A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai (320 pages)
“A Match Made in Mehendi” Is A Fun Story About Matchmaking
On the first day of school, Simi vows her sophomore year will be different. She and her best friend, Noah, aren’t going to fade into the background like last year. When Noah comes up with an idea that will help them stand out, Simi’s hesitant because it involves her family history. She comes from a long line of Indian vichole—matchmakers—and her mom’s convinced she inherited the gift. Simi doesn’t want to encourage her, so she pursues Noah’s idea in secret, partnering with her tech-savvy brother, Navdeep. They launch Matched!, a matchmaking app with an in-depth questionnaire and privacy protections in their high school. But when one of their matches flips the high school hierarchy upside down, Simi and Noah are thrust to center stage, though they’re not always cast in the best light.
An Easygoing Tale Threaded With Strong Themes
After reading so many stories about teens on the cusp of college, it was nice to dive into a tale about a younger teenager. Simi is 15 years old and a sophomore whose older brother is thinking about college, but she’s just trying to find her place in high school. Simi is smart and artsy, and I love that she stands up to her freshman year (and sophomore year) bully, Amanda, on the first day of school. Even though the story is about matchmaking, it’s more about the craft itself—and how it runs in Simi’s family—than it is about finding a match for Simi (especially since she’s only 15). While love and romance swing through the story, they’re secondary to family and friendship. The story also touches on feminism, prejudice, and bullying, taking on these topics with authenticity and confidence.
The Bottom Line: 4/5 Brookie Stars
I flew through A Match Made in Mehendi, appreciating Simi’s unapologetic nature and her willingness to stand up for her family and friends. This is a tale of community, and it balances its easygoing nature with serious themes that are written with a deft hand. Pick this one up if you love art, want to dive into a modern high school tale, or desire a little sunshine.
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Jamie Mitchell is a writer, library assistant, former bookseller, and all-around lover of the written word. She’s currently working on her fifth novel, and if you’re wondering where the other four are, they’re safe on her laptop and in need of rewriting. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband, and enjoys traveling, bookstagramming and experimenting with gluten-free flours.
Favourite book: Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Favourite brunch spot: 1823 Bakehouse