Blog Tour: Sister of the Bollywood Bride by Nandini Bajpai

Thank you so much to Lonely Pages Book Tours, as well as the author and publisher for giving me a copy of ‘Sister of the Bollywood Bride’ in exchange for an unbiased, and honest review!! This is my stop for the tour, and you can click the banner below to view the full schedule, and explore other posts!!

Title: Sister of the Bollywood Bride
Author: Nandini Bajpai
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Young Adult Romance
Series: None
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
Final Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

For fans of Morgan Matson’s Save the Date comes a charming novel about one teen’s summer tackling disasters including, but not limited to, family, romance, and weather—as she plans her sister’s Bollywood-style Indian wedding.

Mini’s big sister, Vinnie, is getting married. Their mom passed away seven years ago and between Dad’s new start-up and Vinnie’s medical residency, there’s no one but Mini to plan the wedding. Dad raised her to know more about computers, calculus, and cars than desi weddings but from the moment Mini held the jewelry Mom left them, she wanted her sister to have the wedding Mom would’ve planned.

Now Mini has only two months to get it done and she’s not going to let anything distract her, not even the persistent, mysterious, and smoking-hot Vir Mirchandani. Flower garlands, decorations, music, even a white wedding horse—everything is in place.

That is, until a monster hurricane heads for Boston that could ruin everything. Will Mini come through as sister of the bride and save the day?

BUY // SHELVE NOW: Goodreads | Amazon (US) | Barnes & Noble

I can’t remember the last time I read a contemporary novel, and actually felt seen. Of course, I’ve read books with brown protagonists (Counting Down With You, and The Henna Wars), that I’ve identified with, but you could count the amount of books that I’ve actually felt represented in, on one hand.

Although the book followed an Indian-American teen, and I’m completely Indian, the little things, like seeing the city I live in, and the customs my grandparents follow in the pages of a book, meant the absolute world to me. The amount of times I saw Mumbai mentioned made my heart full – and then I saw events that took place here, and I was squealing, and my brain was just omg, yes! I live there, I went there last year! For the first time, I just felt SEEN, and that just made me so happy, and filled my heart with joy. Seeing how both the love interest and his dad went to Mayo had me so excited, because even MY dad and his brothers went there. Hearing about aunts that work in Bollywood, and Massi’s that sell jewelry also just hit so close to home.

Although I connected more to the love interest than the main character, reading a book about people that looked like me, and had the same problem as me, just made my problems feel valid. I loved that in this book, there were never had any “token” characters of color, and no character followed any stereotypical behaviour – because no, we’re not all the same! Having so many aspects I identified with in a book was unexpected – in the absolute best way possible.

Not only did I resonate with the characters in this book, it was also just a lot of fun to read. It was centered around a big fat desi wedding (and desi weddings are hands-down the best so)… Even though I’m only 1/2 Punjabi, and I’m 1/2 Hindu, seeing my culture in the book made me feel so special, because, yes, there’s SO much more to India than just the food, the clothes, and Bollywood (which is why we need more #OwnVoices authors)! With chatty, gossipy aunties, and precious banter, Sister of the Bollywood Bride had me perpetually feeling like this 🥺🤍!

Although, yes, I loved most aspects of this book, I did have a few problems! I’m not a huge fan of the miscommunication trope, but when it’s executed well, I have absolutely no problem with it. However, the miscommunication trope in this one annoyed me – and it was practically just the main character overreacting for no reason! I’m going to try and be very vague here so I don’t spoil anything – but when the miscommunication takes place, Mini, the main character, acts very childishly, and does everything to NOT speak to the love interest and solve the problem, which really irritated me.

The book also has a huge emphasis on Bollywood, and while it does cover that Bollywood is not the only thing about India, I found it unnecessary to be calling it a “Bollywood” wedding, or “Bollywood” bride. There are so many beautiful things about our country, and I wish we got more books based in India talking about things other than trauma, or Bollywood!

