cover image A Match Made in Mehendi

A Match Made in Mehendi

Nandini Bajpai. Little, Brown, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-52258-8

In New Jersey, Indian-American Simi and her best friend, Noah, who is white and gay, have decided that sophomore year is going to be their time to stand out. When Simi’s habitual klutziness causes her glamorous cousin to meet a sweet, ambitious future attorney, Simi’s mother and aunt—both third-generation Indian vicholis, or matchmakers—are convinced that she has the matchmaking gift. A passionate artist, Simi wants nothing to with pairing people up, but Noah convinces her that matching the students at school is the best way to leave their mark. With help from Simi’s tech-inclined older brother, the friends develop an app, Matched!, which turns their love lives—and Mayfield High’s social order—upside down. In her U.S. debut, Bajpai tells a rousing story that is as enjoyable as it is heartfelt. The central romance abounds with chemistry, and each center-stage friendship is loving and supportive without sacrificing authenticity or conflict. The inclusion of prejudices faced by marginalized people (both Indian and LGBTQ) balanced with loving support from their communities creates additional layers of complexity. And Bajpai creates a memorable character in Simi, who shines at the center of the matchmaking web as she narrates this winning romance. Ages 12–up. [em](Sept.) [/em]