From Twinkle, with Love
I fell in love with Sandhya Menon’s last super-swoon-worthy boy lead, Rishi, from When Dimple Met Rishi and this time, Menon made me fall in love with her kickass girl lead, Twinkle.
Firstly, what a great name. I feel like with a name like Twinkle, you will inevitably achieve great things. She’s a wallflower who aspires to make films and she has a crush on the hottest boy in school, Neil Roy. Neil is on the swim team, so he’s hunky and dreamy all wrapped into one. Twinkle is head-over-heels for him, except he doesn’t really know who she is. His twin brother, Sahil, does though. Sahil has always been overshadowed by his swoon-worthy brother. He’s not a sports star. He’s not an ab-ed 17-year-old Adonis, and he’s also a bit of a dweeb. What chance does he have to get a girlfriend when they’re always going to compare him to his brother?
The lives of these two overlooked teens collide when Sahil plucks up the courage to talk to Twinkle and convinces her to use her movie-making talents to make a film for the school’s upcoming Summer Festival. She agrees and their friendship (and budding romance) begins.
Seriously, this book could not be cuter. It is written in letter format, texts and emails, which works really well. Twinkle airs her feelings by writing diary-like letters to famous female film directors. She tells them about her film-making dreams, as well as her feelings for Neil and her growing (and confusing) feelings for Sahil. Sahil writes text messages to his mates asking for girl advice and updating his pals on his successes in the wooing department. These group chats always made me smile as his two guy mates, one who has no luck with the ladies and one who is the only openly gay kid at their school and a whiz at all things relationship-related, try to talk him through the tricky situations and cheer him on in the good ones. Their interactions are super fun and actually had some great advice mixed in there.
Twinkle herself is determined, sassy, shy and really hung up on Neil. I spent my high school years pining after one person, so I knew exactly how she felt, but that didn’t stop me from shaking my head and screaming CAN’T YOU SEE THAT THE OTHER BROTHER IS SO MUCH BETTER?! Reading this made me realize what it was like to be in my friends’ shoes talking to teenage me. So, sorry to those friends now!
I was drawn to From Twinkle With Love for the great Indian-American set of characters. I stayed with the book for the romance and the will-they-won’t-they-oh-come-on-they-must-get-together moments. But I think it was the film titbits and letters to classic women of cinema that really make this book special. I love films as much as I love books, and having one discussed in the other just really was the icing on a perfectly-crafted YA cake for me.