Title: Variables of Love
Author: M.K. Schiller
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Published Date: 16th September 2014
Published Date: 16th September 2014
Rating: 4 stars
*Thank you to Goddess Fish Promotions for the review copy*
Synopsis: Meena Kapoor knows what life has in store for her. She's in her senior year at Stanford where she'll graduate summa cum laude, and then she'll begin her interviews...her marriage interviews. Meena is Indian, and she's never questioned that she'll have an arranged marriage like all the generations before her. Not until she meets gorgeous math major Ethan Callahan. Ethan's sense of humor and free spirit stir feelings in Meena she didn't know were possible outside of Bollywood movies. It doesn't hurt that he's charming and has the uncanny ability to make math sound like poetry, but Meena knows their equation makes no sense in the real world.
Ethan finds himself intrigued by the mysterious, beautiful girl, whose big, brown eyes reflect great pain. His goals are small at first - to make her smile and then to laugh. But he soon wants more, and though Meena is adamant they have no future, he convinces her to share the present. Ethan believes every problem has a solution, but with cultural expectations and family duty among the variables, they will struggle to solve the ultimate equation to find happiness.
Review: What I didn’t know when I started this book was that it was from the New Adult genre. For some reason I had it in my head that it was a YA. Either way, this one surprised me with how much I liked it.
At first I found it to be a bit cliché. Meena and Ethan meet by bumping into each other. Very cliché. But then this book developed into something a lot deeper than the typical romance and a lot about certain things I love. And that has to be culture!
The main problem here is that Meena is Indian, and in her future is going to have an arranged marriage. However, Ethan is American, and therefore wouldn’t be accepted by her parents. That is the main problem they share, and why Meena is all too eager to push him away. Meena is a great character – the typical good girl who has her own secrets and her own reasons for keeping them. They are steadily unraveled to the reader and each one made me feel for her. Ethan himself has some things about him he would rather keep to himself, and it was good to get to know him too. Personally, I loved the slow and steady way he cared for Meena. It was such a cute romance ^.^
The secondary characters were also well done and had their own problems too which was always good to see. There was Rachael who is the daughter of a priest, but in truth is herself the girl that sleeps around the most and gets into all sorts of trouble. She ends up falling for the wrong guy herself religion-wise and then can’t lose her bad girl attitude. And then there is Raj, who is gay and also Indian. That isn’t accepted in his culture so he is having troubles dealing with that as well. Personally, I loved the secondary characters, and the friendship between them all was wonderful.
The dialogue had to be my favourite thing about this book. When Meena and Ethan talk about things they do it in such creative ways, and it doesn’t even seem unrealistic. It seems to match their personality and seems so natural, it’s hard to believe these aren’t real people having this conversation right now. I loved it. Wonderfully done.
As well as that there was the theme of death in here, and getting over the loss of a loved one. I hated the way Meena’s family was so fractured by a single death, even though it was a significant one. It was interesting to compare how her family dealt with the death and the way that Ethan’s did.
Heed this warning: this is not a clean romance (and I had naively believed it to be). But it isn’t as bad as some new adult romances.
There were some comical parts to this book. The author leaves you wondering until the very last moment whether Meena and Ethan’s relationship will survive everything. I was always kept guessing. There was never a boring moment in the book, and setting aside the meet up at the beginning, there wasn’t a single cliché moment as well. I was pleasantly surprised after reading this one!
Where did you get the inspiration for this novel?
Variables of Love was a very personal story for me. I was thinking about how culture influences our choices. The heroine, Meena, is a plotter by nature and she is on a set course, which includes an arranged marriage. Then along comes Ethan Callahan, who shines like the most beautiful distraction. Suddenly, her course is not so clear.
What's your favourite thing about the cover?
I like that it feels youthful. It’s also ties into Ethan’s need to doodle things in margins.
Who is your favourite character and why?
Of all time, it would be Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. I love a strong woman. In this novel, it’s Ethan Callahan because he is witty and wise…and also a wiseass.
What is one thing you learned about your writing as you wrote this?
That I interpreted irony incorrectly. My editor had to point that out. Thank goodness, because being wrong about irony….is well, ironic (at least I think it is).
Do you have anything you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for your support. If you purchased this book, extra thank you’s. I hope you enjoyed it, and I’d love to hear from you.
Giveaway Time! Enter to win either a $10 amazon giftcard, of a $15 amazon giftcard! An ecopy of the book is also going! Open internationally :)
Olivia’s Question: What genre did you doubt you would like at first, but then happened to like in the end?