From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon follows aspiring filmmaker Twinkle Mehra as she creates a film for a local festival with film geek Sahil Roy. The film project grows more complicated when Twinkle finds herself crushing on Sahil despite her longtime crush on his twin brother who may be sending her flirty messages online.
After I finished When Dimple Met Rishi, I wanted to pick up this book immediately. While not my all-time favorite contemporary, When Dimple Met Rishi was a light contemporary read perfect for the summertime. While I didn’t go into When Dimple Met Rishi with high expectations due to reviews I had seen online, I definitely went into Twinkle’s story with higher expectations due to my experience reading Menon’s first book. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Twinkle’s story and found many problems in this book which other readers experienced while reading Dimple’s story.
I think the aspect of this book that I struggled with the most book would have to be the characters. Let me start of by saying I can’t fault sixteen year old characters acting like actual sixteen year old characters. I don’t mind the occasional face palm at a glaringly bad decision because it’s realistic. At the same time, I need to connect with the characters on some level which I found very difficult with Twinkle and Sahil.
I really appreciated how Twinkle wanted to change the world through her film making and stand up for her own voice, however, I think a lot of that message is lost through her actions. Towards the end of the book, Twinkle’s actions are very cruel and she bashes down anyone else’s ideas. While I understand some of the motivations for her actions and Twinkle does eventually somewhat apologize for her actions, this part of the book went on a little too long for comfort for me.
Additionally, I felt like Twinkle’s love interest, Sahil was basically Rishi 2.0 but not as well developed. Even though readers don’t see Sahil’s point of view through chapters in this story, you do get to see a little more of his personality through text messages. For me though, it wasn’t a lot of personality because his whole character just revolved around Twinkle and doing what she wanted. He has the hopeless romantic attitude of Rishi multiplied by one hundred. He had an attempt at a backstory of being overshadowed by his brother, but it wasn’t fleshed out enough for me to know him any better as a character.
Another problem I had with this book was the entire set-up. I thought with the letter format to famous female filmmakers, the film aspect would be more prominent in this book. I actually felt like film was more emphasized in the description of this book than the coding camp in Dimple Met Rishi, so it surprised me when it was featured even less than the coding camp in the actual story. Whenever filming was brought up, Twinkle would say “we just filmed,” but readers never actually get to see it. It disappointed me that I didn’t get to see all of Twinkle’s awesome film knowledge, her passion for film making, or even the movie at all. While this didn’t bother as much in Menon’s first story, since there was so many other elements I felt lacking, this did bother me a little more in Twinkle’s story.
Although I had several major problems with this story, I do think I would have enjoyed it more if I was Twinkle’s age. Looking back at books I enjoyed when I was sixteen, I think I would have enjoyed the drama and love interest a little bit more. However, reading at this point in my life, I just couldn’t connect to many aspects of the story. I give From Twinkle, with Love two out of five stars.