“When I’m with you, I feel I can breathe.”
Synopsis: 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.
Age Group & Genre(s): Coming of Age, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Point of View: First Person
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: 2018
Format: Hardcover (Owlcrate Exclusive Edition)
DNF @ 30% (around chapter 8)
Sometime in 2018, I received Menon’s From Twinkle, with Love in an OwlCrate box. After hearing so many wonderful things about When Dimple Met Rishi, I couldn’t wait to dive into this novel. As much as it pains me to say this, Menon’s young adult story ended up being my first DNF of the year. I was flip-flopping between whether I should just “speed through it” or “let it go” … when I noticed my reading basically stopped for all other books — so, I dropped it.
A wealth of diversity is present throughout the novel. Twinkle, the central character, is an Indian-American teen living in the United States. However, her Dadi is still very rooted in their culture which was a driving force for me. There’s a beautiful representation regarding the difference in generations and living circumstances; for instance, Dadi is much more attuned with Indian culture and traditions, whereas Twinkle still respects these elements but also presents an equal (or more) amount of Western influence. Most of the other reoccurring characters are multicultural in some form — a SUPER positive point to this novel.
Unlikable central character and unattached to most of the characters. As much as I felt for Twinkle’s circumstances with her best friend and her social standing, she REALLY bothered me at some points. As a young adult novel, I found her personality traits less desirable and a character that isn’t someone that others should strive to be. She’s rather self-centered and somewhat emotionally abusive. For instance,
the need to be with Neil due to social standing rather than liking him AND in the process messing with Sahil’s emotions REALLY drove me mad. Even when she recognizes her feelings and his, she still drags Sahil along.
Her “best friend” is also rather awful, as she basically refuses to defend Twinkle due to her new “high on the social chain friends”. It was just really unappealing. However … I LOVED Sahil and Dadi! They stole the story!
The narrative style was really odd and the form didn’t make sense to me whatsoever. The concept is promising, as Twinkle’s story is told through a series of diary entries to her favourite and aspiring female filmmakers. But the execution was rather off, since the writing style didn’t make any sense; it’s still written in a first person narrative and NOT as a series of letters — there’s NO way she can remember to write all the details that are presented in the story, for her letters LITERALLY contain a recount of her daily experiences. In addition, Twinkle is supposed to be around 16 to 17 years old, yet the narrative felt that of a preteen.
Though Twinkle advocates women empowerment, Menon’s story does a poor job of executing feminism. With the “girl on girl” hate happening in the story, this notion of women equality just faded immediately. And with Twinkle’s rather self-centered traits for social standing, it made women empowerment dwindle even more — which is NOT the point. Also,
the premise of Twinkle and Sahil creating a “women starring version” of Dracula to advocate for women is just … frustrating. Not only was he a predator, but I really dislike when people simply remake something to prove a point. Why not come up with an original piece?
The premise of the story was captivating but fell short and grew dull. With Twinkle’s character aggravating more and more, I thought that MAYBE the story would save me. But it didn’t. The concept of making a film seemed so full when it should’ve been exciting. The interactions with the characters also began to grow boring. This was the moment I decided to DNF Menon’s novel.
As much as I wanted to love this, Menon’s From Twinkle, with Love did NOT do it for me. The pacing’s off, Twinkle’s moral compass is just all over the place, and the writing style STILL confuses me. Though I’m thrilled that the number of young adult books with ethnic diversity is growing, this was a dud. Perhaps it’s the age demographic or some other element, but this is ONE book that I won’t be picking up at a later date. Have you read From Twinkle, with Love? How was your reading experience?