From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse (May 22, 2018)
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?
I’d like to thank Pansing Singapore for sending me a review copy of From Twinkle, with Love.
Ever since I read—and loved—Sandhya Menon’s sparkling debut novel, When Dimple Met Rishi, I was eagerly awaiting her next book when she announced that she was working on another novel. That was last year, could you imagine the wait? Lord, I was pining for From Twinkle, with Love the moment I saw the cover and blurb reveal last year.
“When I was little, I thought the word meant ‘golden fireworks’. I don’t know why or how I connected the two. But when I see you… every time, Twinkle, I feel those golden fireworks inside me. And the only reason I can think of is that you have some kind of chamatkaar. You must be a special kind of miracle.”
So here I am, sitting in Coffee Bean with my ice blended chocolate mousse, reminiscing about Dimple and Rishi as well as Sandhya’s latest heroine, Twinkle who stole my heart the moment I started reading From Twinkle, with Love a few weeks back! Alas, my review of From Twinkle, with Love!
After loving When Dimple Met Rishi, I was practically keeping myself alive just so I could get my hands on Sandhya Menon’s next book because I needed it. I needed to read it after the marvelousness that was Dimple and Rishi’s love story. Psst. Check out my review of When Dimple Met Rishi here.
In Sandhya Menon’s sophomore novel (is that even a proper term?) we find ourselves immersed in a very personal story narrated by the driven and ambitious Twinkle, who is fueled by her firm belief in movies and the success of female filmmakers that came before her. An aspiring filmmaker herself, From Twinkle, with Love is an account of her personal diary entries where she navigates high school and hopes to find romance with her crush, Neil Roy. However, she gets the attention of another Roy: Sahil, who is the geeky film fanatic twin brother of Neil!
Written in epistolary form, I really enjoyed reading Twinkle’s recaps of her day and what I liked most was each entry was written to her idols aka the female filmmakers she looks up to. Granted, it took me a while to get used to the format but after the first chapter, I was whizzing past chapters and getting lost in Twinkle’s life and her budding romance with Sahil. But let’s not forget her secret admirer “N” whose existence causes more drama and excitement in her life. Can Bollywood pick up Sandhya’s adorable yet incredibly diverse novels already?
“I could be one of those protagonists. They’d call me Twinkle the Glass Ceiling Smasher, and the world would be engulfed in a veritable tsunami of movies and plays and stories by women.”
I found the underlying message of From Twinkle, with Love to be really refreshing and positive. I liked that Twinkle was determined to be a great female filmmaker in an industry which is predominantly patriarchal. I liked her belief in herself to film something that would be inspiring to herself and her peers. Aside from that, I was quite pleased with the shifting dynamics between Twinkle and her peers. I liked that there were some differences between her and her best friend, Maddie who abandoned Twinkle to be a part of the popular crew in high school.
There’s definitely a lot to discuss when it comes to From Twinkle, with Love. Let’s break it down, guys.
The characters. Oh, I loved how inclusive and diverse the characters in the book were. I enjoyed reading about Twinkle’s family who were immigrants. I was really touched by her parents’ struggles as immigrants in the States and how they poured all their efforts into ensuring that Twinkle had what they never had. I liked that Sahil’s friends, Skid and Aaron, were pretty much bros and they were totally fine with Aaron being openly gay. Lord, we need more books like this. As the book was written in the forms of diary entries, text messages and emails, we do get to see different conversations between the characters and it was so much fun reading them.
As for Twinkle, I was really impressed by how Sandhya Menon changed the dynamics of Twinkle as a wallflower and made her into a sparkling star as the filmmaker of her project and how she dealt with her sudden fame and giving her the character development and redemption arc she wholly deserved. And a heroine who admits her mistakes and wants to do better? So much love for Twinkle.
The romance. Oh, Lord. The romance in From Twinkle, with Love was totally swoonworthy. I loved the chemistry between Twinkle and Sahil. I was shipping them hard. SO, SO HARD. From their conversation to their emails, I was grinning like a cat who got the cream because Twinkhil were just too adorable.
Sandhya Menon is born to write contemporary YA love stories that not only make you smile but she never shied away from including important issues such as fitting in as a POC, having to work harder than others because of the colour of our skin and being different. Please, I implore you, do not miss From Twinkle, with Love because it’s incredibly sweet, affirming and inspiring as well as laugh-out-loud funny.
Psst. Not to brag or anything, but Sandhya acknowledged me in From Twinkle, with Love. Achievement unlocked.