I read From Twinkle with Love for the 2018 Asian Lit Bingo – this fulfilled the ‘contemporary with an Asian MC’ square. I also received it from Netgalley. All views are my own.
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?
First of all, I want to get it out there – this was the CUTEST DAMN THING I have ever read in my life. I loved Twinkle, I loved Sahil, and I absolutely looooooved the whole filmmaking aspect. Everyone in this book is such a geek about films and TV – there are a whole host of Supernatural and Bollywood references from Twinkle that I adored.
This is an epistolary novel, meaning that it is told through a series of journal entries from Twinkle, as well as a couple of group chats between Sahil and his friends, and Sahil’s private blog. I really loved getting multiple character’s perspectives in this way, particularly Sahil, as he is the original cinnamon roll. I thought the group chats between Sahil and his friends were particularly well written – plant puns and all! I finally also loved that each of Twinkle’s journal entries were dedicated to different female filmmakers. This is just SO HER.
There is real character development for most of, if not all of the main characters in From Twinkle With Love. Twinkle in particular grows from this shy, wallflower character into a powerful woman who can speak her mind. Saying that, she is not a perfect character, and she makes mistakes throughout the book that I thought were very real for a teenager. Throughout, despite all of her mistakes, I was still unquestionably rooting for Twinkle and her film.
Finally, the diversity in this was on point. Twinkle and Sahil are both Indian-American, Twinkle’s best friend is Japanese-American. There is also a black gay character and a bi character. While I can’t speak for most of the representation in this book, I’ve read quite a few reviews from WOC saying that they enjoyed it. Menon is also unafraid to talk about family problems, in particular financial problems of immigrants.
All in all, I would HIGHLY recommend this book. I think I loved it even more than I loved When Dimple Met Rishi, which is saying a lot!