I love Sandhya Menon’s books and There’s Something About Sweetie was certainly no exception! I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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’s Something About Sweetie is told in dual POV and alternates between Ashish and Sweetie’s POV. Both POVs were well-written and the transitions between each one was seamless.
I adore Sweetie. She’s sassy, confident, and bold. Even though she doesn’t realize it from the beginning, you can tell that there really is something about Sweetie. Not only does she rock her curves with confidence, she also does what many girls wouldn’t dare to do and asks the boy she likes out. True, it isn’t a normal date or situation, but the sentiment remains. It was so fun to watch Sweetie turn that inner confidence outward and show others what she’s capable of, even when it was hard. I especially loved her relationship with her mom and how her own confidence played into that.
Ashish is everything I was hoping he would be. I had a feeling I would like him after his brief appearance in When Dimple Met Rishi and I wasn’t wrong, he’s a great character. He’s funny, genuine, and caring. I loved Ashish’s journey with his family and culture and it was great to see more of the vulnerability hinted at in WDMR.
The characters in this book really drive home the lesson of not judging someone based off how they look. Even though she’s the fastest on the track team and is comfortable in her body, Sweetie is constantly told she needs to lose weight and is worried about how people see her weight and not herself. Ashish acts confident in his charm, culture, and basketball skills but has a lot of insecurities about himself. These characters are admirable for how they develop and confront the challenges they’ve placed on themselves and that others have placed on them.
Ashish and Sweetie’s individual personalities fit so nicely together. Their relationship was really cute to see develop, especially considering their unique and uncomfortable situation (no spoilers!). Although the book ends with very strong feelings toward each other, their feelings seemed to develop in an overall realistic and natural way. I was impressed by how forthright both were when getting into their relationship. This is a YA contemporary romance, so we can pretty much tell exactly where its going, but Ashish and Sweetie’s journey there was full of realistic and relatable ups and downs. I love that Sandhya Menon always brings in realistic conflicts that aren’t overly dramatic and the resolutions are always hard for the characters to earn.
There was some really awesome friendship representation here. Ashish’s friend group had some of its own drama, but their dynamic was really fun and authentic. The role Samir played in this group was great and I really loved his character arc. Likewise, Sweetie’s friends were such advocates of girls supporting girls. They were funny and supportive friends who were literally about to fight someone with their high heels for Sweetie. Can’t get much better than that!
Like her other books, There’s Something About Sweetie was filled with a lot of humor, strong characters, and a fun plot with realistic themes. This is technically a follow-up book for When Dimple Met Rishi and, while I think you could read this before WDMR, I would highly recommend reading this second. Also, has anyone read the short story As Kismet Would Have It? What did you think?