There's Something About Sweetie | Sandhya Menon
Sandhya Menon has done it again!
She returns with her third novel, There's Something About Sweetie, a companion novel to When Dimple Met Rishi, and it is oozing with cheesy goodness. It is highly anticipated after Bustle's website released a sneak peek, including the first chapter, in October 2018.
There's Something About Sweetie brings light to a new character named Sweetie Nair, a young track star with the record of being the second fastest in the state of California. She's sassy, she's fun, and she's everything that her mom doesn't want her to be. She's fat and her mother seems to resent the extra weight she holds in her daughter, and she carries it like an albatross on the neck.
Ashish Patel, the son of major influences in the Indian community in northern California, was completely dumped unapologetically by his girlfriend, Celia, good friends with his older brother and his girlfriend, Rishi and Dimple. Stuck at crossroads that lead to dead ends, he asks his parents, Sunita and Kartik, to match him up with an Indian girl, because if Rishi can end up in a long-term relationship through arranged pairs, who's to say he couldn't find his match too?
This leads to some pulling of strings, lunch at a high-end restaurant, and five hundred dollars worth of sweets, and eventually, Sweetie and Ashish are together! Not quite. There's way more to this novel than love at first sight. You could even call it love at first run if you want to think it that way. The familial and relationship drama runs deep, but our two protagonists, of which the book is told in both of their perspectives, prevail for themselves and each other.
The book itself is written very simply and there is a seemingly little margin for flowery language. The plot is mostly moved through dialogue. With that being said, the word "said" was used far too often for my likings. I would have liked to see more description, even just a change in speaking verbs, but that is just personal preference.
There was also redundancy in Sweetie's character. She has a project called "The Sassy Sweetie Project," which helps her to look past her weight and let the inner Sweetie, the part of her that we know and love as readers, shine for the whole world to see. In the second half of the book, it was almost as if her project swallowed up any piece of personality that Sweetie had and spit it back out in the last chapters. I know the repetitiveness is to drill it into the reader's mind, but I wonder if it was almost too much. It definitely edged on the border of just enough and too much for me.
However, these cons were small feathers on the balances compared to the heavy pros.
One of my favorite parts of the book was the integration of Indian culture in this book. A heavy theme in Menon's books, it is imperative for Indian teenagers to see themselves in books that have been written for the majority or even other people of color for many years, without much to account for with Indian teenagers. Menon changes that with her books and that is just beautiful to see her represent her culture through her passion. The inclusion of the traditional Anarkali dress and the date going to the temple was absolutely perfect, and Ashish finding a new appreciation for his culture is everything I could have hoped for.
The relationship between Sweetie and Amma totally changed as the book progressed and that was beautiful to see unfold. In the beginning, Amma, who is a thin and small lady, controls Sweetie's food intake as well as her exercise. By the end of the book, acceptance plays a large part in the overturn of their mother-daughter relationship and Amma accepts Sweetie for who she is and allows her to date Ashish.
In summary, it is a perfectly cheesy book that will attract people of all kinds, but especially those who have a soft spot for young adult fiction. I think There's Something About Sweetie fits perfectly on the shelf with When Dimple Met Rishi and From Twinkle With Love. People will be head over heels to get their hands on this book when it releases on May 14, 2019!
I rate the book 8 out of 10 parrots!
Large thank you to Sandhya Menon, Cassie Malmo, and Simon & Schuster for the digital advanced reader's copy so I could review this book!