10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon – REVIEW
Pinky Kumar wears the social justice warrior badge with pride. From raccoon hospitals to persecuted rock stars, no cause is too esoteric for her to champion. But a teeny-tiny part of her also really enjoys making her conservative, buttoned-up corporate lawyer parents cringe.
Samir Jha might have a few . . . quirks remaining from the time he had to take care of his sick mother, like the endless lists he makes in his planner and the way he schedules every minute of every day, but those are good things. They make life predictable and steady.
Pinky loves lazy summers at her parents’ Cape Cod lake house, but after listening to them harangue her about the poor decisions (aka boyfriends) she’s made, she hatches a plan. Get her sorta-friend-sorta-enemy, Samir—who is a total Harvard-bound Mama’s boy—to pose as her perfect boyfriend for the summer. As they bicker their way through lighthouses and butterfly habitats, sparks fly, and they both realize this will be a summer they’ll never forget.
I received a complimentary eARC of this book from Hodder & Stoughton.
Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
“Man, she was … flammable. It was like all her emotions were gasoline, and he just happened to have a match.”
As you might know, I’m a huge Sandhya Menon fan and I’m even part of her street team, helping to spread the word about how great her books are. 10 Things I Hate about Pinky is the third book in the Dimpleverse series but can also be read as a standalone as it features a new couple – Pinky and Samir – who we met in the previous book. Pinky is a social-justice warrior rebelling against her conservative parents whilst Samir is an organised and tight-laced student with an overprotective mother. To win her mum’s approval, Pinky suggests that she and Samir fake date and so Samir spends his summer at Pinky’s lake house. That’s right – the romance gods have given us the fake dating trope as well as enemies-to-lovers.
“People change all the time. Maybe not in big, profound ways, but in little, incremental ways that end up changing essential parts of them anyway.”
Pinky is probably the least relatable of Sandhya’s female main characters for me (Sweetie remains my favourite) but it was much easier to identify with Samir’s need to control everything in order to impose order on his life. I appreciated the author addressing this mental health issue and also highlighting the stigma often experienced in the Indian-American community. Additionally, Pinky and Samir have difficult relationships with their respective parents and I was impressed by how Sandhya explored these problems in a nuanced manner, allowing the reader to emphasise with both children and parents. Whilst Pinky and Samir are two very different people, they share the same core values, and often challenge each other to become better, blossoming over their summer together.
“Pinky Kumar was, to her core, a wild and fierce spirit, a puff of dandelion seed on the wind.”
Side characters are always memorable in Sandhya’s books and Dolly was no exception, with her good-girl-wanting-to-rebel character arc. I also have to mention Drama Queen, the most hilarious possum ever, with a penchant for dying at inopportune moments and providing a lot of comedy. For me, this book showed how Sandhya has grown as a writer. The writing style had a maturity and confidence to it and I think this is, objectively, her best work yet. I can’t wait to read whatever she writes next as I’m sure she’ll somehow surpass herself yet again. 10 Things I Hate about Pinky is the perfect book for summer, featuring two of my favourite tropes, a host of unforgettable characters, and a dramatic possum.