Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment
by Arushi Avachat
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Pub Date 09 Jan 2024 | Archive Date 23 Jan 2024
St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books
Save the Date meets Never Have I Ever in this sparkling debut rom-com about a high school senior whose life suddenly gets a Bollywood spin when her sister gets engaged.
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.
Structured like a Bollywood film (entertaining intermission included!) Arya Khanna’s Bollywood Moment will make you swoon, laugh, cry, think, nod your head in agreement, and quite possibly make you get up and dance.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 53 members
Such a fun, swoony read!! The characters are all extremely well developed and their romance is adorable. The plot andsetting.. I just loved all of it. It was a beautiful read that was hard to put down. Overall, this was a great romance book.
ARC kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This whole book feels like a Bollywood movie and is the perfect read for people who loved Never Had I Ever on Netflix.
Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment was such a fun and charming read, and I loved all its layers. It was a fun and cute academic rival to lover's romance but had so much depth to it with all the familial relationships. Overall just felt like a very well-rounded book that was cute and fluffy but also covered topics that added a lot of depth to the story.
This book was truly such an enjoyable read and it was super fun and kept my attention the whole time. Once I read the first few pages I felt myself just getting sucked into the story and especially its humor, and after that, it was very difficult to put it down. I 100% would have read this book in one sitting if I had not been on vacation with my family.
Also, this book made me hungry for food, the way Arushi Avachat described the food was perfect. So that was just an added plus!
As a brown girl myself, reading Arya Khanna’s Bollywood Moment was like warm chicken soup for my inner teenager’s soul. When I was a teen (not all that long ago) brown girls weren’t very well represented in books, and especially not as main characters. It has been so beautifully refreshing to connect with a main character on the basis of culture and family ties.
Arya Khanna’s Bollywood Moment feels like a coming of age story, despite not really being one, and has a heartwarming focus on family dysfunctions and the bonds that hold us together despite our flaws and past hurts.
Arya reminds me so much of a younger me - naive about some things, feeling a deep sense of responsibility over things that are not her burden to carry, and emotional as all hell. Seeing the way that Avachat depicts broken family dynamics and how that can weigh on sibling relationships - particularly in brown households - was emotional for me to read. The way she depicts sisterhood is so genuine and authentic and natural.
In fact, character relationships and their dynamics throughout the entirety of the book felt refreshingly real. Avachat navigates what it is to be closing out of adolescence and entering adulthood beautifully in this novel. The trials and tribulations of college applications, crumbling friendships, new relationships, and familial stress are all such a huge part of what it is to be a senior in high school. Preparing to leave home, for life to change, not knowing what direction university will take you and what it will mean for your friendships… all of that is depicted organically in this novel.
I adore that we meet Arya at an important juncture in her life, but that we only get to see a small portion of it. The book is less so about getting from point a to point b and hitting a climax on the way and more so about what it is to be a teen navigating a series of emotional challenges and overcoming them through personal growth. We’re spoiled with a healthy mix of sweetness, wholesome romance, teen angst, and family drama, among other things. The character development isn’t outstanding but it’s certainly enough for the plot, and I didn’t find it to be lacking in a significant way.
Reading Arya Khanna’s story had me gripped from cover to cover. The dialogue flowed freely, the characters were so lovable, it’s exactly the kind of book to read when you need something equivalent to a warm cup of tea on a dreary day. I truly adored every minute I spent reading this book, grinning ear to ear nearly the entire time. This is truly such an impressive and gorgeously sweet YA debut.
Perfect for fans of shows like Never Have I Ever (with much less chaos), Arya Khanna’s Bollywood Moment will have you absolute charmed from start to finish and I cannot recommend it enough!
I adored this novel!
I love how naturally Dean and Arya's enemies to friends to lovers story line progressed. I love that there wasn't an insta-love vibe and how we got to see them grow throughout the story.
The only character I felt was unreasonable was Lisa but I like that she communicated with Arya toward the end.
If you're wondering whether you should read this or not, YOU ABSOLUTELY SHOULD. It was worth every moment I spent reading.
This was such a cute read! The characters made me laugh so hard and I learned so much about shaadi. This was an amazing debut and I can’t believe that the author hasn’t written more, this is such a great book.
CW: depression, divorce (recounted)
I would like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a free e-ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Arya Khanna is trying to have the best senior year ever, but things aren’t quite working out in her favor. Her two best friends recently broke up and are no longer speaking to each other. Her family is in the midst of planning her older sister’s shaadi despite lingering tensions. And she has to save autumn formal with her enemy and student body president, Dean Merriweather. Yet, in the midst of it all, Arya learns how to adapt with these changes.
I have to admit that I haven’t read a book quite like Arya Khanna’s Bollywood Moment, but this is a book I would absolutely re-read again. Capturing the essence of a Bollywood film (featuring an intermission, which I’ve never seen before in a book), this book is divided into five acts focusing on various aspects of Arya’s senior year and the shaadi preparations. I feel that the short chapters are easy to read through and provide a good pace to the plot since it never feels too slow or too fast.
Likewise, I feel that Avachat does a really good job with character development in Arya Khanna’s Bollywood Moment. Throughout the book, Avachat details the changes Arya goes through as she navigates senior year and her sister’s upcoming shaadi, which I think Avachat does really well for this book. In addition, I also thought Arya and Dean’s relationship was so cute and adorable. I loved reading their interactions on the page and was rooting for them till the end.
Other than my wish there could have been a bit more to the intermission part of the book, I have no complaints for this book. If you’re looking for a diverse YA rom-com with great writing and an adorable romance, you should keep an eye on Arya Khanna’s Bollywood Moment.