Friday, May 11, 2018

Book Review: From Twinkle, With Love

Title: From Twinkle, With Love
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: Young Adult | Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Source: Publisher
Format: eARC

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?
Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you (goodreads).

From Twinkle, With Love was charming. 
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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