Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soulmate, buttheir love was written in the stars in My So-Called Bollywood Life. Literally, a pandit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her 18th birthday, and Raj meets all of the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked to return from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. Worse, Raj is crowned chair of the student film festival, a spot Winnie was counting on for her film school applications. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted.Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek, and one of the few people Winnie can count on to help her reclaim control of her story. Dev is smart charming, and challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope to find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy, and her chance to live happily ever after? To get her Bollywood-like life on track, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star.Like an expertly choreographed Bollywood dance scene, Nisha Sharma’s off-beat love story dazzles in the lime light. (via Goodreads)
I received an eARC of My So-Called Bollywood Life from Netgalley, courtesy of Crown Books For Young Readers in exchange for an honest review.
My So-Called Bollywood Life is a delightful romantic comedy that would rival any Bollywood movie I’ve seen. Granted, I am whiter than some white bread, so it’s not necessarily a large number. It’s got pining, heartbreak, dramatic breakups, a star reading and of course, an awesome dance number.
I really enjoyed this debut novel by Nisha Sharma. I recently read and reviewed Sandhya Menon’s From Twinkle, With Love, which has another stubborn Indian-American female filmmaker at its center. Twinkle and Winnie would either get along greatly or hate each other. For us readers, if you enjoyed For Twinkle With Love, you’ll enjoy My So-Called Bollywood Life, and vice versa.
This book didn’t really surprise me, but it did delight me. That’s what counts for me. I adored Bridget and her love of Indian culture without being appropriative. The dreams with Shah Rukh Khan were so much fun, and a great view into Winnie’s subconscious. Her family was a huge part of this story, which is always great to see.
My So-Called Bollywood Life did feature a love triangle, but it was incredibly realistic. Winnie never wanted to be with both guys at the same time. She knew exactly what she wanted once she figured it out. The resolution between Raj and Winnie was exactly what this story needed. It was honest, hard-won and just lovely.
I didn’t love the story’s stereotypical treatment of Jenny as The Other Woman. It’s something I’m willing to look past, though. There should be a content warning for use of ableist language towards her, and some slut-shaming by her.
Overall, I really enjoyed My So-Called Bollywood Life. Whatever Sharma writes next, I’m definitely going to pick up. I laughed, I felt for the characters, but most of all, I didn’t want to put the book down. Pick up a copy for yourself on Amazon or Indiebound! I doubt you’ll regret it.