Meet the #girlpower-filled June read for Chloe's Book Club: From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon
Welcome back to Chloe’s Book Club! A community for book lovers from Chloe Lukasiak and Girls’ Life magazine. It's hard to believe that we're already introducing you to our *June* selection (trust us when we say it's the *perf* beach read!).
If you're new here, hi! Here's how this works: Each month we’re reading, discussing and obsessing over a new book; so if you haven’t signed up already, be sure to CLICK THIS LINK and officially join the club. (We’ll email you with Chloe’s Book Club updates, reading guides, special contests and giveaways, event invitations and more.)
Here's a quick guide to everything you'll find inside this post (and beyond). Just remember, *major spoilers* are ahead (so look for the spoiler ratings before you read!).
FROM TWINKLE, WITH LOVE — THE BOOK CLUB AT-A-GLANCE
+ The Recap
+ Chloe's Commentary
+ The Party-Planning Guide
+ Chloe's Discussion Questions
+ The Giveaway
+ Details on how to participate
+ Buy the book — and get 15% off with our B&N discount code!
Our June installment of Chloe’s Book Club stars From Twinkle, With Love, a deeply human story of art, aspirations and love from Sandhya Menon, author of When Dimple Met Rishi. To get 15% off your copy, head over to Barnes & Noble and use the code chloereads at checkout (offer available through through June 30, 2018). Pssst: Be sure to share this exclusive code with all the babes in your book club!
Ready to get started? Read on...
Spoiler level: Moderate
According to aspiring filmmaker Twinkle Mehra, there are two types of people in her Colorado Springs high school: the "silk-feathered hats" and the "groundlings." Silk-feathered hats—like her classmates Hannah, Victoria and longtime crush Neil—are popular, pretty and rich. Groundlings, in contrast, are the unpopular have-nots.
The Indian-American teenager at the center of From Twinkle, With Love perceives herself to be a groundling, but she’s got a plan to "shed her cloak of invisibility" and upgrade to silk-feathered hat status: She’ll direct her own film—a gender-bent version of Dracula—and showcase it in front of all of her classmates at Midsummer Night, her school's student talent showcase.
Becoming a notable female filmmaker is not all Twinkle wants out of her directorial debut, though. With her life-long best friend, Maddie, slipping away and into the popular crowd and the swim-team hottie Neil totally out of reach, Twinkle wants nothing more than for this endeavor to turn her into a bright and shiny new version of herself—one that brings her bestie back by her side and makes her "the Alia Bhatt to [Neil's] Shahid Kapoor."
“This movie’s my big shot. I’m ready to show the world what I have inside me.”
But despite Twinkle's good intentions, not everything goes to plan. She's so set on becoming someone new that she fails to recognize the greatness that already exists within her. The person who really sees her? Her producer Sahil—Neil's twin brother—who's been crushing on Twinkle since elementary school. And depsite having a major connection with him, Twinkle pushes Sahil away in favor of Neil. (Well, in favor of the possibility of maybe one day being noticed by him.)
Twinkle is bold and determined, and she tells her story through honest and relatable diary entries penned to notable female filmmakers (Mira Nair, Ava DuVernay and Sofia Coppala, to name a few). What unfolds over the course of the month of rehearsals, filming and editing is superbly cinematic—it's impossible not to picture rain-soaked Twinkle and Sahil tucked up in a log cabin in the woods together—and reveals a girl who is sensitive, talented and incredibly ambitious.
This book is about about speaking your mind even if your voice shakes. It's about letting your life path unfold in front of you, rather than attempting to plan every single moment. Its about being unapologetically you, and all the life lessons that come from doing just that. But most of all, it's about needing to be seen not just as the person you are now—whether that's a groundling or a silk-feathered hat—but as the person you hope to become.
Spoiler level: High
There are so many different things I *loved* about From Twinkle, With Love. From how fiercely feminist Twinkle is to the lessons on popularity and fitting in, I found myself yelling “Me!!!” at the turn of almost every page.
