Today I’m bringing to you two books that absolutely destroyed me and had me calling my mom to tell her I love her.
Those books are: The Dating Plan by Sara Desai and Serena Singh Flips the Script by Sonya Lalli.
Thank you Penguin Random House for sending this books my way!
Serena Singh Flips the Script
by Sonya Lalli
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Serena Singh is tired of everyone telling her what she should want–and she is ready to prove to her mother, her sister, and the aunties in her community that a woman does not need domestic bliss to have a happy life.
Things are going according to plan for Serena. She’s smart, confident, and just got a kick-ass new job at a top advertising firm in Washington, D.C. Even before her younger sister gets married in a big, traditional wedding, Serena knows her own dreams don’t include marriage or children. But with her mother constantly encouraging her to be more like her sister, Serena can’t understand why her parents refuse to recognize that she and her sister want completely different experiences out of life.
A new friendship with her co-worker, Ainsley, comes as a breath of fresh air, challenging Serena’s long-held beliefs about the importance of self-reliance. She’s been so focused on career success that she’s let all of her hobbies and close friendships fall by the wayside. As Serena reconnects with her family and friends–including her ex-boyfriend–she learns letting people in can make her happier than standing all on her own.
This book. THIS BOOK. I haven’t read a book that affected me this much in a long, long time.
I didn’t anticipate loving this book as much as I did. I was expecting a light romance read featuring an Indian lead. I thought it’d be easy and fun, not destroy me.
The characters in this book were lovable and so well written. They were all unique in their own ways and they were all a delight to read. I especially loved Ainsley and her badass, hilarious, and strong takes. She was an incredible side character and this book wouldn’t have been half as amazing if she wasn’t a part of it.
You can’t talk about the characters without talking about Serena Singh. If I’m honest, I didn’t really love Serena Singh throughout this book, but I quickly came to realize this was because I saw myself in her. She was so incredibly relatable, damaged, and real. It was a joy to read her story and see her faults and how she overcame them.
The plot itself had so many layers to it.
Some of the issues brought up include:
– Working in a business environment as a woman, especially a woman of color.
– Interracial relationships
– Domestic abuse
– Complicated familial relationships
– Living with your in-laws
– And so much more!
I absolutely loved Lalli’s writing. She created a story that was so realistic and brought to light so many things I didn’t realize/refused to notice in my own life.
If you are a person of color (especially an Indian individual) I HIGHLY recommend you pick up this book. If you are not a person of color, I HIGHLY recommend you read this book. EVERYONE read this book.
The Dating Plan by Sara Desai
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Daisy Patel is a software engineer who understands lists and logic better than bosses and boyfriends. With her life all planned out, and no interest in love, the one thing she can’t give her family is the marriage they expect. Left with few options, she asks her childhood crush to be her decoy fiance.
Liam Murphy is a venture capitalist with something to prove. When he learns that his inheritance is contingent on being married, he realizes his best friend’s little sister has the perfect solution to his problem. A marriage of convenience will get Daisy’s matchmaking relatives off her back and fulfill the terms of his late grandfather’s will. If only he hadn’t broken her tender teenage heart nine years ago…
Sparks fly when Daisy and Liam go on a series of dates to legitimize their fake relationship. Too late, they realize that very little is convenient about their arrangement. History and chemistry aren’t about to follow the rules of this engagement.
This book was definitely different from the previous one. It was fun, quirky, and light-er.
The nostalgia was quite strong for me when reading this book. It made me remember all the amazing times I had with my family and extended family.
When we were younger we would have a house full of family all the time. It was fun and created some of the best memories I have! Whether it be a birthday, anniversary, or just celebrating good news, our family got together, ate tons of food, and gossiped like no tomorrow.
In recent years we haven’t done that as much, the kids have gotten older and started working and it’s been hard to plan anything with everyone included, especially in the times of Covid.
The characters in this novel were all really fun and incredibly written. The aunties and uncles and cousins in this novel reminded me of my own and it definitely made me feel as though I was reading about people I knew. I also loved the importance that was put on the family relationships. That’s something that Indian families take very seriously so it was the perfect addition to this novel.
The romance in this novel was the perfect blend of steamy and cute. I loved the trope of individuals reconnecting after years apart, it was nice to see previous experiences influence the current relationship between these characters. I also loved the fact that you didn’t have to worry about these characters getting to know each other from scratch, they already knew each other and they were just building on an already formed relationship.
I also have to admit that I have been having hardcore baby fever recently so Liam’s nephew was such a delight to read about.
The comedy in this book. 100% amazing.
These two books brought out feelings, thoughts, and emotions in me that I didn’t anticipate.
I have heard countless people talk about how seeing their cultures/religions represented in media is important, but I didn’t realize how important until I read these two books, especially Serena Singh Flips the Script by Sonya Lalli.
I am a very “whitewashed” individual and I know that about myself. I have grown up in Canada and throughout my life I have pushed against my culture due to difficult relationships I had with my family growing up. I pushed against the religion and Bollywood and everything to do with the Indian culture.
Being older now I understand how wrong this was and I deeply regret it. Now that I live apart from my family and don’t get to eat Indian food everyday and watch Indian dramas and speak Punjabi, I MISS IT.
I think this is why I felt so emotional whilst reading Serena Singh. It was difficult to face these realizations and feelings, especially knowing a lot of it was due to my own stubborn nature. I’m not saying I’ll take all responsibility for my strained relationships, but I definitely agree to taking 50% of it.
I love my culture now and I love seeing it represented in books. I love being able to relate to the main character and seeing characters that remind me of people in my life. I didn’t realize how much I was missing out on until I got it.
Representation matters. It matters so much. I want my kids to see themselves in the books they read. I want them to be proud of their culture and their religion and I don’t want them to fight against it because they don’t see it represented in the media they consume on a day to day basis.