love a book with indian/brown girl representation. And the fact that it’s multicultural just makes it so much better. I loved everything about this book from the minute i started it and i was so sad when i reached the end. I found myself connecting with Arya and loved seeing her get her moments.

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So much fun! I loved this sweet, charming romance, all with an Indian-American protagonist after my own heart.

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Arya Khanna’s Bollywood Moment was a refreshing novel about marriage, love, high school, and relationships. As a current high school senior, I was easily able to understand Arya’s pressure to maintain her friendships, her family relationships and do well in school at the same time. Don’t even get me started on college applications. There were so many relatable moments in this book like:

“I ignore the tightness in my stomach and return to my laptop. It’s Tuesday morning, and we’re working on college essays in the library before class, though neither of us has done more than pull up our Google Drives. I decide to be the responsible one and click on the folder titled: college apps </3. Then I switch over to the Sephora tab open on my browser and add a new blush palette I definitely can’t afford to my cart.”

I liked seeing the brown representation, and as an Indian girl myself, it was super funny to see Arya and her sister, Alina, dealing with all the things that come with encountering Indian aunties at parties. Arya’s family dynamic was complicated and Arushi Avachat did a great job of building tension and resolving it all at the end. I wasn’t too satisfied with how Arya’s relationship with her Mamma at the end, but it was cool to see her grow throughout the book and begin to prioritize her own feelings.

Arya’s enemies-to-lovers romance with Dean was super cute and everything that I want in a high school romance. A man to read Pride and Prejudice with me? A dream. Arya and Dean’s easy banter was fun and I especially loved how they paid special attention to each other’s likes and dislikes. Indian girls can like country music too! (Although I am not a Thomas Rhett or Kane Brown fan :/). Additionally, Avachat does a great job of portraying what high school is actually like: studying, planning events, being sad, and more studying. Her references to actual Civics material was funny to see as I’m currently learning a lot of the same Supreme Court cases in my class as a high school senior. Their willingness to open up to each other and discuss the true reasons for their initial frostiness was so mature and handled really well.

Overall, the conflict with Arya’s best friend, Lisa, was my least favorite part of the book. It feels like it was just thrown in there to compound Arya’s problems and I didn’t like how there was no real stepping points leading up to the resolution at the end for the two of them.

Highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun read centered around a Bollywood-style marriage, family drama, and the life of a high school senior.

Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for an ARC of this novel.

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I feel like this is a perfect story for south Asian girls, specifically gen ! I love all of the Bollywood references such as film and songs, family dynamics and the wonderful wedding of course. I truly enjoyed the concept but the plot and pacing did fall a little flat for me. But, I still would recommend this. 
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the eARC.

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I wanted to like this, but this did not work for me.

I need to start off with the writing because it was so distracting. Clunky and awkward and overly expositional, it was painful to read at times. Like I do not need someone's first and last name and occupation/student council title every time a new character's introduced. Arya had no real voice, and the overall writing was just dull and dry and made it hard to get into the story.

Speaking of Arya, let's talk about the characters. They were so disappointingly flat. The Never Have I Ever comp is an insult to the Netflix series which, despite its weaknesses, never had a problem with its characters arcs or development. Both the main and supporting characters had distinct personalities in Never Have I Ever and Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment...didn't. Arya's was probably the most distinct, but she's the title character. Also, her biggest personality trait was that she was kinda annoying, so I don't know that that's necessarily a win. What I remember about everyone else can be described in a few words: her mom was sad all the time, her dad was "a good man but maybe not a good husband," and her sister was the flaky, artsy, selfish, rebellious one who made Arya's life oh so difficult (more on that later.) I don't even know what to say about her best friends other than one was a science nerd and the other was MIA for half the book so 🤷🏻‍♀️

As for the romance, I was ready to love it. Maybe it's because I was coming off a reread of the book that dethroned Anne and Gilbert as my favorite academic-rivals-to-lovers ship, but this was not it. Something was just off about it; it was like the imitation version of academic-rivals-to-lovers but not the actual thing, I felt like there were consistency issues that made it hard for me to define their actual dynamic, let alone believe it. Dean was fine, I guess. Like in a generic cute-but-forgettable love interest kind of a way. I guess his one distinguishing factor was supposed to be that he's kinda Jewish? But he's definitely not a character I'm going to remember by the end of the month.

For the actual story, it was, like, not there? The plot was sort of chopped up and jumbled, and even if I had the mental energy to go back and string it all together, I don't know that it'd be a particularly strong one. The various subplots (which basically just chronicled Arya's relational angst with everyone in her life) never came together as a full story. If writing is interweaving various plot lines to make a coherent story, Avachat gave us three strings knotted at the top and bottom and called it a braid.

One of the pitches for Arya Khanna’s Bollywood Moment is that it's "structured like a Bollywood film (entertaining intermission included!)." I have never in my life watched a Bollywood movie, but if introducing a bunch of random episodes separately and then revisiting them individually at a later time is how they do storytelling, the story structure did not translate well in this particular case. The storytelling was choppy and piecemeal, making it incredibly difficult to get emotionally invested as a reader (as if boring writing and bland characters weren't enough of an obstacle.) It didn't help that the pacing was off, either.

