“Utterly charming.” —NPR
“Cinematic.” —Teen Vogue
“Funny and sweet.” —Buzzfeed
Three starred reviews for this charming romantic comedy about an aspiring teen filmmaker who finds her voice and falls in love, from the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi.
Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.
When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.
Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?
Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.30(d)|
|Age Range:||12 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Sandhya Menon is the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi; From Twinkle, with Love; and There’s Something About Sweetie. A full-time dog-servant and part-time writer, she makes her home in the foggy mountains of Colorado. Visit her online at SandhyaMenon.com.
Read an Excerpt
From Twinkle, with Love
Monday, June 1
Hello, namaste, buenos dias, and bonjour, Mira Nair!
Name: Twinkle Mehra
Occupation: Sadly, a junior at Pikes Peak Charter in Colorado Springs. And ugh, the only one who’s still sixteen. Mummy and Papa obviously thought they’d birthed a prodigy when they stuck me in kindergarten a whole year early . . . ha. But that doesn’t matter. If you learn only one thing about me, it’s that I think I have a filmmaker’s soul. Like you, Mira. There are so many universes I want to explore with my camera.
BFF: Maddie Tanaka. Well, used to be, anyway. Now it’s . . . complicated.
Crush: Duh. Neil Roy. Since forever.
So, now that we’re acquainted, can I just say that I’m a huuuuge fan? Like, the biggest. I mean, okay, I’m not deluded. I know you’re never going to read this in a million years. But somehow, writing to you in here feels like you’re listening.
This diary was a birthday present from Dadi, by the way. She was all, “Take this, Twinkle. Put the words of your heart in the pages as you put the images of your heart in your movies.” As far as grandmothers go, she’s pretty cool (and pretty kooky, but that’s a story for another day). Anyway, it sat in my desk drawer for about nine months, but then I thought, Why not? What’s it going to hurt to try to journal? I thought writing to my fave female filmmakers would be way more fun than writing to myself. Or to one of Dadi’s “soul bearers from beyond the veil.” (Too long of a story to go into right now.)
Some might call people like me losers. I myself prefer the term “groundlings.” See, in Shakespearean times, these were the poor people who would have to stand in the front of the stage and got called out (unfairly, IMO) for being rowdy and smelly and having the mange or whatnot. And then there were the snooty people in the back, who got to sit in, like, covered areas and look down at the groundlings and feel all superior in their silk feathered hats. But Shakespeare would never have gotten famous if he hadn’t appealed to the groundlings.
Here’s a little secret, though: I wouldn’t completely mind if I were something other than a groundling. It’s not like I’m silk feathered hat material or anything, but still. To be even one social status level above the one I am right now would change my life because I’m pretty sure it would give me my best friend—who is now definitely one of the silk feathered hats—back. And bonus: It would help transform me from Invisible Twinkle to someone people recognize, maybe even someone who tells stories others want to hear.
So now I’m sitting here in homeroom and Hannah Macintosh just took off her six-hundred-dollar shoes (I know because she told the entire class that’s how much they cost in Milan) to show Victoria Lyons her pedicure. If I were a teeny bit braver, I’d go over there and ask, “Hey, Hannah, did you steal those shoes? I only ask because it seems you like taking things that don’t belong to you, like my best friend.” Maybe I’ll ask Dadi if she knows any incantations that’ll grow me a courage gland.
Oops, there’s the bell. More soon.
Still Monday, June 1
Hey-o, Sofia Coppola.
I’m sitting here trying not to expire of totalicus boredumus while Mrs. Mears explains the life cycle of the royal walnut moth, aka Citheronia regalis, aka kill me now. And you wanna know what Maddie’s doing?
Drawing a six-color diagram of said life cycle. With gel pens. I guess she doesn’t make mistakes? Even Mrs. Mears, the biologist, didn’t draw us a diagram. But Maddie probably wants to be thorough. Oh, and she’s written her name at the top of the page with her new markers (she gets new stationery and school supplies as often as regular people get new . . . Um, actually, I don’t know where I was going with that. She just gets them a lot), along with the date, and underlined everything three times.
Maddie wants to be a physician-scientist. Yeah, that’s really a thing. Being a plain old doctor or a plain old scientist isn’t challenging enough, so she decided she wants to combine them. But I’m thankful. Because if I ever get a rare disease that causes my butt to break out in fluorescent hives or something totally rando like that, I know Maddie’s the only one who could save me. She’s sort of a genius.
It must run in the family. Her dad, James Tanaka, is a world-famous artist who regularly challenges ideas of the mundane with his mixed-media pieces and has gallery showings in the United States, Tokyo, Paris, and London (literally what it says on his website in the “about” section). Plus, Maddie’s ultra-rich. She lives in one of those old neighborhoods in Broadmoor in a giant mansion.
That’s one thing that hasn’t changed even after Maddie gave up her groundling membership and became one of the silk feathered hat people. She’s still super ambitious. I haven’t been to her house in months, but I bet she still has that poster board she made of her five-year plan. It has pictures of the Johns Hopkins campus, where she wants to go to college and med school, places she wants to travel (Shanghai, Tokyo, Mumbai, Edinburgh, London), and pictures of the type of boy she wants to date (Japanese-American like her, with tattoos and not taller than 5’10”; she says she wants to meet him in the second year of medical school).
Meanwhile, I’m like, maybe I’ll waitress/travel after high school? Or go to film school at USC if I can get a scholarship? Or live in my parents’ house forever, decrying the death of the arts?
Maybe that’s why our friendship is as doomed as the Globe Theatre. Maybe I’m not ambitious enough for Maddie. Or cool enough. Or confident enough. Or, or, or.
A lot of your films were about being on the outside looking in, Sofia. I wonder what advice you’d give me. How do I step over the threshold and join my best friend again?
Oh, crap. Mrs. Mears is giving me the evilicus eyeicus. I better go.
Still later on Monday, June 1
Hi again, Sofia!
You’ll never believe who I saw today at Perk (full name: Perk Me Up Before I Go Go, but who has the time to say all of that?) drinking coffee and lounging like the half-Indian, half-white god he is.
Neil. Freaking. Roy.
It’s a travesty, but the only class we share right now is AP English. He’s pretty bad at it, for someone who’s definitely headed to Harvard. He once asked Ms. Langford why Hester in The Scarlet Letter didn’t run away from her town in basically a big F U to society. He implied she was being dumb. And I was like, Neil. How do you not get that Hester wants to stay there and find out what the scarlet A means to her? She clearly wants to try to determine her own identity in an agentic manner versus accepting one that’s forced upon her by a patriarchal society. I even opened my mouth to say that. But then I closed it. Being a human belonging to the wallflower genus, I’m kinda used to swallowing my words instead of speaking them. (Dadi says it’s because my aatma is made of gauze and feathers, whatever that means.) And anyway, this was Neil.
So when I saw him at Perk, I almost walked right into the display by the door, but I stopped myself just in time. He was sitting there, his legs splayed like he owned the place. Patrick O’Cleary and some of the other guys from the swim team were with him, too, all of them talking about the upcoming season and how Neil wouldn’t be at school because he was going to some pre-Olympic training camp for the rest of the month.
I love swim season. Neil, in swim trunks. Broad male shoulders glistening with water. The smell of chlorine. Neil, in swim trunks.
Okay. Here’s something I’ve never told anyone: My crush isn’t just because of Neil’s looks or his hypnotizing athleticism or the fact that he’s a future physicist genius. It’s because if someone like Neil Roy went out with me, the other silk feathered hat people would want to hang out with me too. Like Maddie. Maybe I’d come out of my shell, bringing my camera with me, and people would finally listen to the stories I have inside me. I’ve always felt like I was meant to be more than an invisible wallflower. This could be my ticket to an alternate life, Sofia, a way to become one of the insiders.
I walked up to the counter, overly aware that Neil was behind me now. Was my back sweaty? Was my T-shirt sticking to me? Could he see my cringesome ratty beige bra through it? Curse you, eighty-degree summer days, when I have to walk everywhere and live in a house with no AC. I casually loosened my braid so my hair could cover what my T-shirt might not. Then I tossed a strand over my shoulder and hazarded a look at his table.
Huh. He hadn’t even noticed me.
I deflated a little. I was that overlookable? I glanced around the café at the other silk feathered hats. None of them had noticed me, either. I deflated even more, until I was about half my original size.
My gaze passed over Neil’s identical twin brother, Sahil Roy, who apparently had noticed me and was now smiling, his face bright and happy. He sat at a table with his best friends, Skid (white, short, and wiry) and Aaron (the only black and openly gay person in our class; seriously, diversity, PPC. Look it up). They were being quieter—and geekier—than Neil’s group while discussing that new alien movie, which goes without saying. They’re total groundlings too. I smiled back.
“Can I help you?”
The thirtysomething mustachioed barista behind the counter was staring at me in a way that meant he’d probably had to ask that more than once. His name badge read STAN.
“Hi, Stan,” I said. “Can I get a small iced mocha? I have this.” Rummaging in my pocket, I fished out the coupon I’d gotten for winning an essay contest before winter break and handed it over.
