cover image Say You’ll Be Mine

Say You’ll Be Mine

Naina Kumar. Dell, $17 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-72388-3

Kumar debuts with a swoonworthy contemporary that marries a grumpy-sunshine romance with a deep exploration of familial relationships. Bubbly middle school English teacher Meghna Raman has been harboring feelings for one of her best friends, Seth, since college—but when he asks her to be his best man at his upcoming wedding, she’s forced to accept that he’ll never feel the same about her. Determined not to attend the event alone, she finally gives in to pressure from her parents to consider an arranged marriage. Stoic engineer Karthik Murthy, who craves approval from his distant father but also fears becoming just like him, thinks he can avoid a repeat of his parents’ dysfunctional relationship by never getting married. Unfortunately, this philosophy does not stop his mother from searching for a suitable match for him. When Karthik and Meghna are set up by their parents, they see an engagement of convenience as the answer to both of their problems: Meghna gets a wedding date and Karthik gets relief from parental pressure. Now they just have to make sure they don’t accidentally fall in love. It’s a diverting convergence of romance tropes given weight by some deep emotions. This should earn Kumar plenty of fans. Agent: Johanna Castillo, Writers House. (Jan.)