Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soulmate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pandit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her 18th birthday, and Raj meets all of the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked to return from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. Worse, Raj is crowned chair of the student film festival, a spot Winnie was counting on for her film school applications. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted.Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek, and one of the few people Winnie can count on to help her reclaim control of her story. Dev is smart charming, and challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope to find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy, and her chance to live happily ever after? To get her Bollywood-like life on track, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star. Like an expertly choreographed Bollywood dance scene, Nisha Sharma’s off-beat love story dazzles in the lime light.
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by Crown BFYR
Four stars: A coming of age story with romance, culture and finding your own path.
Winnie Mehta is crushed when she returns from her summer at film camp to find her long time boyfriend, Raj, dating another girl. Granted, they were on a break, but she didn’t expect him to replace her so quickly. This is not what she needs at the beginning of her senior year. Winnie has a film festival to plan so she can get into college. As Winnie tries to deal with her ex, she makes mistakes, finds new allies and accidentally falls in love with someone whose name doesn't’ begin with the letter R like her star chart says. Can Winnie break away from her property and find her own path?
What I Liked:
- My So Called Bollywood Life is another YA contemporary that breaths fresh air into the genre. I loved that this featured a girl from Indian descent. This is packed full of Indian culture, and I ate it up. If you want culture and unique characters, try this one.
- Winnie is a great main character. At seventeen, she is headed into her senior year and feeling the pressure. She is driven to succeed as she wants to fulfill her dream of becoming a film critic. She faces plenty of obstacles, and she makes some mistakes, some of them rather stupid, such as stealing all the movies she gave to her ex boyfriend, but she grows and learns from each one. I liked getting to know her and watching her grow, and I especially enjoyed exploring her culture.
- One of the messages of the book was finding your own path. Winnie had spent the last few years in a rut because she was following what she believed was her destiny thanks to a prediction in her star chart. She finally opens her eyes and sees things differently, and she finds the courage to find her own path regardless of prophecies and star charts.
- Yeah for wonderful family dynamics. Winnie’s family plays an important part in the story. Both her mother and father, and even her grandmother are involved in her life. It was fun seeing how her parents handled some of the situations Winnie landed in. Sometimes they meddled, but that made it even more fun. I adored Winnie’s family.
- I also loved the focus on friendship. Winnie’s bestie, Bridget, is always there for her and even helps her bury the evidence. I enjoyed the relationship between Bridget and Winnie as well as some of the other friendships that were formed in the book.
- Let’s talk about the romance.... this is a good one. It is one that takes it’s time to develop. It starts out as a friendship, but one of the parties has long been crushing on the other. Then it slowly evolves and changes into something more. There are obstacles and stumbles, but in the end, it was just right. I appreciated that there wasn’t drama and unnecessary conflict.
- For all of you who want more cultural diversity in the YA genre, this is one to grab. It is packed full of things from the Indian culture, from star charts, to food, fashion, movies and more. It was exciting to learn so much about the Indian culture.
- The ending was solid. All the main story lines were done up, things settled out and it ended in a good spot.
And The Not So Much:
- Unfortunately, there was a lot of predictability in the book. I wasn’t surprised by any of the developments, it was easy to see it all coming.
- I was not a fan of the whole mean girl dynamic, and especially what the mean girl did to get back at Winnie and Dev. It was too much. I hate mean girls.
- I listened to the audiobook version, and I wasn’t impressed with the narrator’s voices. Her male voices were not good at all. I would have likely enjoyed this more if I had read it versus listening to it.
My So Called Bollywood Life is a book you need to read if you are looking for cultural diversity. I loved exploring the Indian cultural from the food, fashion, star charts and movies. This book has a lot to love from a sweet romance, excellent family dynamics and terrific friendships. If you are on the hunt for something different in the YA genre, this is one to try.
I borrowed a copy fo this book from the library. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.