by Sandhya Menon
Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10
Summary: With her heart set on Neil Roy and wanting to win her best friend Maddie back, Twinkle Mehra sets off to win her peers and go from “loser” to popular. As an aspiring filmmaker, Twinkle decides her chance at glory is making a film for Midsummer Night. Teaming up with other misfits, Twinkle begins a journey that leads to love, friendship, and an understanding that she doesn’t need to change or be popular in order to tell a story that matters and one that others want to hear.
7 Fantastic Things about FROM TWINKLE, WITH LOVE by Sandhya Menon (OwlCrate Book June 2018)
(May Contain Spoilers)
From Twinkle, with Love is written mostly from the perspective of Twinkle in diary format, which is not entirely unique but we also get to see scattered texts between Sahil and his friends as well as notes written between Twinkle and other characters. I loved this! It was a fun way to see the inner thoughts and concerns of Twinkle and Sahil while being totally contemporary.
The drive to be cool and popular in high school is so universal and so unbearably painful. We all get trapped in this need to fit in and be validated. The “losers” strive to be noticed and join the “in” crowd while those that are popular are terrified of losing their standings and are under immense pressure to conform. Both scenarios are terrible and really enforce the “I’m not good enough” attitude, which leads many to frantically find ways to change themselves or do something that will make them stand out instead of being authentic. It was so relatable to see Twinkle struggle with this throughout the novel.
Twinkle’s grandmother is just amazing! She was an endless source of laughter and joy but more importantly, a constant support in Twinkle’s life. Dadi had countless wisdom and provided Twinkle with unconditional love, no matter what. We all could be so lucky to have such a wonderful grandmother who took on additional roles of teacher, mentor, mother, father, and friend.
While Twinkle has an amazing grandmother, there are some negatives in relation to her parents. This was so important to touch upon as no parent is perfect and many children/teenagers can internalize that they are not good enough or not lovable. This is so far from the truth. Parents are only human, will never be perfect, and may really drop the ball in terms of being a healthy available parent to their child. It usually has nothing to do with their children, it is their own issues that get in the way of them truly being present loving parents.
Another great aspect of real life that From Twinkle, with Love touches upon is that of friendship. Specifically on how friends can grow apart, as seen with Twinkle and Maddie, but that doesn’t mean that there is anyone at fault or a need to “force” the friendship. Relationships may grow or may wither naturally as we change and take on different priorities in our lives. But just like some friendships can fizzle out unexpectedly, we can make friends with the most unlikely of people, such as when Twinkle found an unexpected friend in Victoria.
Menon obviously won some serious points with me because Twinkle and Sahil end up having a heartwarming romance but Menon’s beautiful take on love and relationships is what really resonated with me.
“She upended the two bowls into the center of the larger container, and the powders came together. They were mixed somewhat, but still in their separate piles for the most part—red on the left and orange on the right. ‘Then,’ Dadi continued, “with each interaction with another soul, we begin to change.’ She put a finger into the pile of powders and began to stir gently. The powders mixed more the longer she stirred, red mingling with orange, losing its distinct form. ‘We take pieces of them, and they take pieces of us. It’s not bad. It’s not good. If just is.’ By now the powders were completely mixed together, indistinguishable from each other.”(Menon 297)
Twinkle Mehra was an overall likable and relatable protagonist. Quirky and a total fangirl, she had big dreams and the courage to work towards them. What I loved most though was her ability to grow, learn what was important to her, and decide to be authentic to herself, damn whatever the world thought. You go girl!