My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma is about an Indian-American high school student called Winnie who has recently broken up with her boyfriend Raj. Her family thinks that Raj is her destiny and soulmate but Winnie isn’t too sure if she believes in destiny anymore. She’d rather focus on getting into NYU and making her own destiny whilst watching Bollywood films. But then Dev reenters her life from Freshman year and she has to battle with a predetermined destiny or following her heart. Because life isn’t one big Bollywood film.
I have been dying to read a book with some well-portrayed South Asian characters and those kind of books aren’t exactly easy to come by. Nisha Sharma has done an amazing job with this book. So much so, that I managed to finish the book in a day. I. Was. Hooked.
Whilst I’m not Indian, my family are from Bangladesh, there were still a lot of things in the book that I was able to relate to. The love of Bollywood films, how close Winnie was to her family. It felt good to see an accurate representation in YA fiction for once.
I honestly feel like Nisha Sharma really pin pointed what it’s like to be a second-generation teenage immigrant. The things her parents gave up and how Winnie wanted to get in uni partially to give something back to her dad. And I loved how Winnie was never ashamed of her culture. She embraced all of it and really basked in it. I feel like when books about PoC are written, authors always make it sound like they’re ashamed of their culture. But this story was built on the basis of Winnie’s love for Bollywood movies!
Winnie was a headstrong character which I loved. As much as she was swept away in the magic and romance that pretty much all Bollywood films hold, she also wanted to take control of her life and be her own hero. She showed that you can have a balance of wanting romance in your life whilst also being independent and not letting a boy hold you back. She knew what she wanted to do with her life and she didn’t want a relationship to get in the way. Even though this could primarily be seen as a YA romance book it was also really empowering.I got attached to Winnie and everything that she was going through. Nisha Sharma really makes you feel for the character and want her to succeed in whatever she chooses to do.
I’ve always said that the sign the of a good book is when the author is able to make you hate and love the characters that they’ve written. And my gosh, did I feel that with this book. Every single time Raj felt the need to say something that I genuinely get so annoyed. It would get to the point that my sister tried to talk to me whilst I was reading and Raj bugged me so much, I had to tell her to wait whilst I figured out what else he was going to do to annoy me.
I was completely drawn in by this book. And Nisha Sharma is an author to keep an eye out for. I have a feeling that this lady is going to make a storm in the writing world and I can’t wait to see it happen!