He barely looked at it before handing it back. “It’s expired.”
“No, no, it’s not.” I pointed to the fine print, my palms getting sweaty even at this tiny amount of confrontation. “See? It says June first is the last day to claim this. And it’s June first.”
Stan’s mustache twitched spitefully as he pointed to the finer fine print. “See that? It says June first at five p.m. And it is now”—he checked his wristwatch—“five twenty-four p.m.”
Twenty-four minutes. He was denying me for a lousy twenty-four minutes. “Okay, Stalin,” I muttered as I stuffed the coupon back into my pocket.
He leaned toward me. “What did you say?” Oh God. His mustache quivered indignantly, almost independent of his face.
“Uh . . . nothing. I said, um, thanks, Sta-an.” I stretched his name into two syllables to make the lie more believable and smiled weakly.
“So, are you gonna get anything or not?” he asked, eyeing me like I was a bug he’d found swimming in his perfect coffee.
I looked at the menu and sighed. It was almost five dollars for the coffee, which was my lunch allowance for the week. If I bought it, I’d have to do without at school, and hungry Twinkle was hangry Twinkle. “No, that’s okay,” I said, my cheeks hot. In that instant, I was kind of glad about my invisibility powers. At least none of the silk feathered hats had heard how Twinkle Mehra couldn’t even afford an iced mocha.
In my hurry to escape, I almost smacked face-first into a muscled chest. OHMYGOD, my brain shouted as I tipped my head back and took in those light-brown eyes, that thick lacy fringe of eyelashes. IT’S HIM IT’S NEIL OHMYGO—oh, wait. My brain registered more details, like the red skull on the black T-shirt. The smile that was half shy, half awkward, not at all like Neil’s full-on, sear-your-retinas-with-its-strength-but-you-won’t-even-notice-the-pain-because-it’s-so-glorious smile.
“Oh, hey, Sahil,” I said, trying to go around him. “ ’Scuse me.”
“Wait. I could buy you that coffee?” he said, pivoting to see me. “Um, if you want?”
I stopped and looked at him, feeling that cringy-hot feeling I always get when people call attention to money. Specifically, how they have it and I don’t. “That’s . . . nice, but you don’t have to do that.”
“No, no, I want to,” he said, putting his hands in his pockets and then taking them out again. “Um, heat wave.”
Huh? Was that supposed to make sense? “You . . . what?”
“I . . . just meant there’s a heat wave outside. You definitely need an iced coffee.” Then he grinned suddenly, this thing that set all his teeth on display, and leaned back. It all had a very rehearsed vibe.
I opened my mouth to (a) tell him eighty degrees and a light breeze hardly qualified as a heat wave and (b) point out that he was edging dangerously close to the napkin holder. Sadly, I was too late delivering point (b).
Sahil sent it flying to the floor, and the napkins went everywhere. He stared at the mess for a minute in silence. And then we both ducked down to clean up the mess, knocking heads (of course; how else would two groundlings clean up a mess?) and groaning.
“Oh God, I’m so sorry,” Sahil said as I rubbed my forehead.
“That’s okay.” I stuffed the remaining napkins back into the holder and then stood up to face mustachioed Stan, who was watching this unfold with unadulterated glee beaming off his annoying, dictatorial face. “Um, yeah. I’ll have that iced mocha after all.” I figured it was easier to just accept than risk another mini disaster. I smiled at Sahil. “Thanks.”
He waved me off. “Ah, no, no worries.” And then I’m pretty sure he asked me a question, which I didn’t hear because it was then that Neil Roy began to walk toward me.
His eyes were locked on mine and everything.
At least, that’s what I thought at first. But then he got closer and I saw he was looking at his brother, Sahil. Just Sahil.
“Yo, I’m heading over to Patrick’s,” he said. “Can you catch a ride with someone?”
“Sure,” Sahil said, turning back to me.
And then Neil Roy winked at me. Winked. At me. “Hey,” he said, all casually, running a hand through his soft (it looks soft anyway), thick black hair. “How’s it going?”
Neil Roy asked me a freaking question. And I responded by gawking at him. What should I say? Something cool and casual and maybe even a little bit funny?
The seconds ticked by. I realized I was still standing there with this idiotic, glazed smile on my face. OH MY GOD, TWINKLE, JUST SAY SOMETHING. ANYTHING.
But by the time I’d decided to rejoinder with a perfectly acceptable, “Pretty good, and you?” his back was already to me. And those bulging calf muscles were taking him to the door.
I blinked Sahil back into focus, trying to ignore the thudding disappointment at my own geekiness. “Yeah?”
