Title: There’s Something About Sweetie
Series: Dimple and Rishi #2
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Page Length: 378
Age Range: YA
Goodreads Synopsis: 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?
I’m so glad I finally picked up There’s Something About Sweetie! It was the perfect, positive book to start of 2021!
I found this book to be super sweet, but still very empowering for those who are overweight. Sweetie doesn’t let being “fat” define her, but like most of us it can be hard to ignore those around us constantly putting us down because of society’s definition of beauty and health! She constantly feels like she has to prove herself in order for anyone to see her for who she really is! There were moments where we got to see Sweetie’s evil inner voice and how, someone who is normally so confident, that voice can beat us down if we let it.
It also explores the difficulties of having family believe (or portray it as a belief) that you are worth less based on your body/appearance. I felt that Menon handled this topic super well. It felt realistic – despite it’s well wrapped up ending for it. Menon explored the idea that despite some not seeing weight as an issue, how family can still have it in their head that others are only saying that. Sweetie’s mom is the main culprit for making Sweetie feel like her weight is what defines her – and this is something I understand. My mom has had issues with her weight and has been on a number of diets (some successful, others not) – some of the diets she had enlisted me on despite (at the time) a weight not being an issue for me. My dad also had a tendency to belittle us based on weight – including jokes and making us feel like we are less because of it. I don’t think my parents meant harm and Sweetie’s mom was under the impression that she was protecting Sweetie. Despite this connection, I did not feel that this conflict was trigger – at least not for me.
I would have loved more interactions with the friend groups. They seemed to have a fair amount of importance to the main characters, but they always felt like additives that weren’t given enough screen time. There were moments where they felt like they were clearly being used to move the plot along or to show that one character has an issue with this or a support for that. There were points where I was getting side characters (friends) confused with one another. A little more development because of their great impact on the overall story would have been nice.
I found both characters super sweet! There really is no other way to describe them other than the super, sugary sweet characters that they were. Sadly, I did not believe the “bad boy/player” image that Ashish was suppose to have. I was convinced of Sweetie’s innocence – but I do not believe this to be a bad thing. She was so sweet and innocent – she hasn’t had a boyfriend (at 16) and most of her friends seem to have a lot of PG experience. There was very little sexual talk – talking about kissing and making up (all very PG as I’ve said). The dates that the characters go on are super fun and remind me of Dating Makes Perfect (review), where the parents pick out very “parent friendly” places/experiences. Despite them being very wholesome, it felt like they were the perfect fit for Ashish/Sweetie.
Overall, I felt this was a sugary sweet romance that had many wholesome vibes and empowerment for those with body/weight issues. I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoyed Dating Makes Perfect by Pindip Dunn, I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee, and Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy.