A Match Made in Mehendi

A Match Made in Mehendi

Fifteen-year-old Simran "Simi" Sangha comes from a long line of Indian vichole-matchmakers-with a rich history for helping parents find good matches for their grown children. When Simi accidentally sets up her cousin and a soon-to-be lawyer, her family is thrilled that she has the "gift."But Simi is an artist, and she doesn't want to have anything to do with relationships,...

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Title:A Match Made in Mehendi
Author:Nandini Bajpai
Rating:

A Match Made in Mehendi Reviews

  • Karina

    Rating: 4.5 Stars: ★★★★ 1/2 (Maybe 5? Still deciding on a rating)

    A Match Made In Mehendi is a YA debut I'd been looking forward to for over a year and it was so good!! Easily on my list of favorite YA Contemporary books!! (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ💖💖*:・゚✧

    A Match Made In Mehendi is a fun, delightful YA Contemporary that follows Simi who comes from a long line of matchmakers, but she'd rather focus on her skills as an artist than the family business. So, when she & her friend come up with a plan to develop a ma

    Rating: 4.5 Stars: ★★★★ 1/2 (Maybe 5? Still deciding on a rating)

    A Match Made In Mehendi is a YA debut I'd been looking forward to for over a year and it was so good!! Easily on my list of favorite YA Contemporary books!! (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ💖💖*:・゚✧

    A Match Made In Mehendi is a fun, delightful YA Contemporary that follows Simi who comes from a long line of matchmakers, but she'd rather focus on her skills as an artist than the family business. So, when she & her friend come up with a plan to develop a match-making app to increase their popularity at school, things get a bit complicated. Bajpai's debut has a dynamic cast of characters, great writing, and wonderful messages woven throughout about following your dreams!

    From page 1 I loved following Simi's journey through sophomore year of high school and how her family legacy of matchmaking influenced her!

    The story beautifully explores family, friendship, love, and expectations in such a layered way, while also developing this underlying theme of pursuing your dreams regardless of the expectations set upon you--and I really loved that!

    The app Matched! was so much fun to read about and not only was it a unique concept (from its creation involving algorithms, Simi's art, and following its creation) but it brilliantly drives and develops many themes and elements of the book!

    When Simi, her older brother Navdeep, and Noah use this app as a fun experiment for their high school, it soon causes drama when one of the matches upsets one of the popular girls in Simi's class!

    I loved how Simi used her family legacy of matchmaking and turned into something completely her own, with that said it also allows for such a big element of family to shine throughout the novel! With this legacy following the women of her family, we see how her mother (who runs a matchmaking service for Desi families w/ her sister (Simi's aunt), expects so much from her in regards to the business she finds it difficult to explain how art is such a big part of her identity! It was great to see that element explored so much into the story (though I wish there could have been a bit more page time to develop their mother/daughter dynamic).

    It was also so much fun to read excerpts of The Shagun Matchmaking Guide with each chapter! Not only is it an important family heirloom, but I also appreciated how it wove its way into the story more near the end!

    Next I want to talk about the characters, who are all fantastic (even the ones your not supposed to like): Navdeep, Noah, Suraj, Tea & Ethan, Aiden, Amanda, her cousins Preet & Geet, and her other friends at school. Through Simi's narrative they all really come to life and there was just a great cast of characters who are all given depth and developed from beginning to end regardless of how little page time they have! (though I will say that Simi's grandmother was a great character to introduce near the last few quarters of the book, but I wish her character was a bit more developed b/c she's a part of the matchmaker legacy & it would have been great to have a little more from her character).

    Overall here's a list of all the great things to look forward to in A Match Made In Mehendi:

    ↠ Wonderful and fun narrative voice! + Simi herself!! She's a wonderful protagonist and I'm glad the story was told from her POV because she's a funny, awkward, and relatable character!

    ↠ Exploration of expectations, following your dreams, family, friendship, love, and much more!