Neil smoothly tossed a balled-up paper napkin into the trash from across the room, and then he and his friends walked outside together. His back wasn’t sweaty. And the other guys had their heads swiveled toward him, constantly watching him, listening to what he had to say. See? That was the sort of guy shiny, future Twinkle Mehra should date.
“ . . . business card.”
Crap. I’d missed what Sahil was saying—again—because I was ogling his brother. Anyway, context. Come on. Look around. Look at his face. What might he have said? Oh, right. He was holding out a business card. I took it, frowning slightly.
Sahil Roy, Film Critic, it said. There was a phone number below it.
“You’re into films, aren’t you?” he asked, tugging at his T-shirt.
Am I into films? Ha. Ha ha ha. Only like Bill Nye is into science. “Mm-hmm,” I said. “Definitely.”
Sahil smiled his shy/awkward smile. “Cool. I am too. You should think about joining the film club sometime.” He rubbed the top of his ear. “And that’s, uh, my cell number there.” He cleared his throat and then coughed violently, choking on his own spit. I patted him on the back while he stared at me, his eyes wide.
“Do you need some water?” I was starting to get worried about the color his face was turning.
He shook his head and walked back to his table, where his friend Skid, sighing, handed him his cup of water. Aaron tossed me a smile and I nodded back.
I found Stan holding out my cup and I took it. “Thanks.” I walked up to Sahil’s table. “Hey, uh, thanks again for the coffee. I gotta go, but it was nice seeing you guys.”
Aaron and Skid held up a hand and Sahil cleared his throat. “Sure, no problem,” he said, all hoarse and funny-sounding. “Take care.”
I giggled. How could two brothers be so different, honestly? “You too.”
I looked for Neil once I was back outside, but he was long gone. Ah, well. Our Bollywood romance would have to wait.
One day, though. One day I’ll be the Alia Bhatt to his Shahid Kapoor.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 3.5 Twinkle has dreams: she wants to be a filmmaker with stories she wants the world to hear, but opportunities are not exactly knocking down her door. Told from letters, texts and journal entries, we see this naïve, hopeful, dream-laden young girl as she navigates life, her crushes, the chance to show her film at a festival, and the proximity to her crush’s twin brother just makes everything better. And we see her discoveries as she finds obstacles, desires and searches for answers. From writing to her favorite female directors and asking for advice and contact – her growth from naïve and occasionally clueless young girl to one who experiences great growth and learning as her journey progresses, the narrative is surprisingly honest and full of the major and minor dramas of growing up. There are situations that rely on tropes, and there is the inevitable love quadrangle here (Twinkle is prone to crushes) even as she never truly lets go of her dream to ‘be something’ other than what one might expect. And she NEVER gives up on finding new, old and even unique ways to get her opinions expressed, gaining friends along the way. A solidly engaging and refreshing story that has everything a teen or tween can relate to – showing that everyone has the same sorts of hopes and dreams – no matter their color, history or place in which they live. Narration for this story is provided by Soneela Nankanii and Vikas Adam and their ability to grasp both the ages of the characters in ways that feel appropriate while managing to present the story as written with all the moments, silly, juvenile, hopeful, discouraged or undaunted with equal abandon, and the multiple suitors are both honest in their admiration and enjoying the interactions. The narration added yet another sense of the differences that are simply external, while allowing the similarities of hopes and dreams shine through. I received an AudioBook copy of the title from Simon Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I really liked Dimple, so I was really excited to get my hands on this one. And sure enough, being back in Menon's words was just as good this time around. I wasn't as big a fan of Twinkle, but I still really liked this one too. Twinkle has always been a wallflower, but suddenly she is given the chance to change the world by making her dream of directing a movie come true. This is also the time when she begins getting anonymous emails from someone named "N." Who can only be her long-time crush Neil right? But all the ideas she had about the way her life was going, things are not going as planned. But that doesn't turn out so bad. I LOVED the love interrest. That person was so amazing, even when they thought they weren't. I super identified with them as well. They were always in the background and I know all too well how that feels. (I have 2 other siblings and as the middle child, I've always been in the background.) I was so super proud of them for finally becoming the person they should've been the entire book. As for Twinkle, I didn't connect to her as much. For a larger part of the story she was a huge brat. I was not always impressed with her. In the end I was much happier with her discovering herself more and deciding to do what she did, but by then, I already wasn't a fan. I also didn't like how she listened to her love interest instead of her BFF that she's known forever. As for the plot, I wish I could have seen more of the actual movie filming that they did. I mean, that was the WHOLE point of the book. But it was still good that we go to see a small part of it. I aslo really liked the way it was told through letters. It wasn't at all choppy or missing anything, which I find is sometimes the case in books written like this or novels in verse. Being back with Menon's writing and meeting new characters made me completely happy. I can't wait to see what else she has in store!
