The Knockout by Sajni Patel is a book I had been anticipating as I have never read anything about the sport of Muay Thai before. This one contains feminist messages and a main character who gains self-confidence, and I enjoyed the themes of cultural identity. While the concept of the book is excellent, I found most of the characters to be one-dimensional, and there are certain aspects I would have liked to see developed further.Title: The Knockout
Author: Sajni Patel
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: January 26, 2021
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 received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Review: The Knockout by S.A. Patel
This book follows Kareena, a Muay Thai fighter who gets the opportunity to compete in the US Muay Thai Open and overcomes many obstacles to get there. At the same time, she finds herself getting closer with a boy she tutors in computer science at her school. I have never read a book about Muay Thai before, and learning about the sport was interesting to me. I am also a big fan of books featuring women in sports and women in STEM, and the feminist messages in this one are strong since Kareena falls under both categories.
❀ Strong Main Character
Kareena herself is an incredibly strong main character, both physically and mentally. She is a talented Muay Thai fighter who is also dealing with her father’s illness. However, she never complains about this or uses it as an excuse. Further, Kareena’s character sparks discussions of cultural identity. She doesn’t feel “Indian enough,” and feels alienated from the community, partially because of her involvement in Muay Thai. I loved how Kareena continues to do what she loves regardless of judgment from others, and it is easy to feel her passion for Muay Thai.
❀ Feminist Messages
While I enjoyed the concept of this book, there are a few elements that fell flat for me. Many of the characters are one-dimensional, and I would have especially liked to see more of Amit, beyond him serving Kareena. I also found that as I kept reading, the focus of the story leans more towards romance and drama, which didn’t really interest me. However, I did enjoy the Muay Thai aspects and the feminist messages, so I continued reading for those.
❀ A Unique Story
The Knockout by Sajni Patel is a unique story about working hard to achieve your dreams. I loved learning about Muay Thai, and the main character is strong. However, there are some aspects of the book that I believe could have been developed further. That being said, this is still an entertaining read that I would recommend to fans of MMA.