10 Things I Hate About Pinky

Book review by
Lucinda Dyer, Common Sense Media
10 Things I Hate About Pinky Book Poster Image
Teen falls for her fake boyfriend in charming romance.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

For animal lovers, there's a good bit of information about caring for a baby possum and possum behavior.

Positive Messages

Your past behavior (whether it's as a too "perfect" teen or one who's had troubles) does not determine who you can be now or in the future.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Both Pinky and Samir take journeys of personal growth in the novel. Pinky shows her parents that she's not a troublemaker, but someone who can dedicate herself to a cause and make good choices. The shy and uptight Samir confronts the reason behind his buttoned-up behavior and opens himself up to being more of a free (but still responsible) spirit.


A few kisses, including one instance of breathless French kissing. A character announces she dates both girls and boys.


Occasional "damn," "crap," "hell."


A family plays enthusiastic games of Boggle. Characters drink Coke and Redbull. One teen binge watched Riverdale.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A teen drinks beer and tries to get others to join him. Two teens sneak out (one time) to drink. There are mentions of an adult having too many Bloody Marys, another getting drunk on margaritas, and one drinking sangria. An adult is sent to rehab.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 10 Things I Hate About Pinky, by Sandhya Menon  (From Twinkle, with Love), is a sweet opposites-attract romcom. Priyanka Kumar, a 17-year-old social activist with multicolored hair and piercings, is the despair of her corporate lawyer parents, particularly when it comes to her choice of boyfriends. While spending the summer at the family's house on Cape Cod, Pinky's parents are quick to blame her for something she didn't do. Protesting her innocence, Pinky blurts out that she has a new boyfriend. Not wanting her mother to see her as a liar, Pinky has no alternative but to produce him. But where can she find a respectable fake boyfriend who'll impress her parents? Pinky decides the perfect candidate is Samir Jha. Handsome, straight-laced and hopefully Harvard bound, he makes daily lists in a planner. After the usual rocky start (she thinks he's dull and boring and he thinks she's childish and irresponsible) romance begins to blossom between the two teens as they work together to help save a local butterfly habitat. A few kisses are exchanged (one a breathless French kiss) and there's some mild profanity ("damn," "crap," "hell"). The novel is part of the series that includes When Dimple Met Rishi and There's Something About Sweetie.

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What's the story?

The Pinky in 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY is Priyanka Kumara, a 17-year-old passionate social activist. She's set up a raccoon hospital, gotten vegan makeup options for inmates in the local jail, and helped YouTube stars crowdfund ring lights. But for her lawyer parents (particularly her mother) none of this outweighs her bad choice in boyfriends. When Pinky and her parents join her aunt, uncle, and perfectly behaved cousin, Dolly, at their summer home on Cape Cod things get even worse between Pinky and her parents. Everyone believes that Pinky had been drinking with a local boy and their carelessness resulted in a barn on the property catching fire. Desperate to have them believe her, Pinky tells them she wouldn't have been out with a local boy because she already has a boyfriend. A boyfriend unlike any she's ever dated before. But that means she actually needs to produce that boyfriend. She decides that 17-year-old Samir Jha, whose internship at a Wahington, D.C., law firm has just fallen through, is the perfect candidate, He's everything her parents could hope for: He wants to apply to Harvard, dresses conservatively, and doesn't have an anti-establishment bone in his body. Pinky promises that if he'll join her family on Cape Cod and pretend to be her boyfriend, she'll get him a fall internship at her mother's law firm. Things, of course, don't get off to the best start. Pinky thinks Samir is a combination of a Boy Scout and a church choir boy. Samir thinks she's immature and irresponsible and even makes a list of the 10 things he hates about her. But as they continue to play boyfriend and girlfriend, pretend turns to reality and they fall in love. And when Pinky and Samir join local activists to help save a local butterfly habitat, Pinky discovers secrets from her mother's past that prove the two of them have more in common than she would ever have believed.

Is it any good?

This delightful romcom tackles serious issues, including conflict between teens and parents, discovering your best self, a parent who's battled cancer, and environmental activism. Like all of Sandyha Menon's novels, 10 Things I Hate About Pinky has a bright and funny storyline and a cast of ethnically diverse teen characters with which readers can easily identify.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how characters are misjudged in 10 Things I Hate About Pinky. Has anyone ever made a judgment about you that was based on something you did in the past? How difficult is it to change someone's mind once they've made a judgment about you?

  • Have you ever become friends with someone who was absolutely nothing like you? Why do you think the opposites-attract theme is so popular in teen romance stories? Do you think it's important for friends to share a lot of common interests?

  • Are there causes in your school or community you think it's important to support? If you've been a volunteer, what are the most important lessons you learned from the experience?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance

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