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Book Review: There’s Something About Sweetie

There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

Published May 2019

Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Romance

378 pages

“If the word “fat” makes you cringe, I hope you’ll stop and examine why that is. What do you think when you see the word “thin”? My guess is nothing, or at least, nothing bad. So then, is there anything inherently wrong with being fat? Or have we just been conditioned to see the words “worthless” or “lazy” or “bad” instead of “fat”?”

Rating

Summary

Ashish Patel is having trouble with love and it’s messing with his life. His parents think they know what’s best for him, so Ash challenges them to set him up with a match that will work.

Enter Sweetie Nair, the Indian-American girl that Ash’s parents choose. She’s one of California’s best runners and an amazing singer. She’s also fat.

Sweetie and Ashish begin to date under a contract the Patels set up. For Ash, this is supposed to be about finding and appreciating his Indian culture. For Sweetie, it’s about creating the Sassy Sweetie Project to make everyone – including herself – know she’s more than her body weight. As time passes and the two get closer, they realize they don’t want to lose each other. But can they hold on to each other while they find their trues selves?

“There were few things that made her feel lonelier than conversations with her own mother.”

My Thoughts

This is a book I was so excited to get my hands on. I love Sandhya Menon’s writing, but the thing that had me most excited for this particular book was Sweetie Nair.

Sweetie Nair is fat. And her family, and others in her community, don’t let her forget it. Any time she eats, she has to put up with the judgement of others. Anytime she wants new clothing, it must cover up her skin. No matter what Sweetie does, she gets shamed for it because of her size. But despite her size, she’s healthy and confident.

This book is about Sweetie trying to prove to everyone that her weight doesn’t matter. This book has a fat rep that I appreciate so, so much. I know that it might not work with everyone, but this book helps us to see both sides of the situation, and I loved that. No, Sweetie isn’t always completely confident with herself, but she doesn’t let that get to her or affect who she is.

Also, Sweetie just has the best personality.

So what about Ashish? I didn’t remember much about him from when I read Dimple and Rishi, other than him being Rishi’s little brother and rebellious in nature. In fact, starting with this book, I wasn’t all that convinced I’d like Ashish. Right off, he seemed annoying and a bit on the “jock” stereotype, but as we get to know him, there’s so many things to love about him too.

Another thing I love about this book: the friendships. They’re all different. They’re all unique. They have good times and bad times. While Sweetie’s girls usually stick together and stand for one another, Ashish’s group often argues and is portrayed more roughly. Plus with Ash’s group, we see how dating and dating trouble plays into the friendship circle. And let’s not forget Pinky who is more rebellious than Ash ever thought to be. There was just so many different relationships going on, and they were all different and real and it works.

Some of the conversations and situations that happen in this book come off as too forced or “coincidental” at times, and I know that can make it hard for some readers. Especially since topics like fat shaming, body image, breakups or cheating are messy and are rarely responded to with perfect understanding. But this book is a light-hearted contemporary, and things are expected to wrap up happily and close to perfect in books like these.

If you enjoyed Dimple and Rishi (they do appear in this book!), or if you’re looking for a body positivity story, I’d recommend giving this a try. It’s a beautiful love story, fast paced, talks some about Indian culture, and gives what I feel is a good representation of fat shaming and reactions in friend and family dynamics.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: There’s Something About Sweetie

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