    ↠ Fantastic writing and cast of characters!

    ↠ Pacing: the unique story alongside following Simi's fantastic POV has you turning the page!!

    As for the diversity in this novel it features an Indian and Indian-American cast & gay rep (Noah)!

    This book is just so much fun and there's no other way to explain! Through the writing Simi's voice just gets you to keep reading and following the great cast of characters, mystery to where the story is headed, and so much more, A Match Made In Mehendi is a fantastic YA Contemporary that I highly recommend!

  • Sabreena - Books and Prosecco

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐

    the amazing humans at Hachette Book Group Canada were kind enough to send me an arc of

    in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions below are my own.

    is a fun, feel-good story about brown kids just being brown kids! Yes, there is some racism, but for the most part, these teenagers are just going through high school, and the fact that th

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    the amazing humans at Hachette Book Group Canada were kind enough to send me an arc of

    in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions below are my own.

    is a fun, feel-good story about brown kids just being brown kids! Yes, there is some racism, but for the most part, these teenagers are just going through high school, and the fact that they are brown, is not the main point of the story. It is refreshing!

    Simi is an artist. She loves mehendi and is very good at it too. Her mother, her aunt, and her grandma are all matchmakers though, and want her to join the family business.

    At school, Simi and her best friend Noah (who is gay) are determined to make an impression on their fellow students this year – well, Noah more than Simi. But she wants him to be happy, so she agrees to work on… a matchmaking app with him!

    Their app builds off an app that Simi’s brother created for their mom’s matchmaking business. The foundation is all in place – they just need people at school to sign up.

    What ensues are the great and terrible love stories of Mayfield High!

    I really liked Simi. She wants to get through high school without causing any problems, but she also wants to make her best friend happy. She’s relatable and understandable.

    One thing that felt “off” (I don’t even know if that is the right word) to me is how sketchy they seemed about developing the app. I would expect that teachers would be impressed if a student could create an app, assuming the app was not harming anyone.

    I can understand some wariness about it being a matchmaking app, but students in high school date.. so it shouldn’t be a problem? Anyway, that was just a small issue I had with it. The app itself sounded really cool though!

    It was awesome to see some gay and lesbian rep in the matches that developed. They also unintentionally broke up the cliques, so students from different social groups were matched because of their shared interests and values. It was pretty cool to see, and a good reminder that you should never judge someone just from their appearance!

    Outside of the high school, Simi accidentally/on purpose sets up her cousin, Preet, with someone, and that whole story is so relatable and adorable. Preet and Jolly are the cutest, and I definitely know couples with stories similar to theirs.

    ^ said every brown mom/auntie ever!

    It was also really nice to see brown families just being brown families in this book. I mentioned it above, but the fact that Simi’s family is Indian is not the point of the story. They just are. It was so cool to see a family very similar to mine in a book where they aren’t fighting everyone because of their culture.

    Also, I dabble in mehendi, so I definitely related to Simi! I’m nowhere near as good as she is, but I do love doing it!

    Simi’s relationship with her brother is also very relatable. My brother and I are very similar (though he is younger than me), so seeing the quick change from bickering siblings to “can you help me with this” was super entertaining. Not to mention the “I’ve always got your back against the parents” unwritten rule between siblings!

    The only thing I did not “like” (it’s a weird way to say it, but I’ll explain) was the kiss at the end. Two brown teenagers are at a big Indian family event, and while sitting in the corner, they kiss. It’s just weird to me. It is absolutely personal preference as well. I’m not saying they shouldn’t kiss and I’m not saying it is wrong. I simply grew up with that not being something you would see or do. Teenagers talked in secret (which is also not necessarily good), and weren’t even seen together until their parents were okay with them dating. So to have them kiss at a family function felt weird and unbelievable.

    That being said, perhaps a better way to say it is that I am simply not used to it, but maybe that is something that needs to change. I’m not a huge fan of excessive PDA in general (again, personal preference, to each their own), but I do think Indian families need to be able to talk more about relationships and dating.

