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.
Audiobook, 384 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by Simon Schuster Audio
Three and a half stars: A coming of age story with a touch of romance, that I enjoyed, but I wasn’t a fan of the mean girl trope.
Twinkle Mehra is a junior in high school, and it is her dream to one day be a famous female director like the women she idolizes. Twinkle decides to write to her idols in her journal, not expecting so much to happen to her in a few short weeks. Twinkle learns a great deal about life, love, friendship and family as she endures some ups and downs at the end of the school year. Will she gain back her best friend? Will she become popular? Will she find love?
What I Liked:
- I was more than eager to check out Ms. Menon’s sophomore novel after loving When Dimple Met Rishi last year. This one wasn’t quite as good, but it enjoyed watching Twinkle grow and evolve, and I adored the romance.
- Twinkle goes through some big changes in the story. At first meeting, she is totally adorable and shy. She is a complete nerd, who thinks she needs to find a way to become popular. She is quirky, intelligent and driven. She knows she wants to be a director and share stories that will speak to others. Along the way, Twinkles makes some new friends, falls in love and then makes some terrible mistakes. There was a point when I struggled with how her character was evolving. She went from being shy to speaking her mind at the expense of others. Thankfully, she learns from her mistakes, and by the end, I was pleased with the growth of her character. I liked that she was flawed and realistic.
- The romance is so darn cute. The love interest, Sahil, has been crushing on Twinkle for years, but she doesn’t know it because she only has eyes for his popular twin brother. I so loved Sahil’s character. He is sweet, kind, considerate and always there to bail Twinkle out, even though she doesn't’ see it at first. I also appreciated that he struggled with being second fiddle to his twin brother. He was the perfect romantic interest.
- I was frustrated by the whole mean girl vibe that was going on for the majority of the book, but then I was pleasantly surprised when one of the girls does an about face and becomes a friend. I loved that!
- I liked that this was a story about growth, friends, family and finding your path. Yes, there is a romance, but it is more of a backstory. I appreciated that the main focus of the story was on Twinkle’s growth.
- Twinkle’s family situation isn’t the best, but then things change. I appreciated that the relationships she had with her parents were complicated. Thank goodness for her endearing and quirky grandma!
- The ending is great. No unanswered questions, everything ends in a good spot.
And The Not So Much:
- I struggled with the complicated friendship between Twinkle and Maddie. There isn’t much detail given as to why Maddie decided to become friends with Hannah leaving Twinkle behind. Whose fault was it? At first I thought it was Maddie’s but then Twinkle did some things, and then I thought the friendship fell apart because of Twinkle. I wish this part of the story was better explained.
- The whole secret admirer thing was weird. At first, I thought I knew who was behind the emails, but I was wrong. Then when it was revealed it was awkward and strange. I am not sure what the point of the secret admirer was except maybe to add mystery?
- Even though I liked Twinkle, there were times when she was downright irritating especially toward the end. She says and does some nasty things. I also got tired of her pining after a boy she never even talked to when the perfect one was in front of her all along. I wanted to reach in the book and slap some sense into her.
- I hated the whole mean girl vibe. Hannah is downright nasty. However, I will say, I was pleasantly surprised by the way the mean girl thing settled out.
- The book is told in an epistolary format. Mostly Twinkle’s journal entries. I wasn’t a fan of how the journal entries were addressed to female directors because unless you know a thing or two about movies, you will be clueless as to who she is writing to, plus it was weird. Yes, I get the author was illustrating a point that there aren’t many female directors, but I didn’t like it. I also didn’t like the way the emails and text messages interrupted the flow of the story on audiobook.
- I listened to the audiobook version, and my hang up with the audiobook was that there are text messages and emails and having to listen to the narrator read the email addresses every time got old.
- I appreciated that the author touched upon Sahil’s struggle over living in the shadow of his twin brother. I just wish that this part of the story had been explored. Why didn’t Sahil ever talk to his parents of his brother about his issues?
From Twinkle with Love was a book I wanted to love, but I had quite a few issues with it. I enjoyed the story, the romance and the characters, but I hated the mean girl trope, and I struggled with some of the decisions that Twinkle made. Thankfully, things turn around toward the end, and everything ends on a positive note. This is definitely one to check out if you want diversity in the YA genre.
I borrowed a copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.
Don't miss When Dimple Met Rishi by this author!