I love this one so much, y’all. The characters, the story, Twinkle’s journey...it was all so fantastic. And the romance was SO STINKING CUTE! The absolute PERFECT book for anyone who’s looking for a really well-done contemporary this summer.
A journey of trials, errors and growth filled with charming characters! Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for the opportunity to read and review From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon! Unique storytelling in the form of diary entries by Twinkle, as she relays the happenings in her life, let us know what makes her tick. Twinkle’s charming and calmly optimistic outlook on life shines as she addresses her entries to famous women that she admires. She wants to be a filmmaker and in the process of making her film, ends up hurting several people. She feels overwhelmed and has to step back and reevaluate everything. A journey of trials and errors and growth filled with charming characters makes this realistic fiction story a keeper, 4 stars! * I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
From Twinkle, With Love is such an amazing book. The story, the relationship, the diversity are all fantastically done. The format is different and intriguing. There is so much to love about this book. I love Sandhya Menon’s writing and am excited to read more of her works in the future.
I loved every single thing about this story
I was expecting From Twinkle, With Love to just be light-hearted, fluffy summer read. While it was light-hearted at times, this book was so much more than that. There were times when I laughed out loud and moments that made me tear up. I kind of wish I had a time travel machine so I could give high school me this one. From Twinkle, With Love was told through letters, text messages, and emails. While I absolutely love this form of storytelling in books, I know not all readers do. It really works well here though so I wouldn't let the atypical style stop you from reading this one. I also loved how Twinkle pursued her dream with a single minded focus. Sandhya Menon did an excellent job of showing how and why Twinkle fought for her dream. In general, the characters felt very realistic and like actual teenagers. So many of Twinkle's missteps were entirely relatable. I particularly liked her friendship with Maddie and how the two of them struggled to communicate despite a lifetime of knowing each other. The romance storyline was full of miscommunications, misunderstandings, and misperceptions. Essentially, it felt like a real high school romance. I did think that the dark Twinkle story arc was a bit overly dramatic. But it still worked and I liked how everything was resolved in the end. From Twinkle, With Love was an absolutely charming book. I'd recommend this one if you're looking for a fun read that features some great humor, a feminist heroine, and a whole lot of heart. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
A laugh out loud story that will warm your heart This is a laugh out loud story that will warm your heart and yet make you glad to be done with high school. It is just as adorable and funny as When Dimple met Rishi and should make the fans who wanted more very happy. As with Dimple, the romance is super cute, often cringe-worthy, super awkward and pretty darn hilarious. Twinkle is a fairly likable protagonist. She’s relatable, sweet, funny, smart and kind of geeky. What she isn’t is perfect. She makes mistakes but owns up to them. She is obsessed with popularity and being accepted by the in-crowd. I’m not so far removed from being a teen that I don’t remember how much fitting in mattered and how badly you want to be seen and accepted. At some point you realize that your true friends are the ones who like you for who you are and don’t expect you to change. Like most of us Twinkle has to go through some drama and heartache to get to that bit of wisdom. It’s a very familiar journey although her story is all her own. This is such a feel good book that I find myself smiling just thinking about it. It really is about finding your own path and your own voice and tuning out those who don't believe in you. Twinkle shines the brightest when she true to herself and follows her heart to things that make her happy. When she tries to be something she's not disaster and sadness ensue. Twinkle is incredibly talented and once she realizes her own worth and power the world falls at her feet! Maybe real life isn't quite so neat and easy but it's a worthwhile message to send to teen girls. Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.
I was full blown obsessed with Dimple, so I was pretty much screaming at the post office when this arc showed up. I loved Twinkle and Sahil. She’s smart and sassy and is working to be vocal. He’s sweet and adorable and working to be visible. They’re both feeling a bit neglected for different reasons and I loved watching them get closer. Twinkle does go through a period of icky and I wanted to just shake her, but her growth was perfect. However, it was Dadi who stole every scene she was in. Plot wise, I loved it. The format of letters, texts, emails, and journal entries was a great way to share the story. Added bonus was how it showed that there’s so much more to a person than what you see on the surface. There is some conflict and I could have done with a bunch more kissing, but it was a great mixture of sweetness, laughs, and heartfail. Overall, it was exactly what I wanted to read. The story was sweet and realistic and had characters I was rooting for right from the beginning. I can’t wait to see what Sandhya does next. **Huge thanks to Simon Pulse for providing the arc free of charge**