Nisha Sharma’s My So-called Bollywood Life is a light, breezy YA romance with Bollywood movies as the not terribly well woven thread through the book. The protagonist is Winnie Mehta, an ambitious high schooler who is co-chair of the school film club. She is recovering from a broken heart because her ‘soulmate,’ who she believes was destined for her because of her horoscope (which identified her soulmate down to the first letter of his name), betrayed her.
Despite the horoscope and the periodic dance sequences by Shah Rukh Khan (in her dreams), the plot is pretty typical. It seems to be more focused on the ‘which boy should I choose’ plot than other YA romances I have read. She has a best friend who is barely sketched out, a nemesis who Winnie slut-shamed, and a group of film nerds who are film nerds. She wants to go to NYU film school so she can be a film critic, but the main reason appears to be because her dad wanted to go to film school. She has a blog that comes up when she describes how over-committed she is, but we don’t hear much about content or how meaningful it is to her. Plus, the beginning of each chapter is apparently taken from the blog, but consists of a short synopsis of the film and a star rating. There is a longer Bollywood film compendium at the end of the book, which is a good resource if you are interested in hitting up some Bollywood films!
This would be about a 2.5 for me because I love the food references and I wanted to love the use of Bollywood movies as plot points, although that didn’t work so well for me in practice. Further, the family interactions were pretty great. Overall, this is a fluffy, cute YA romance with some pretty problematic themes; however, it does give you a chance to look online for the oiled chests and glorious lenghas of Bollywood heroes and heroines!