There’s Something About Sweetie – Sandhya Menon – Simon Pulse – Published 14 May 2019
Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After he’s 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.
There’s Something About Sweetie is very true to its name – totally and utterly sweet in every way. Seriously. Unicorns and rainbows have nothing on the sweetness that is the story of Sweetie and Ashish. A story about first loves, first serious break-ups, family expectations, body positivity and embracing who you truly are.
Sweetie is an athlete, singer (she just doesn’t sing in front of anyone other than her best friends) and dutiful daughter. She just wishes her mother could support her in accepting and loving her and her body the way that it is. Fat. Ashish knows how to play the dating game. He’s good at it. Or was. Until his girlfriend dumped him for someone else. Now he’s lost all game – on and off the basketball court – and is even seriously considering having his parents set him up with a girl. But when Sweetie’s mother refuses to let Sweetie date Ashish because of the size of her body, Sweetie and Ashish start dating secretly, and they find themselves surprised at the way they connect.
Sandhya Menon’s books have been on my to-read list for a while now, so I was super excited to jump into There’s Something About Sweetie. While it’s my first of Menon’s books it certainly won’t be the last. From her note about body positivity that starts the novel to her vibrant and diverse characters and awesome (very sweet) love story, There’s Something About Sweetie had me grinning from the first page. Things did get a bit slow and slogged down in the middle and the ending was predictably drama-filled and (yep) sweet, but overall it was a fun and enjoyable contemporary YA novel.
I loved Sweetie. How could I not? She fun, kind, a great friend, an understanding daughter and yet determined to (gently and kindly) stand up for herself. She is only slightly conscious of her weight due to what others, especially her mother, tell her, but otherwise she embraces herself just the way she is, which I loved. I really enjoyed Sweetie’s chapters and her relationships with her friends and family. Ashish is perhaps the perfect match for Sweetie, and his support for her was great. However, I couldn’t fully connect with his story of heartbreak and how that could detract from his growing feelings for Sweetie. It seemed needed for the plot, I just couldn’t get on board emotionally (maybe I’m just a cruel and heartless person).
The Thing About Sweetie is a fun YA romance novel, lighthearted and easy to read.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: Body image, weight, dating, arranged relationships, romance, Indian, dating, breakups, singing, athletes.
Reading age guide: Ages 12 and up.
Advisory: Occasional coarse language, sh** (2), pi** (5).
Published: 14 May 2019 by Simon Pulse.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobooks. 384 pages.