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. 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?
There is certainly something about Sweetie. And it’s amazing. When I saw the cover for this book, I fell completely head over heals. It’s a fat girl, an amazingly happy fat girl on the cover of a mainstream YA book. Before I even read the book, the cover meant so much to me. It is truly a gift. And the book only adds to that.
I have struggled with body image issues for a very long time and I’ve only recently started addressing them. I dunno, it’s basically just a jumbled mess in my head. But I do know that how much it meant to see a girl who is basically the same size as me be the heroine in her own book. She was gorgeous, she was strong, she was sweet. And she was fat. She was normal and she was fat and that wasn’t a bad thing. The word fat is everywhere in this book and Sweetie never uses it in a negative way. I needed to see that. And I think so many other teens are going to need that as well.
Along with the amazing fat rep was an amazing story. There’s just something special about Sweetie. I found myself drawn to her. She’s incredible. I loved how she went threw life trying to feel comfortable in a world that told her she shouldn’t feel comfortable.
I also liked getting to know Ashish! It was fun being able to be in his friend group and see how he thinks. It was cool how everybody saw him as completely put together, when he had so much inner turmoil going on.
Another one of my favorite parts was how teenage all these characters felt. I literally felt myself in their actions and for me, that’s really rare. They act and speak like their age. Their minds aren’t perfect and sometimes incredibly flawed. They don’t always see reason that’s right in front of them. AND THAT’S FREAKING REALISTIC. Not only did I get to see myself in Sweetie, but I got to see my teenage self through every single teenage character. Ah, it was so awesome.
I like to describe this book as eating cotton candy (if you like cotton candy haha). It’s so sweet it practically melts in your mouth. It’s gone way too fast. This book is basically a big ball of love. I think that’s what at the heart of it. It’s about loving your culture, loving each other, and loving yourself. It packs so many meaningful messages into one amazing book. I want to shove it into everybody’s hands.
I’m not quite sure how to wrap this up other than to say that I’m so grateful that this book exists and that I was given the chance to read it early. I adored it so much and I’m so, so happy it exists. I cannot wait for everybody to read it.
Thank you for reading!