    I don’t know that I will ever approve of making out with someone where my parents could see me… but a small showing of affection should be okay. That scene did throw me off though and felt very out of place…

    Other than that, I really loved this book. It tackles bullying, being yourself, life goals, traditional versus modern views, and so much more. It is also very clearly written with Indian teens in mind and my heart loves that so much!

    That being said, everyone will still be able to relate to the coming-of-age story and the first loves and heartbreaks, so if you like feel-good contemporaries, you should definitely check this book out!

    All quotes above were taken from an advance reader’s edition of the book, and are subject to change in the final release.

  • Fanna

    🔅american-indian MC

    🔅ya contemporary

    🔅stereotypes broken

    🔅desi references

    🔅cute friends-to-lovers

    🔅tech meets tradition

  • USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

    A Match  Made in Mehendi is a story about family, friendship, and standing up against bullies. At the same time, A Match in Mehendi is about balancing technology and tradition, fear and desire, dreams and expectations. Simi's family are professional matchmakers, as a way to facilitate matches and join communities. But Simi would rather be an artist, drawn to a world full of exploratio

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

    A Match  Made in Mehendi is a story about family, friendship, and standing up against bullies. At the same time, A Match in Mehendi is about balancing technology and tradition, fear and desire, dreams and expectations. Simi's family are professional matchmakers, as a way to facilitate matches and join communities. But Simi would rather be an artist, drawn to a world full of exploration and color, not the sparks between people. Is there a way to balance her seemingly natural talent for matchmaking, with her own dreams?

    full review:

  • Olivia & Lori (The Candid Cover)

    A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai is a fun read that also tackles issues of bullying. The main character, Simi, is one that is both quirky and relatable. It is a perfect book for your back-to-school TBR.

    ❀ UNIQUE THEME

    The concept of a matchmaking family is one that I have never come across. There are quite a few books that have a matchmaking theme, but this one kicks it up a notch. The women in the family seem to have a gift that Simi is determined to evade.

    A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai is a fun read that also tackles issues of bullying. The main character, Simi, is one that is both quirky and relatable. It is a perfect book for your back-to-school TBR.

    ❀ UNIQUE THEME

    The concept of a matchmaking family is one that I have never come across. There are quite a few books that have a matchmaking theme, but this one kicks it up a notch. The women in the family seem to have a gift that Simi is determined to evade. Although, with the help of her best friend and brother, they develop a really cool app that combines technology, art, and matchmaking.

    ❀ ENJOYABLE MAIN CHARACTER

    As the app gains popularity within Simi’s school, a well-known bully causes all sorts of issues for Simi and her friend. I really enjoyed reading about how Simi deals with the problem and relies on her family and friends for help. Her character shows quite a bit of growth and she is easy to root for.

    If you are looking for a contemporary novel that will pull at your heartstrings, A Match Made in Mehendi is one book to pick up this fall. The characters are enjoyable and the concept is fresh. I am looking forward to reading more of Bajpai’s works.

  • Aparna

    4.5/5 stars!

    My incredible friend

    lent me her ARC, and I'm so glad she did, because this one was such a lighthearted and fun read!! At times I felt like the plot moved too fast or I lost track of some characters, but overall it was such a delight to get into Simran's head and hear some of her fears between choosing art and straying from traditional values. I especially loved how her art was based in mehendi (I remember going to school with mehendi on my hands and being SO excited and then b

    4.5/5 stars!

    My incredible friend

    lent me her ARC, and I'm so glad she did, because this one was such a lighthearted and fun read!! At times I felt like the plot moved too fast or I lost track of some characters, but overall it was such a delight to get into Simran's head and hear some of her fears between choosing art and straying from traditional values. I especially loved how her art was based in mehendi (I remember going to school with mehendi on my hands and being SO excited and then being told by white kids that it was "just henna," so seeing her taking full ownership of the art form was really something to read).

