From Twinkle, with Love
By Sandhya Menon
Published May 22, 2018 by Simon Pulse
From Twinkle, with Love is a fun, diverse contemporary read. Twinkle Mehra is 16 and wants to be a filmmaker. While she’s not exactly unpopular, she’s not exactly popular either, and her status as what she calls a “groundling” (a name for the people in the cheap seats in Shakespeare’s time) is reinforced by the fact that her long-time best friend Maddie has basically deserted her to join a more popular group. They still talk, but Maddie is leaving Twinkle behind and it hurts. When Twinkle gets the opportunity to direct a film for a school project, encouraged by a fellow student, Sahil, she jumps at the chance, seeing an opportunity to pursue her movie dreams and a chance to spend more time with Sahil’s twin brother Neil, her crush. Twinkle is convinced that if she is dating Neil, it will give her an in with Maddie’s new crowd. When Twinkle starts receiving emails from a secret admirer named N, she’s sure that it’s Neil. There’s just one big problem: she’s falling for Sahil.
This book was really fluffy and fun, but it also managed to work in some interesting issues. Twinkle goes to a charter school where she’s one of the poorest people. Her family isn’t technically poor (they have a house and enough to eat), but there’s no money for extras (like a cell phone), which sets Twinkle apart from most of the students at Twinkle’s school and especially from Maddie’s new crowd. The book also shows that not all immigrant experiences are the same. Although Sahil is half-Indian, his life is pretty different than Twinkle’s. Her parents came from very impoverished backgrounds in India, while Sahil’s parents are well-off college professors.
Twinkle’s relationship with her parents is difficult. Her dad works with at-risk kids and spends more time with them than he does with his daughter, and her mother misses India deeply and seems to be suffering from depression. Luckily, Twinkle has her awesome grandmother, Dadi, who always supports her. Twinkle also learns about how her mother grew up in India, and realizes how much her parents have sacrificed to give her a better life.
I liked the book’s format. It’s written in the form of diary entries that are letters to Twinkle’s favorite female directors. Twinkle can be a little frustrating at times, and she makes some not so great choices, but her hanging on to the idea of Neil makes sense in the context of her desperation to hold on to her former best friend. And her mistakes lead to some excellent character growth, as she learns to stand up for herself and what’s really important to her.
I received this ARC as part of Miss Print’s ARC Adoption Program.