Title: There’s Something About Sweetie
Author: Sandhya Menon
Series: Dimple and Rishi #2
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Published: May 14th, 2019 (Simon Pulse)
Synopsis: Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After being dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.
The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?
Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.
Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.
Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?
A huge thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with an eARC of this book! This was one of my most anticipated reads this summer and I was so excited to have the opportunity to read it early! While it’s not really necessary to have read When Dimple Met Rishi to understand this, it’s a great book and I would definitely recommend it. This review is spoiler-free!
Ashish Patel, star basketball player, is not in a very good place post breakup with his girlfriend and he’s lost his confidence. Annoyed by his parents’ comments that they could find someone perfect for him, he challenges them to set him up with an Indian-American girl like they did for his older brother Rishi. Sweetie Nair is the fastest runner on the track team, but she’s fat, which, in her mom’s view, is pretty much the end of the world, and it hurts Sweetie more than she lets on, constantly being told that she will have a great life only if she loses weight. Despite being a star athlete, she always feels like she has to prove herself to everyone, all because she isn’t skinny.
Ashish’s parents thinks Sweetie would be a good match for him – but the hitch is that Sweetie’s mom thinks she’s too fat to be dating anyone, much less someone popular like Ashish. Sweetie has had enough however, and after meeting Ashish regardless of her mom’s decision, they decide to date behind their parents’ backs, each of them out to prove something – both to themselves and to everyone around them. When the Patel parents find out, they’re not too happy, but agree to let them go ahead if they sign a contract and go on four planned dates of their choosing.
I seem to have a tendency to uniformly describe all of Sandhya Menon’s books as completely adorable – because they are! They’re genuine and sweet and oh so relatable! And this might just be my favourite book of her’s yet! Both Ashish and Sweetie were such amazing characters, so well-portrayed and realistic, and it was so much fun getting to know them. Both of them are unconsciously trying to live up to other people’s expectations of them, whether it is the effect that years of fatphobia has had on Sweetie or Ashish trying so hard to emulate his older brother whom everyone always praises to the skies. The relationship between Sweetie and her mom is also really well-written.
But even better than the story is the message within, one that is not necessarily only for teens or young adults, but for readers of all ages, to love yourself the way you are. The author’s note is lovely, so don’t skip it! We need more characters like Sweetie in YA, who challenge society’s expectations and standards of beauty.
I generally have a really hard time with contemporary novels, but I’ve never had that issue with any of Sandhya Menon’s books. There’s Something About Sweetie was such a marvellous book, with laugh-out-loud moments and engaging dialogue – a thorough entertainer, yet one that makes you think. If you liked When Dimple Met Rishi, I highly recommend this – I’d say it’s even better. A perfect summer read!
There’s Something About Sweetie is out on May 14th! Are you looking forward to it?