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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-e 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.


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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-e 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.

30 review for The Knockout

  1. 5 out of 5

    Reading_ Tam_ Ishly

    Into the first chapter, I was like 'okay! Calm down! We all want to stay alive while reading this book!' Into the second chapter, I was like 'whoa! Did she just turn mellow and all girly? Is there an insta romance happening right there? Are we even talking about the same person from the first chapter?' Then into the third chapter, I was like 'Okay I am so not buying the emotions. Is something wrong with me?' Into the fourth chapter, I was wishing the 'too-hyped-up-character-vibes' to die down a bit Into the first chapter, I was like 'okay! Calm down! We all want to stay alive while reading this book!' Into the second chapter, I was like 'whoa! Did she just turn mellow and all girly? Is there an insta romance happening right there? Are we even talking about the same person from the first chapter?' Then into the third chapter, I was like 'Okay I am so not buying the emotions. Is something wrong with me?' Into the fourth chapter, I was wishing the 'too-hyped-up-character-vibes' to die down a bit. Because it was like I was running uphill without getting a break in between. I can understand the coach vibes, the dream vibes, the family-parent vibes but I just couldn't join in their vibes. Maybe I am not a sportsperson much eh? (But I do enjoy other sports fiction and I have cried over them.) No, I am not going chapter wise thoughts anymore because the next few chapters just gave me similar vibes. The writing style is just too 'hyped' for me. I can understand that it's a sports fiction meant to make the character appear stronger amidst all the difficulties she faces but it just seems like a bit too over-enthusiastic and the writing seems a bit too repetitive and sounds a bit like every other chicklit novel. And I do feel that the cultural background representation is being represented poorly instead of letting the readers see or know a bit more about the culture. No, it just cannot be done with 'An Indian thing.' As for the romance, I just couldn't get the connection. Now and then so many cultural issues are brought up which have been dealt with poorly or represented rather insufficiently. For the later half of the story, I completely lost the desire to get motivated. I just followed the characters. It's so Bollywood I would say! But not in a happy way. Thanks #NetGalley for the book #TheKnockout

  2. 4 out of 5

    Fanna

    An Indian-American athlete and aspiring Olympian, who is bound to devote her limited time to the household too, finds herself in the middle of clashing aims: to land a chance at a prestigious competition and to belong in a community she isn't attached to much. Refreshing in the manner it diverges from the typical perspective of a diaspora teen always chasing a sense of belonging and instead focusing on how an identity shouldn't be boxed, the conflict arising amidst struggles and dreams is a wond An Indian-American athlete and aspiring Olympian, who is bound to devote her limited time to the household too, finds herself in the middle of clashing aims: to land a chance at a prestigious competition and to belong in a community she isn't attached to much. Refreshing in the manner it diverges from the typical perspective of a diaspora teen always chasing a sense of belonging and instead focusing on how an identity shouldn't be boxed, the conflict arising amidst struggles and dreams is a wonderful aspect of this contemporary that highlights supportive parents against a commonly conservative community. The hardworking, proud, and stubborn personality of Kareena—a Muay Thai champion—is amusing in contrast to the love interest, Amit—an ideal Indian boy, and their romance, while cheesy and cliché at instances, is adorable for a competitive premise. Different in terms of storyline and diverse in terms of a benevolent friendship with Lily, a Filipino-American, this YA sports fiction is invigorating and gives a kickass desi heroine, despite the dissatisfactory pacing and underdevelopment of side characters. ↣ an early digital copy received via netgalley but review remains uninfluenced. ↢ blog | ko-fi | twitter March 7, 2020: My desi heart is flipping right now because I'm genuinely so excited to read this! A brown sports-romance is what I needed in life and now it's here.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Creya

    Thank you to the author and Flux Books for providing a physical copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This book was EVERYTHING! Kareena Thakkar, a badass Muay Thai fighter, tells her story in raw fashion. She often worries about sharing her passion with others in fear of being judged. When given the opportunity to attend the US Open, she begins to rethink her current strategy. We watch her navigate through friend breakups, a school crush, and even overwhelming debt. This gave me all Thank you to the author and Flux Books for providing a physical copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This book was EVERYTHING! Kareena Thakkar, a badass Muay Thai fighter, tells her story in raw fashion. She often worries about sharing her passion with others in fear of being judged. When given the opportunity to attend the US Open, she begins to rethink her current strategy. We watch her navigate through friend breakups, a school crush, and even overwhelming debt. This gave me all the Dimple and Rishi vibes.... but BETTER! I can’t wait for more from Sajni Patel.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nicole| Booklover.zzz | Zamudio-Román

