The delightful follow-up to When Dimple Met Rishi and There’s Something about Sweetie, which follows Ashish’s friends Pinky and Samir as they pretend to date in order to achieve their individual goals, to disastrous and hilarious results. Pinky Kumar wears the social justice warrior badge with pride. From raccoon hospitals to persecuted rock stars, no cause is too esoteric for her to champion. But a teeny tiny part of her also really enjoys making her conservative, buttoned-up corporate lawyer parents cringe. Samir Jha might have a few…quirks remaining from the time he had to take care of his sick mother, like the endless lists he makes in his planner and the way he schedules every minute of every day, but those are good things. They make life predictable and steady. Pinky loves lazy summers at her parents’ Cape Cod lake house, but after listening to them harangue her about the poor decisions she’s made (a.k.a. boyfriends she’s had), she hatches a plan. Get her sorta-friend-sorta-enemy—who is a total Harvard-bound Mama’s boy—to pose as her perfect boyfriend for the summer. When Samir’s internship falls through, leaving him with an unplanned summer, he gets a text from Pinky asking if he’ll be her fake boyfriend in exchange for a new internship. He jumps at the opportunity; Pinky’s a weirdo, but he can survive a summer with her if there’s light at the end of the tunnel. As they bicker their way through lighthouses and butterfly habitats, sparks fly, and they both realize this will be a summer they'll never forget.
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Then, Pinky hears about Samir and how his summer internship with a DC law firm fell through. Samir has everything in his life planned and is exactly the kind of guy her lawyer parents would love. She asks him to come spend the summer with her as her fake boyfriend and says she can help him get an internship with her mother, the Shark, during the school year. It seems like a win-win situation.
Even after the truth about the barn comes out that it was definitely not Pinky, Pinky is still eager for her parents' approval, something that Samir brings her. As she and Samir spend time together, they find that they are opposites in pretty much everything- and that can definitely attract. Together, they launch into Pinky's summer project- protesting the razing of the Butterfly Habitat she loves in favor of a condo complex.
What I loved: I really enjoy that the girl here has the "bad boy" vibe, even though Pinky's rebellions are activist projects and adopting an opossum. The romance heats up the pages, and its easy to cheer for Pinky and Samir, even as they seem to be fighting about everything early on. Their respect for the other's opinions- even when they don't agree- and their insight into each other's personalities really makes this a great romance read.
I also really loved the view on activism, the legwork of it, and its importance to a community and making voices heard. Pinky is a passionate character, and I loved seeing that passion and determination build towards something great (even if her parents were not on-board). I also appreciated the growth of Pinky, Samir, and Pinky's relationship with her mother throughout the book. The characters here are really great.
What left me wanting more: I would have liked some more focus on Samir and his relationship with his mother (especially what happened when she found out he was lying)- we don't really get closure on that, except a couple comments at the end.
Final verdict: Great for romantic comedy fans, 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY is a cute summery read with a couple that is easy to cheer for! With extra themes of activism and dealing with parental expectations, this is a great YA contemporary read.