Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Knockout
Author: Sajni Patel
Format: ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
A rising star in Muay Thai figures out what (and who) is worth fighting for in this #ownvoices YA debut full of heart.
If seventeen-year-old Kareena Thakkar is going to alienate herself from the entire Indian community, she might as well do it gloriously. She’s landed the chance of a lifetime, an invitation to the US Muay Thai Open, which could lead to a spot on the first-ever Olympic team. If only her sport wasn’t seen as something too rough for girls, something she’s afraid to share with anyone outside of her family. Despite pleasing her parents, exceling at school, and making plans to get her family out of debt, Kareena’s never felt quite Indian enough, and her training is only making it worse.
Which is inconvenient, since she’s starting to fall for Amit Patel, who just might be the world’s most perfect Indian. Admitting her feelings for Amit will cost Kareena more than just her pride–she’ll have to face his parents’ disapproval, battle her own insecurities, and remain focused for the big fight. Kareena’s bid for the Olympics could very well make history–if she has the courage to go for it.
I’m absolutely in love with so many things about this book. The diversity (her best friend is Filipino!), the characters, the sweet romance, and the inspiring sports and STEM aspects.
I absolutely adored Kareena’s character. Even though she is so young, her confidence and self-awareness and perseverance is so inspiring, yet still believable for someone her age. She still has a lot to learn, but I appreciated how NOT annoying it was to be in her head. She didn’t always make perfect decisions, but it was refreshing to read about a teenager who understood her strength and intelligence, despite outside influences.
Amit is also not your typical hero. He’s a little nerdy, super-smart, seemingly the perfect Indian boy who is dealing with his own teenage struggles. Kareena and Amit are an unlikely pair, but they work so well together.
I also adore Kareena’s parents. They are such a strong support system and remind me so much of my own parents – willing to give up everything for her dreams.
This book is not only entertaining reading this as an adult, but I’m so excited to think about all the young people who will pick up this book and see things through Kareena’s eyes. I hope she inspires them as she has inspired me.
Butterfly Rating: 2 Stars
Re-read Worthiness: Yes
Bookshelf Placement: Yes
Book Boyfriend Rating: 4 stars