But what struck me most about this story is the strong bond between Twinkle and her BFF Maddie. The two have been best friends for years, but after Maddie starts hanging with a more popular crowd, Twinkle feels abandoned and hurt—and that's a feeling I know all too well.
When I switched from public school to home school, I ended up drifting apart from a lot of my friends. It took me a while to realize that, even though they were great friends to me, a part of our friendship was based on convenience—it was easy to be friends because we saw each other in school every day. Losing them was really tough.
Trying to branch out and find new friends—both in Los Angeles where I was working and at home in Pennsylvania—wasn't easy either. I had to take a step back and think about what it is that I wanted in a friend. Soon enough I realized that, for me, it was all about finding people who are kind, loyal and, TBH, able to understand my weird sarcasm. Just like how Twinkle forges new frienships with Sahil, Skid, Aaron and Brij, I eventually found a new crew, too.
I even got closer to some of my Dance Moms friends, like Kendall Vertes and Kalani Hilliker. Kendall and I will spend hours on the phone together just catching up. I know that if I’m feeling nervous about something I can to go to her and she’ll give me a amazing pep talk—she’s literally my hype girl. And no matter where Kalani is in the world or what time it is, she'll always be my shoulder to lean on.
Recently, I was on the verge of a major meltdown (you know, one of those fun “everything is falling apart” moments!) over my realization that I'd become somewhat anti social and started pushing people away. But as soon as I called Kalani, I felt better. She listened, she understood and, like any good friend, she made me laugh.
That’s not to say that my friends and I don’t fight. I remember one time on tour I got into an argument with someone (I won’t say who!) over a blanket. A blanket. We are both super stubborn, so we didn’t talk for like an hour, but eventually we we both said, “Okay, this is silly” and went on with our lives. Being able to move on from something without any lingering passive aggressive feelings is the sign of a true friendship.
And *that’s* how you know that Twinkle and Maddie are meant to be best friends. Sure, they had their fair share of disagreements. But at the end of it all, they were able to talk things out. And by the time the credits rolled, they were closer than ever before.
Spoiler level: Low
Movies are obvi a *huge* part of Twinkle's life. Not only does she love making them, but she loves watching and analyzing them, too. So once you're done reading From Twinkle, With Love, call up your crew for an awesome movie night with all the fixings. Here's what you'll need...
There's never been a more perfect moment to show off your inner film nerd and bust out your fave movie-inspired tee. Whether its a well-worn Nora Ephron or a Blair Witch Project shirt, pair your one-of-a-kind piece with a tulle skirt to mimic Twinkle's Midsummer Night ensemble. Twist up some soft waves and add a pop of eye shadow for major Twinkle-at-the-carnival vibes. And just like that, you're ready for an amazing night of cinema!
Next to picking out the perf flick, creating the ultimate cozy space to kick back in is the most important element in an amaze movie night. Not all of us have home theaters like Maddie, but you can do one better by rounding up all the blankets and pillows in your house to create the ultimate living room lounge situation.
You can stick to your laptop or flatscreen for the big event, *or* take it one step further by tacking up a plain white sheet on the wall for an even bigger display. Pair it with a DIY smartphone projector for serious #theatervibes.
Mix up speciality bevvies inspired by the movies on your to-watch list. A Black Panther screening calls for Wakanda-inspired punch and watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for the hundreth time means *all* the Butter Beer.
Follow in the footsteps of BFFs Twinkle and Maddie by mixing up an over-the-top popcorn combo. You can keep it classic like them with extra butter, M&M’s and caramel sauce. Or, go your own route with a Muddy Buddy mix or a sweet Snickers recipe.
After you talk all things Twinkle? Watching movies, of course! Go full marathon with the an epic series, or watch a classic like Dracula, the film that inspired Twinkle and Sahil. No matter what you watch, you can't go wrong with some seriously amazing flicks and equally fab friends by your side.
Spoiler level: High
1. On page 31, we learn about Twinkle’s strained relationship with her mother. Everyone’s relationship with their mom is different—what's your relationship with yours like? How do you think that relationship has shaped you as a person? If your mom is not present or active in your life, talk about how that might have an affect on you.
