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  • Writer's pictureAnnika Pillai

love, chai, and other four letter words

This book has been on my radar for 2021 releases for a few months now, so when I got an ARC for it, I was so excited. In my opinion, there are not nearly enough romance books with brown heroines, so I was beyond stoked to read this.

Love, Chai, and Other Four-Letter Words follows our heroine Kiran Mathur, who moved from India to the US almost ten years ago, to start college, and Nash, who was born and bred in Nashville, Tennessee (now that I think about, Nash from Nashville? Really?) When Nash moves all the way to New York, he runs into Kiran, who lives in the same apartment complex. They quickly strike up a friendship, but they are both aware that it is not going to be anything more than that. For one, Nash is still nursing the old wounds from his past, and after the disowning of Kiran’s sister, Kirthi, Kiran is facing extra pressure to be her parent’s perfect child––this means that she cannot date someone who is white. However, despite all these clear obstacles in their way, both Kiran and Nash are struggling to fight their growing feelings for each other.

I thought this book was just okay. In my opinion, it was pretty forgettable. Both Kiran and Nash as characters were pretty one-dimensional, and I’m not even sure if I would call this romance, seeing as the romance definitely took a backseat in the second half.

Neither Kiran nor Nash were as fleshed out and developed as I would have liked; Nash’s whole personality was having unresolved mommy and daddy issues, and Kiran’s whole personality was just her struggles to be the perfect child for her parents.

The second half of the book was pretty much just Kiran’s family drama. In my opinion, this plot-line dragged, and is then quickly, and almost unrealistically resolved.

Also, certain aspects of this book just felt odd to me? Kiran's parents at one point bring up Brahmins, and are just openly casteist. It felt weird and unnecessary to me.

I don't want to say the events in this book are unrealistic, or anything like that, because I do know that this kind of stuff can happen, but I just am a little sick of every brown heroine having to deal with strict, unrelenting parents, and needing some white guy to free her from the shackles of her culture (anyone else getting Nadia/Guzman vibes?). Can we have something new please?

I don’t think that this book was bad, by any means, I just also don’t know that I would consider it a romance. It is also important to note that this book is very clean, so if that is something that you are not into, then maybe this book is not for you.

If you have some time on your hands, and are looking for something kind of tame, I guess you can pick this up? I don't know, this wasn't a favorite.

Rating ➳ 2.5/5 stars

Release Date: September 21, 2021

(tw: addiction, substance abuse, abandonment, emotional abuse, misogyny, racism, death of parent)


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