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There's Something About Sweetie

Book review by
Lucinda Dyer, Common Sense Media
There's Something About Sweetie Book Poster Image
It's what's on the inside that matters in sweet romcom.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

While only briefly described, Sweetie and Ashish's first dates do take readers to a Hindu temple and the Hindu festival of Holi (or Festival of Colors), where visitors dump packets of brightly covered powder over one another to celebrate the beginning of spring.

Positive Messages

You're not defined by what you look like on the outside.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sweetie grows in self confidence as the story unfolds. She refuses to see herself as simply a fat girl unworthy of dating a boy like Ashish and focuses instead on the things that make her special -- that she's a good friend, a straight-A student, and blazing fast on the track. Ashish never sees Sweetie's weight as a reason not to date her. He loves that she's an athlete and that's she's a good person at the core.

Violence
Sex

Some kissing.

Language

A few uses of "damn," "pissed," "hell," and "crap."

Consumerism

Passing mentions of movies (The Godfather, Sixteen Candles) and pop stars (Selena Gomez).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sandhya Menon's There's Something About Sweetie is the companion novel to her New York Times bestseller, When Dimple Met Rishi. Handsome, rich, and popular Ashish Patel is Rishi's 17-year-old younger brother. He's just been dumped by the last in a long line of non-Indian girlfriends, so his parents decide to take matters into their experienced hands. They did so well matching Rishi up with Dimple, they're certain they can do the same for Ashish. The Indian American girl they choose surprises everyone. Sweetie Nair is smart and athletic, a track star at her high school. She's also fat (the author's word). Because of that, Sweetie's mother refuses to even consider a date between her daughter and Ashish. When hopes for the match seem all but lost, Ashish's parents come up with a plan. The teens may start dating without Sweetie's parent's permission, but only if the Patels can choose where they'll go on their first dates. Like Menon's previous novels, this is a charming romantic story. Ther'es no violence. Sexual content is limited to kissing. There are a few uses of "damn," "pissed," "hell," and "crap."

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What's the story?

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT SWEETIE, but that something is complicated. While Sweetie Nair is smart, kind, and a blazing fast track star at her California high school, she's never had a boyfriend. And she's fat. Even her own mother is constantly fat shamming her, commenting on what she eats and telling her what kind of clothes she should wear to cover up her less than perfect body. Ashish Patel is rich, handsome, and a star athlete as well, playing basketball at his private school. His latest girlfriend has dumped him and he's certain his "mojo" is gone. Ashish's parents have a solution to that problem: They'll set him up with a nice Indian American girl. The girl they choose is Sweetie, but when they approach her parents about setting the two teens up on a date, Sweetie's mother is horrified by the idea. She tells Sweetie she's afraid people will laugh at her if they see her with a boy like Ashish. Sweetie gathers up all her self-confidence and sends a text to Ashish. When he replies and agrees to secretly meet her, Ashish finds a girl who is strong, intelligent, and, in his eyes, beautiful. But being teens who respect their parents and their traditional values, it doesn't look as if a relationship is in their future. Until Ashish's parents come up with seemingly crazy plan. They can date without the permission of Sweetie's parents, but the Patels will decide where they'll go on their first dates (a Hindu temple, the Holi Festival put on by the local Indian American Association, and a visit to Ashish's eccentric paternal great-aunt). Not only that, but Ashish and Sweetie must sign a Memorandum of Agreement that confirms the times and places of those dates. 

Is it any good?

This charming, sweet romantic comedy tackles the serious issue of body shaming and being judged only by how you appear on the outside. In There's Something About Sweetie, author Sandhya Menon once again features a seemingly unlikely love match between two Indian American teens. But this time, readers may find that the unfolding romance isn't quite as believable, as both Ashish and Sweetie often speak and behave in ways that make them seem wise way beyond their years. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the fat shaming that goes on in There's Something About Sweetie. Why do you think physical appearance is so often valued more than kindness or intelligence?

  • Both Ashish and Sweetie come from families that value and celebrate their heritage. What do you know about your family's history? Are any cultural traditions observed in your family?

  • When it comes to choosing a potential date, who would make a better choice, you or your parents?

Book details

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For kids who love romance and tales of positive body image

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