    Some characters also really popped off the page, like Noah, Navdeep, Suraj, Teá, and Simi's mom in the principal's office. I always enjoyed the sections where Simi and Noah and Navdeep (or some combination) would be plotting out their next moves together. I thought that Noah's anxieties, even when talking with close friends, were written super well, and I could really identify with them

    . Amanda's character was given a little motivation/depth at the end, but it was mostly through someone else's explanation, and I wanted to really see it in action in the story. The Aiden arc really threw me for a loop, but I was really happy with who all ended up with who by the end.

    Overall, such a fresh and fun read that I would highly recommend picking up once it hits shelves in September!!

  • kav (xreadingsolacex)

    is Nandini Bajpai's U.S. debut, a YA contemporary about 15-year-old Simran "Simi" Sangha, a talented artist who comes from a long line of matchmakers. While Simi has no desire to follow in the family business, she starts off her story by accidentally setting her cousin up, and her best friend then talks her into carrying the matchmaking business into their high school where th

    is Nandini Bajpai's U.S. debut, a YA contemporary about 15-year-old Simran "Simi" Sangha, a talented artist who comes from a long line of matchmakers. While Simi has no desire to follow in the family business, she starts off her story by accidentally setting her cousin up, and her best friend then talks her into carrying the matchmaking business into their high school where these two wallflowers might just find some popularity.

    is such a pleasant, light-hearted novel that really celebrates Indian culture and writes an adorable story about a group of teens.

    I wouldn't call this novel extraordinary, but it does something I love: it gives a stereotypical happy story to marginalized characters, and also puts a twist on the story by including Simi's family business of matchmaking.

    Simi's character was a great main character. I loved the blend of innocence and strength with her character - she definitely has some of the naivety of a younger high-schooler, but she's also strong enough to stand up to bullying and to try to make a name for herself.

    I loved Simi's character arc as an artist, especially in how she wove mehendi into her art pieces, and I loved her character arc in finding her place in her family business. She was just such a

    main character, and I really did want the best for her.

    I also really enjoyed the love triangle in this novel. While Simi's own romance is a subplot of the story, the love triangle was so enjoyable and interesting to read, and I couldn't wait to find out who Simi ended up with. And that's coming from someone who rarely enjoys love triangles.

    Simi's best friend, Noah, is a significant part of her story. Noah also happens to be gay, and that plotline was handled very tastefully, it did not fall into any typical 'gay best friend tropes.' I only wish we had seen more of Noah and his love interest, but otherwise I loved his character.

    But the real driving point of this novel is the matchmaking business. I loved how Simi's heritage and culture was tied into Matched!, and I loved how this novel incorporated Indian culture into the story. I also just really loved the concept of Matched!, and for a novel that is very 'stereotypical' in many ways, the incorporation of this app added something really unique and interesting to the story.

    I loved all of the supporting cast, from Simi's friends to her family (particularly her brother Navdeep, I am a sucker for good sibling relationships), and I really loved the number of dogs that made cameos in this novel.

    The primary reason I docked a star, other than the fact that this novel isn't super profound or moving, is that this novel

    fall into one trope I hate - girl-on-girl hate. Now, while I think bullies definitely exist in high school, the majority of the redeeming/fleshed-out supporting characters are male characters while the primary 'villain' of the novel is a teenage girl, and had there been more redeeming girl characters I could have overlooked that, but that was my one major complaint with the novel.

    Also, on a personal level, I just found it really weird how Simi was so willing to give all the white students in her school mehendi 'tattoos' when those are really a part of Desi culture. That might just be me and that's not a reason to dislike the book so it didn't impact my rating, but to me, mehendi is too important to my culture to just share with white people.

    All in all,

    really is a feel good story that brings a smile to the reader's face, and it's such a pleasant read that provides a wonderful break when you've been reading heavy content for a long time.

