#ReadWithMC Reviews 'The Vibrant Years'

"If you're in need of a warm hug in book form—this is your book!"

Sonali Dev and the book cover for Vibrant Years
(Image credit: Courtesy of Sonali Dev)

For the first #ReadWithMC pick of 2023, readers dove into Sonali Dev's The Vibrant Years, a laugh-out-loud story full of love, regrets, and secrets. It follows three women of the Desai family—sixty-five-year-old Bindu, who just inherited a million dollars and moves to a swanky Florida retirement community, forty-seven-year-old Aly, Bindu's daughter-in-law who still lives at home with her, and Cullie, Aly's daughter and a tech genius who is on the brink of a career collapse. After an unexpected twist in Bindu's neighborhood, all three women come together, resulting in a heartfelt and emotional story. 

These unconventional female characters are especially what #ReadWithMC readers loved about The Vibrant Years. "Usually I'm not a character-driven girlie but this book had me hooked," writes @bookswithdans. "I liked every single character (Bindu was my fav tho), they all had such big personalities and were so fun to read about." @canwegoreadnow shared a similar sentiment, writing that "the characters were charming and had depth." 

Readers like @whatkarireads also fell for Dev's specific writing style. "What I appreciate about Dev's writing is her ability to blend light and dark into a wholly satisfying story," they write. "I love stories about strong women, and you get all three POVs in this story of relationships, secrets, second chances and romance."

Each month, we gather up the reviews of our virtual book club members so anyone else looking for their next great read has a collection of recommendations. Here's what #ReadWithMC readers had to say about The Vibrant Years. 

"✨book review✨
title: the vibrant years
author: sonali dev
genre: chick lit
pages: 368
rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

swipe to see me at the retirement community with this book 😂

🧠 my thoughts:
I usually don't read descriptions of books but when I was at target I happened to read this one and was instantly sold! I had to read it & immediately! After I hyped myself up with this book, it did not disappoint. It was so cute, so fun, made me LOL and was so easy to read. if you're in need of a warm hug in book form - this is your book!

👍🏼 what i liked:
Usually I'm not a character driven girlie but this book had me hooked!! I liked every single character (bindu was my fav tho), they all had such big personalities and were so fun to read about. Next, THE (ex) MIL DIL RELATIONSHIP!!! It was so refreshing that they got along, AND that their relationship was so sweet and special. Their love for one another never waivered, and these women never stopped fighting for the life they wanted. There are so many problems that arise, and the women all face them head on and lean on one another for support. There was dual POV which I really enjoyed because you really got to know each character from every angle! Lastly, this is a book I could see myself reading again when I need a feel good book that will make me laugh. Seriously read this you wont regret it!!

👎🏼 what i disliked:
Okay I had two major squabbles that held me back from giving it 5 stars - the first: I felt as though there were plot holes? Or maybe just too much going on at one times where I didn't pick something up that I should have? There were just times when I was confused. The second is the pacing of the book, it felt a bit inconsistent. There were times where it was action pact and you were flying through the pages, and other times where it was a lot slower.

✅ RECOMMEND?: YES! this one has a great setting, a great ending, and its truly a warm hug in book form! Pick this one up!"


"𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐕𝐈𝐁𝐑𝐀𝐍𝐓 𝐘𝐄𝐀𝐑𝐒 is the first book from Mindy Kaling's new imprint 'featuring romantic comedies, suspenseful dramas, and coming-of-age stories by a diverse range of emerging and established voices'

I fell for Sonali Dev's writing in her Raje series and it continues in this stand alone. What I appreciate about Dev's writing is her ability to blend light & dark into a wholly satisfying story. This novel is an intergenerational story about Bindu, Aly and Cullie- three Indian American women at different stages of life. I love stories about strong women, and you get all three POVs in this story of relationships, secrets, second chances and romance. I loved the dynamics between the three main characters as they deal with all those everyday, real-life things: pesky emotions, familial expectations, love, and insecurities."


"The Vibrant Years follows three generations of women in the Desai family - a grandmother, her daughter in law, and her grandchild - navigating a shared journey of self-discovery, which includes dating apps, past lovers, career roadbumps and an overly involved HOA. The main focus is on Bindu, the grandmother and family matriarch, who has had a secret from her past resurface.
. . .

E: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
'If Holly Jolly Diwali and Blush had a baby, it would be this book. This was a fun read! I really enjoyed the three generations of women MCs, and that the mother was the daughter in law of the grandma, not the daughter. I thought the subject matter was very real and that the characters were charming and had depth. There were a lot of mentions of vomit (??) and I thought the ending was a little rushed - I would’ve loved an epilogue updating us on Bindu, Aly and Cullie!'

The book in 3 emojis: ✉️💪💕

If you liked this...
📚 : Holly Jolly Diwali by @sonya_lalli and Blush by @jamiebrennerwrites
📺 : Never Have I Ever
🎧 : Follow Your Arrow by @spaceykacey


"REVIEW ☀️ The Vibrant Years


Overall, this was a good book! The three main characters were likeable throughout, but there were a few instances where I didn’t love the choices they were making. Once the story got going, it was pretty entertaining and kept me wanting to keep reading just to see how things are unfolding.

Y’all already know I love books with South Asian representation, so that was a huge plus. I also liked the multiple POVs, telling the same story in different ways."


Brooke Knappenberger
Associate Commerce Editor

Brooke Knappenberger is the Associate Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she writes across the board from fashion and beauty to books and celebrities. As a pop culture junkie, Brooke obsessively consumes and writes about the latest movie releases, streaming TV shows, and celebrity scandals. She has over three years of experience writing on fashion, beauty, and entertainment and her work has appeared on Looper, NickiSwift, The Sun US, and Vox Magazine of Columbia, Missouri. Brooke obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism with an emphasis on Magazine Editing and has a minor in Textile and Apparel Management.