The story essentially went like this: 1) Arya has issues with Dean, 2) Arya has issues with her sister, 3) Arya's best friend has issues with her (maybe). Then, one-by-one, we watched these get better or worse until they each reached their resolution which weren't even all that satisfying, to be honest.

Throughout the story, Arya came across as lacking self-awareness and a little self-absorbed. Look, totally understandable if you're writing a story about teenagers. That's what the whole "coming-of-age" bit is about, right? Like yes, make childish decisions and do dumb stuff! Your frontal lobes are still developing. But do so in a way that's interesting and believable; otherwise, I can go watch the teenagers in my own life make poor life choices. (If anyone I know is reading this, please know that I love you and don't actually mean that.)

But watching Arya navigate her self-induced problems wasn't the least bit enjoyable. Because she wasn't really developed as a character otherwise, Arya came off as, well, kind of annoying--and not even in an interesting, complex "unlikable heroine" kind of a way which I can totally be on board with. She was just kind of a grating, slightly cringe "wah, life is so hard" kind of narrator which got old real quick. The worst part is, she didn't really have a strong enough arc to make sitting through 320 pages of her whining worth it.

I'm getting tired of all this ranting, so I'll make this part brief. Most of the conflicts in the book were interesting but not nearly developed enough. Being caught in the middle of your two best friends' break-up? Love it. Having your sister back after she essentially ghosted you for three years? Fascinating. Dealing with the stress of trying to keep your family from imploding? Give me more. Except Avachat barely skimmed the surface, so instead of an interesting story full of complexity and nuance, we got...not that. I personally think the biggest miss was the way Arya's mom's depression was handled like an afterthought. It like "oh we should include something about how Asians don't talk about mental health" but not actually engage with the idea in any kind of meaningful way. Avachat just kind of dropped it in the story and left it there.

Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment did not, as promised, make me swoon, laugh, cry, think, nod your head in agreement, and definitely didn't make me get up and dance. I am, once again, in the small minority of early reviewers who didn't enjoy Arushi Avachat's debut, so if you see the other reviewers or feel particularly invested in the synopsis, by all means, read it for yourself. Otherwise, there are plenty of other Bollywood-inspired YA contemporary romances--and Desi-wedding ones--out there.

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This is the perfect book for millennial south Asian girls! So many references to old Bollywood songs and films, the complex family dynamics, and the wedding shenanigans make you feel like you are there with Arya. Many highlighted texts later, I realized why I couldn't put it down: there were so many scenarios that had happened to myself or friends. I felt seen in this, and I'm definitely not a teenager. I love Arya's love story and the way she truly found herself. Navigating through friendships and relationships is hard, no matter your age.

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Much thanks to NetGalley and Wednesday Books/St.Martins Publishing for the ARC of "Arya Khanna's" in exchange for an honest review.
Pure fun all the way through. These days, you can never have enough books that keep you smiling and entertained from first page to last and this one surely fits that description.
Just about every single YA rom-com essential gets thrown into the mix here. High school seniors sweating out their college applications while on the verge of preparing for their next big life journey.......an adorable competitive rivals-to-friends matchup that's been in the works since middle school......a unshakable trio of best friends gone hurtfully askew.......siblings troubled with a history of misunderstanding and unspoken resentment.......
As if that isn't enough for you, on top of all that (and actually best of all)......an upcoming full fledged Bollywood wedding, with multiple events leading to the ceremony, endless food delicacies, gorgeous clothing and that spectacular music and dancing guaranteed to lift anyone with a pulse off their chairs and on their feet.
All of the above things keep swirling about Arya Khanna as she navigates her way through each one.....the thaw in her rivalry with arch-nemesis (but not for long) Dean, repairing the friendship-gone-asunder with BFFs Lisa and Andy, and coming to terms with big sister Alina, the upcoming Bollywood bride whose independent career as an artist provoked a deep family rift.
I don't know how she did it, but author Arushi Avadhat somehow keeps all of these situations in the air at the same time, making for a busy story handled with humor, sweetly tender romance, high emotion.......and that impossibly infectious Bollywood playlist (which you'll want to sample either while reading the book or right after.)
Never been easier to rate a book 5 stars.

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**Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. This review is my opinion**

Why do books with Bollywood culture always fascinate me? Read this book right here and you'll understand!

Lately, I have been steering clear of YA because of how immature the characters can be. Maybe it's because I'm getting older (in my early 30s), but I'm glad I got this ARC. Arya is such a lively character that ensnared my heart with her sense of humor and her passion. This coming of age story reminded me of why I enjoy YA. Sure, Arya could be a bit annoying at times, but she still won me over. This book took me on a Bollywood adventure, reminding me why I love those films.

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The cover is what drew me in and I’m so glad I was able to read this. It had a fun concept and the characters worked in this story. I enjoyed how well everything worked in the story and the characters had a great feel to them. I enjoyed what Arushi Avachat wrote and can’t wait for more.

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