  • Opal

    4.5 Full review soon!

  • Lola

    3.5 stars.

    I was in the worst book slump ever the past three weeks. I literally started fifteen books, read 10 or 20 pages from each book and proceeded to lose interest completely. I despaired and thought I might never finish another book in my entire life so I decided to take a break from the book world. Thank God because when I finally picked up my sixteenth book—this book—I flew through it.

    Of course it helped that this book ended up being a fun YA rom-com. Normally, I consider fifteen-year-ol

    3.5 stars.

    I was in the worst book slump ever the past three weeks. I literally started fifteen books, read 10 or 20 pages from each book and proceeded to lose interest completely. I despaired and thought I might never finish another book in my entire life so I decided to take a break from the book world. Thank God because when I finally picked up my sixteenth book—this book—I flew through it.

    Of course it helped that this book ended up being a fun YA rom-com. Normally, I consider fifteen-year-old heroines to be too young and have a very juvenile voice but Simi had many facets to her personality. She could be silly and serious, smart and clumsy, judgemental and sympathetic. Whenever she would annoy me, she would make up for it a chapter later by caring about her best friend Noah tremendously and helping two people who were meant for each other get closer.

    It’s not a diamond in a haystack. The plot is not the most original ever and there are stereotypical characters and situations. But it’s exciting and easy to root for the couples formed by Simi’s app to last. I don’t disapprove of dating apps as I’ve seen proof that they can work so I was curious to see Simi’s app Matched! grow and affect lives. I also really liked Simi’s interest in mehendi art and her family’s history of matchmaking. If you enjoyed When Dimple Met Rishi, I don’t see why this shouldn’t captivate you for an entire afternoon.

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  • Fizah(Books tales by me)

    A match made in Mehendi is that American-desi story. Simi, our MC, is a clumsy girl, her family is matchmakers for generations and they want her to, but she thinks their method is old and on the other hand, she loves art, every art especially Mehendi (hinnah). For proving to her mother that technology can helpful in her business, she and Noah(Her best friend) came up with a plan of making a matchmaker app for their school. Okie so now talks about the Cliches, annoying and predictable things.

    Like

    A match made in Mehendi is that American-desi story. Simi, our MC, is a clumsy girl, her family is matchmakers for generations and they want her to, but she thinks their method is old and on the other hand, she loves art, every art especially Mehendi (hinnah). For proving to her mother that technology can helpful in her business, she and Noah(Her best friend) came up with a plan of making a matchmaker app for their school. Okie so now talks about the Cliches, annoying and predictable things.

    Like every other YA Simi has only one friend, who is like most of the YA is gay, I just don't understand why it is a growing trend, he is always there for our MC, does her makeup, help in setting her up, give fashion advice and when he finds someone he is all secretive about him and they got into a huge fight. MC can have more than one friend, one of the best friend can be straight and can help her in certain ways.

    That excessive use of Punjabi/Hindi words and also with wrong and weird spellings, why they can't ask someone to double-check those words?

    Samosas, Mint Chutney, Aloo k Parathey, Chai and other traditional foods, It feels like we Asian don't do anything except cooking and eating. Why these American-Desi stories turn into elaborated commercials of food?

    All those details of clothes and their fabrics and fashion, Don't mind that the dresses she is wearing are not in fashion nowadays, her Grandmother is always back and forth from India to the USA, she should know about the latest trends.

    In short half of this book is elaborated walking commercial of food, dresses, Matchmaking and Mehendi. Everything was too much. I liked the family bonding and the brother-sister relationship. 

    Let's talk about the narrator her pronunciation of desi words was funny, sometimes I wasn't able to understand what she is saying. There was one character I was thinking that his name is Siraj but when I checked the book it was Suraj and many other weird pronunciations. 

    Overall, I enjoyed the book, it was cliche, predicted, made me roll my eyes too hard for so many times, but it was light read so no guilt.

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