This is not necessarily an issue I had with the book, because I understand that the audience of the book would be Indian-Americans than just Indians, and it’s more of a personal preference – but – there was a huge focus on religion in the book, and how it was impacting the main character and her sister. In my school, and within my family, as well as 95% of my friends, almost none of us are religious, and are non-practicing. I think if we’re going to talk about our generation – almost all the students in our school (which is huge – 15 grade levels from Preschool to Grade 12, all with 120 students per grade) – almost all of us have English as our first languages, and though we know Hindi, and bits of the languages we studied in school, like French, or Spanish, English is still our first language. If, in India, or Mumbai where I live, we’re not religious, at like all, then I guess I just didn’t really understand why people were being so religious in America, where obviously after a while, you grow used to Westernized customs, and your own habits and requirements change.

Yes, of course, my grandparents are religious, and a few of my friends parents are too, but in our generation, practically no one is. Every household has different rules, and different ways of going about things, but a LOT of people in the book were really religious, so I just found it a bit unusual.

A hilarious, resonant, and fluffy contemporary, Sister of the Bollywood Bride is a beautiful novel that hit extremely close to home. A book that celebrates Indian culture, it’s also something that shows us that there’s so much more to India as a country than what most people think. Seeing little references, and customs I identified filled my heart with joy, and I’ll definitely be re-reading this one soon. Although the miscommunication trope was executed poorly, and there was an unnecessary focus on Bollywood, the story had me laughing, swooning and crying all at once. Sister of the Bollywood Bride is a solid book I loved reading, and I would readily recommend it to anyone looking for a light, fun read.

About the Author

Nandini Bajpai grew up in New Delhi, India, one of four sisters and many cousins, in a family that liked to read.

She lived and worked in India, Australia, and the US, before settling in the Boston area with her husband, kids, and a fluctuating number and variety of pets. Although she dabbled in corporate finance, business analysis, and fostering shelter animals, her first love is writing.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Have you read Sister of the Bollywood Bride yet? What are some other contemporaries that you resonated with, or 2021 releases you’re anticipating?!

I now also have an Amazon Wishlist filled with very very very cheap books that you can use to help support me and my content further!<3

30 thoughts on “Blog Tour: Sister of the Bollywood Bride by Nandini Bajpai”

    This is just… *screams*

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds amazing! And I agree with you about the practising of religion…I live in Delhi, and while a lot of people are religious, it’s usually not as in your face as in some books with India MCs….especially in urban areas.
    Awesome post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds like an amazing read and seeing your joy in feeling seen lit a smile on my face. It’s so satisfying to see your culture and ethnicity portrayed in a positive and respectable way. Also Indian weddings seem like the most fun! I’d definitely love to attend one.

    Great review as always Ahaana!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it was a super fun read, and i honestly got so excited hhahhahha 💞 it’s the best feeling to feel represented in media! omg they’re the best! there’s always such good food, and elaborate decorations and lots of dancing and ceremonies – so hopefully you get invited to one soon! thank you so much! 🥺💓

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ahaana!! i’m so so heartened to hear that you felt represented by this book, truly there’s a world of difference between a similar identity and being resonate deeply, agreed that’s why #ownvoices authors are so important and #ownvoices reviewers as well, especially from your thoughtful comments on the role of bollywood in this book ❤️❤️ but it sounds like such a lovely joyful story despite the miscommunication trope (which tbh i try to avoid even when done well), thank you for the brilliantly written review as always 💖😌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. omg it felt so good to see my culture, and identity inside a book! it definitely makes a difference when an #ownvoices author is writing the book because the experience that you get can’t come from any form of research! it was a very lovely story, and that was just a minor issue i had! same! i find it really annoying even when it’s written well! thank you for your lovely comment! 💖💖

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Finally someone is speaking about India that it is not only about Bollywood. I’m from South India and to see us and other parts of this country unnoticed in books leaves me disappointed with most of the authors. I’m so glad that you mentioned it here. Great Review, Ahaana!!

    Liked by 1 person

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