My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma
Publication date: 2 May 2019
Genre: Contemporary YA romance
Page count: 320 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I was gifted a copy of this book at a publisher event. This review is spoiler-free.
I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately and needed something totally different to help claw my way out — enter My So-Called Bollywood Life, a debut novel I learned about at an showcase event held by the publisher earlier this year. I don’t have a huge amount of experience with Bollywood films, although I absolutely love the four or five that I have seen (and am obsessed with the soundtracks of some I haven’t seen), but I was incredibly curious to pick up this because it sounded so amazing. It turns out the My So-Called Bollywood Life was exactly what I needed to rediscover the joys of reading.
Bollywood film fanatic Winnie has grown up believing the future is written in the stars. Her family’s pandit predicted she would find the love of her life before her eighteenth birthday. So when her relationship with Raj collapses, despite him meeting all the criteria, Winnie is lost. This is not how her perfect ending is scripted.
Then fellow film geek Dev challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope: is taking the future into her own hands the way to find her happily ever after? To get the perfect ending, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family and, of course, a Bollywood movie star.
A fate-filled debut sure to dazzle fans of Stephanie Perkins, Maureen Johnson and Sandhya Menon.
For me, the best part of this book was it a love letter to Bollywood films and Indian culture from a passionate author. Not only is the book full of references to these films — and includes a guide to all the films mentioned and a secondary list of other great films in the back –the story is also framed like a Bollywood romance. There are dream sequences (featuring the marvelous Shah Rukh Khan dispensing life advice), a love triangle, prophesies, a dance sequence, and the strength and love of families. For the first time in ages, I was able to devour this book in a single weekend — it was just so fun and full of heart.
Winnie is such a funny and wonderful main character. She’s a teen trapped between prophecy, and the expectations that come with it, and wanting to just live her life. She’s whip-smart and sarcastic, but also endearing, passionate, and stubborn. She refuses to give up on her dreams of going to NYU to study film, despite one of the most important people in her life telling her it’s a silly dream I loved her constant references to films and how she related plot lines to her life. Her relationship with her family was so wonderful, and I loved how close she is with her parents. She’s the kind of heroine that I love to read about, and her love interest is more than a match for her — I fully believe in her happy ending.
My So-Called Bollywood Life is a book that can be enjoyed by Bollywood lovers and newbies alike. Smart, funny, and totally charming, My So-Called Bollywood Life is the perfect YA romance to devour on a spring or summer day. Even better, you can plan a movie marathon afterward!
Want to pick up a copy for yourself? You can find it at the following sites (affilaite links):