ARYA KHANNA’S BOLLYWOOD MOMENT by Arushi Avachat
When Arya Khanna’s older sister suddenly returns home to get married, Arya must balance family, friendships, classes, and all of the other pressures that come with being in high school! Arya is navigating her senior year while also trying to enjoy the fact that her sister Alina is home. Her whole family is finally together again, which means a lot of fun but also a lot of tension. Arya takes it upon herself to be the peacemaker in every situation, whether that’s with arguments between her family members or tension amongst her friends who recently dated and broke up with each other. She cares for everyone else in her life all while dealing with her own stresses at school and at her part-time bookstore job. As she tries to squeeze in some fun during her senior year of high school, she’s also met with potential romance where she least expects it–Dean Merriweather, her annoyingly handsome student council rival.
Readers will love the dynamic roster of characters: Arya is resourceful and determined, Dean is completely swoon-worthy, and her family and friends are hilarious and endearing. The dynamic between Arya, her sister, and her mom is especially nuanced, and they work through years of built-up resentment as they try to enjoy the happy occasion of a wedding. The descriptions of clothing, food, and other wedding aspects will also draw you in! Avachat doesn’t shy away from more serious topics though, and her inclusion of mental health, family issues, failed relationships, and more all really round out the plot. All the fun, stress, growth, and memory-making of high school is captured in these pages.
ARYA KHANNA’S BOLLYWOOD MOMENT has something for everyone–romance, nostalgia, humor, wit, and evocative cultural references. I love how this novel is structured like a Bollywood movie, complete with five acts and an intermission! I also really appreciate the messy portrayal of family and the way Arya evolved in her relationships with her loved ones. Teens and adults alike can learn a thing or two from the way Arya grows to care for the people around her while also protecting her own life and sanity. Finally, I especially loved that Arya works part-time as a bookshop assistant, because who doesn’t love a little bookish flare? I would recommend this for fans of Netflix’s Never Have I Ever and Indian Matchmaking, as well as RUBI RAMOS’S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS by Jessica Parra and THE PRINCE & THE APOCALYPSE by Kara McDowell.