About the author:
Sudeep Nagarkar is an Indian author, who has written two books prior to this one. His books are based around real life incidents. His books have been translated into regional languages as well.
Cover and blurb:
A story about love at first sight, and a relationship that quickly develops over the phone, with friends playing moral support and a twist that derails their love story. A nice cover design for the book as well.
Some stories are just so-so. You love some places and you don’t like some places at all. I’m not a die-hard romantic, but I do like love stories. This one is probably for the die-hard romantics.
The story is about Akash and Aleesha. The former is a young working guy, who enjoys his life and is very excitable. He and his best friend Aditya go to a discotheque where Akash meets Aleesha, who is new to Mumbai and has come to the disco with her family friend and roommate Tamanna. Aleesha is a pampered girl, who worries more about a chat message going through than checking her exam marks. They get talking, and soon exchange their BBM pins. Over BBM, they slowly fall in love, and courtesy Aditya, they meet often as well. Their relationship goes through ups and downs, but they are guided through it by their friends. Then something happens that gives a bigger hurdle to jump over.
Right… what I liked is the concept of friendship in the book. What Kritika is to Aleesha, and Aditya is to Akash, the narration of that was nice to read. It made me feel happy to see such friends. Another thing was that the novel wasn’t too mushy. It was stretching from love to sickly sweet love, but I didn’t feel like it crossed over. I like the concept of true love that is portrayed. The ending warranted that, and it got it. Some parts to ponder over, positively… the way Akash expresses his love for Aleesha, the notes of love of each character and the twists. But I feel this novel, when looked at with a little depth, is more about the exploration of relationships than just a love story. The narration from different points of view of characters was also a nice touch, and it felt right in place from the prologue to the introduction chapters. The overall pace of the story was quick, and I could finish it in a few hours.
What I feel can be better is the language. It feels childish at places, but works to give a little simplicity at others. You feel stuck with some things, when it should move on sooner. If there are sex scenes in the novel (sometimes this feels a little too much), I don’t quite see the need to censor a word or two in the middle. When I see a prologue, I feel the epilogue should match it. So when we go into flashback with a gloomy hero, the epilogue should be starting with the flashback ending, and headed toward the climax or finale, rather than just a conclusion of all characters. This is something that could have perhaps got the story elevated a little more.
I haven’t read much of Sudeep’s work, but I think I will read his first two sometime as well. As for this novel, it’s a decent book. It wasn’t the story of an online relationship after all. It’s a one-time read for me, and a book that is best for travel.
Title: It Started With A Friend Request
Author: Sudeep Nagarkar
Genre: Fiction / Romance
Publishers: Random House India
Price: INR. 125
(Aug 10th, 2013)