From Twinkle With Love by Sandhya Menon

Genre: YA Contemporary
Format read: audiobook
Rep: POC (multiple ethnicities), mixed race, LGBT
Rating: planchet-4

Twinkle is a self-described wallflower–a “groundling.” While she has trouble stringing two words together at school, she dreams of one day being a filmmaker. Alas, her youtube channel has a total of seven subscribers–four of them are porn bots, and three of them are accounts her grandma created because she kept forgetting her password.

In addition to directing movies that change lives, she also dreams of joining the “silk feathered hat” group at school, the group of popular kids that includes her crush, Neil, and her former best friend.

When someone suggests she make a film for the school’s annual summer event, Twinkle isn’t keen on the idea until Sahil–Neil’s twin brother–offers to help. A certified film critic, he knows how movies are made and plots work, and together they hatch a plan to create a gender-bent Nosferatu film to showcase at the big event. The film will be seen not only by the people with money and influence in the area, but also news crews, college scouts, and others that have the potential to change Twinkle’s life. Unless she gets a full ride, her chances of going to film school are non-existent; her family just can’t afford it.

Luckily, Sahil has the passion, talent, and cash to get the ball rolling on the film, and the two of them are soon working closely. So closely, in fact, that Twinkle’s crush starts to shift from one brother to the other.

But Twinkle has a secret she can’t tell Sahil: She suddenly has a secret admirer, and he shares and  initial with Sahil’s brother, Neil. Considering the deep rivalry and hurt separating the brothers, it would crush Sahil if he found out.

This is the second book by Sanhya Menon I’ve read, and I love her work. From diverse casts to quirky family members, she brings life as an Indian American teen into living color. For me, growing up in Super White, Nowhere, Ohio, it’s a drastic change from both how I spent my formative years and what I read now, and I love it.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book came near the end, and was relatively minor:

As things start to get rocky, as they tend to do near the climax of any book, Twinkle handles some situations poorly, and has to apologize to her friends and family. In each and every case, she apologizes very casually, and then the other person accepts the apology and offers their own for doing whatever they did wrong in the same situation. This happened with both teens and adults.

Should the world work this way? Absolutely. Does it? Hell no. Part of me wanted to see just one person snap back at her, especially since one of those apologies felt very out of character to me. Usually when I find myself apologizing to someone, they take it as their due and don’t offer any sort of apology in return, even if they were also wrong or behaved badly.

Yes, I am probably surrounded by assholes. But I also just found it really unrealistic that  a group of teenagers would be that forthcoming. But that’s just my own opinion of the situation, and it could certainly be taken as an aspirational sort of thing, to show the way people should behave.

Regardless, though, I am definitely looking forward to getting my hands on Something about Sweetie.