2. On page 61, Twinkle begins receiving emails from a secret admirer. When the messages first started, who did you think they were from? Were you surpised when you found out who her secret admirer actually was? What do you think this plot element added to the story?
3. On page 104, one of Twinkle's classmates makes a degrading comment to her about women. Instead of shrinking away or laughing it off, Twinkle shoots back at him, saying, "...I do not appreciate you saying what you said on the basis of my gender. Let’s not further those outdated patriarchal stereotypes..." And she does so in an even and self-assured tone. Why was it important for Twinkle to stand up for herself? What can we learn from her actions?
4. On page 105, Twinkle examines her relationship with Maddie, saying, "Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to clutch at drips and drabs of my old best friend, hoping she’s still in there somewhere." Have you ever grown apart from a best friend? What factors brought your friendship to that point? What did you do to bridge the gap? What elements do you think make a strong friendship?
5. Twinkle and Brij are Indian-American, Sahil and Neil are half-Indian and Maddie is Japanese-American. The author made a clear choice to diversify the book's characters. What is the signifigance of this choice? How do you feel this choice enriches the storyline? How would this story be different if the characters were different ethnicities?
6. On page 207, Lewis admits that he did not rehearse his lines for his scene. Already having had a stressful day on set, Twinkle loses it. She lashes out against him—as well as Maddie, Victoria and Brij—for forgetting his lines, throwing everyone into stunned silence and halting production for the day. Do you think that Twinkle's anger was warranted? Was her outburst appropriate? What do you think *actually* caused her to act this way? Have you ever felt like she does in this scene? Explain.
7. On page 306, Hannah, one of Maddie's new silk-feathered hat friends, finds it in her to apologize to Twinkle for treating her unfairly. What do you feel is the value in apologizing? What was the last thing you apologized for? How did it make you feel afterward and what affect did it have on your relationship with that person?
8. The entire story is told through Twinkle's dairy entries to people she admires: famous female filmmakers. If you were to replicate this same concept with people you look up to, who would you write to? What would you tell them? Do you find value in journaling? Why or why not?
One aspiring filmmaker will win a point-and-shoot camera to direct your very first movie, film vlogs, snap photos—you name it! You'll also win a copy of From Twinkle, With Love signed by author Sandhya Menon.
Ready to enter—and, fingers crossed, win? Here's how: 1) CLICK HERE to sign up for the Chloe’s Book Club newsletter (you must be on the newsletter list to win!). 2) Make sure you're logged into your GL account, then scroll down to the bottom of this post and click on the pink "Enter" button as many times as you want between now and June 30 at 11:59 P.M. EST. 3) We'll announce one winner right here on Monday, July 2. Good luck!
So you've read the book and you're ready to talk all things Twinkle? Wondering *exactly* how Chloe’s Book Club works and what it means to be a member? There are so many ways you can get involved—whether it’s solo, on social media or with your whole squad. Here's a quick list…
+ SOLO. Take your personal reading game to the next level by using Chloe's discussion questions as a guide for your own journaling and personal reflection. If you love to read, it could be fun to start a special book diary where you keep track of all your favorite novels—and the personal musings they inspired.
+ ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Share your thoughts on From Twinkle, With Love, using the hashtags #chloesbookclub and #fromtwinklewithlove on Twitter and Instagram. (Just remember: You have to have a public account for us to be able to see and respond to your posts!)
+ WITH YOUR SQUAD. Host an IRL book club party, of course! Check out the "party-planning guide" section above for deets and ideas. (And don't forget to send us your cute snaps—we want to share them!)
ICYMI: Our besties at Barnes & Noble are hooking you up with 15% off your copy of From Twinkle, With Love—so be sure share this exclusive offer with all the babes in your book club! Click here to find the book on the B&N website. When you get to checkout, type in the code chloereads and hit "apply." Proceed with checkout as usual.
And...that's it! Click the pink button below (you must be logged in) to enter the giveaway. Good luck, book clubbers!