A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli

A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya LalliA Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli
Published by Berkley on October 5, 2021
Genres: Romance
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Also by this author: Serena Singh Flips the Script

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

About A Holly Jolly Diwali

Even though the MC, Niki Randhawa, is 29, A Holly Jolly Diwali has a New Adult. We learn about Niki’s career, family life, and dating life – well, lack of dating.

Niki’s made life choices, like her career as a data analyst, to please her immigrant parents. Unlike her free-spirited, well-traveled older sister, Jasmine. When Niki’s laid off, she rethinks her approach and decides to give in to impulses. Like booking a flight to Mumbai for her best friend Diya’s wedding, to celebrate Diwali, and meet her extended family to explore her Sikh heritage.

Then she unexpectedly meets Sam. And there’s an insta-attraction. Does she totally give in to champagne-fueled impulses or does she hang onto her plan for the future mindset?

My thoughts about A Holly Jolly Diwali

What I liked:
• The strong female friendships
• The supportive family relationships
• Niki’s relatability – especially her conflicted feelings about pleasing family vs herself
• Learning about Diwali and Sikh/Hindu culture -descriptions are so vivid
• The sweet, flirty banter between Niki and Sam
• Sam’s mom is the kind of Auntie I’d love to have! She seemed a touch like Blanche from the Golden Girls, in the best way
• The acknowledgment that the tech world is tough on women, especially women of color

What I wasn’t crazy about:
Niki’s constant questioning of what Diwali is and why it’s celebrated. She couldn’t Google? Ask someone in her Indian community at home? Maybe this was shorthand for Niki’s curiosity about her cultural roots in general. Not sure but I wish she’d asked questions about something that wasn’t so easily Google-able.

But that’s a small quibble with a book that I really enjoyed!

In conclusion

Overall, a sweet, flirty, and charming novel highlighting Indian culture. The descriptions are lush; the banter is clever. Perfect for fans of Shauna Robinson or Annika Sharma.

Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley for the ARC.

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About Sonya Lalli

Sonya Lalli is a Canadian writer of Indian heritage. She studied law in her hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and at Columbia University in New York City. She completed an MA in Creative Writing and Publishing at City University London in 2015, and currently works as a journalist at a legal magazine in London. She has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and loves travel, yoga, piano, reading and cocktail bartending.

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