    Wow! That story was very compelling, I’m not gonna lie. The main character has a very distinct voice which I loved! At no point did it come across as boring or slow. Indian-American Muay Thai fighter teen, Kareena Thakkar experiences an extraordinary coming of age through friendship, cultural experiences, family, romance, and fighting. She struggles against sexism and questioning the appropriateness women to partake in such a sport. Not only that, but she also has to overcome identity struggles. Wow! That story was very compelling, I’m not gonna lie. The main character has a very distinct voice which I loved! At no point did it come across as boring or slow. Indian-American Muay Thai fighter teen, Kareena Thakkar experiences an extraordinary coming of age through friendship, cultural experiences, family, romance, and fighting. She struggles against sexism and questioning the appropriateness women to partake in such a sport. Not only that, but she also has to overcome identity struggles. Readers need more inspiring, diverse books like this one. Even with all the positive things there are to say about this book, there are also some criticism I have about for it. There was needless backstory dumping and excuses as to why things were to satisfy the reader. We can live without knowing the smallest of unnecessary details that’ll take up paragraphs and we don’t need excuses. I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves sports-related MG/YA or Manga/Graphic Novels. **Thank you Netgalley, Sajni Patel, and North Star Editions for the opportunity to read digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.**

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bree Lauren

    ARC received in exchange for an honest review. 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. ARC received in exchange for an honest review. 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷ ♠

    my MMA loving heart needs this book

  7. 5 out of 5

    The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)

    Full Review on The Candid Cover 3.5 Stars 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. This book follows Kareena, a Full Review on The Candid Cover 3.5 Stars 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. 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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    belle ☆ミ (thisbellereadstoo)

    actual rating: 3.5 stars Received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion. full review on my blog~ Badass Kareena Thakkar is a fantastic Muay Thai fighter. The future ahead of her promises an invitation to the US Muay Thai Open and maybe the Olympics. Between school and her Muay Thai trainings, Kareena has no time to deal with any romantic connections. Inconveniently, though, Amit Patel appears in her life and she’s moved. The Knockout is about Kareena feeling conflicted about her de actual rating: 3.5 stars Received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion. full review on my blog~ Badass Kareena Thakkar is a fantastic Muay Thai fighter. The future ahead of her promises an invitation to the US Muay Thai Open and maybe the Olympics. Between school and her Muay Thai trainings, Kareena has no time to deal with any romantic connections. Inconveniently, though, Amit Patel appears in her life and she’s moved. The Knockout is about Kareena feeling conflicted about her detachment to her Indian community and struggling with her insecurities as an Indian girl athlete. Though she might say that she isn’t affected by her community’s perceptions or their opinions, the fact is she really cares about what they are saying. It’s driven into the readers so much that I felt that it got a little too repetitive after a while. Kareena’s father has advanced renal disease which, without proper care, might lead to the worst scenario. Throughout The Knockout, Kareena’s parents continuously pushed her to continue with her Muay Thai trainings and everything that went along with it even when money was tight. They wanted the best for her and they did their best to provide it. The relationship in this loving family brought tears to my eyes whenever her parents refused for her to give up and insisted that she shouldn’t care if other people didn’t think that Kareena’s Indian enough or that an Indian girl shouldn’t be participating in such a “violent” sport. Love interest, Amit Patel, is a sweetheart and super smart. Despite his appearance as a perfect Indian boy, Amit is dealing with his own problems and insecurities. Lily and, subsequently, the other girl athletes were such great support system for Kareena who needed their push once in a while. Overall, The Knockout was an interesting read about an Indian girl who doesn’t connect with her own community and who is fighting against the norm about how an Indian girl should be like. Kareena’s independent and mature whenever it came to her family but she can be extremely stubborn when it came to romance and Amit. Still, I enjoyed the book and had fun.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mahnoor Waqas (she.reads.too.much)

    I got this book as an ARC by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review! Thank you for the opportunity to review this #ownvoices book. An Indian girl who's into Muay Thai and is also simultaneously battling with the judgements of the people of the Indian community who seem to think she's deviating from the norms? I was immediately intrigued. As a Pakistani girl, I could relate to the whole conservative views of most desi people, that girls taking part in rough contact sports is something to be d I got this book as an ARC by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review! Thank you for the opportunity to review this #ownvoices book. An Indian girl who's into Muay Thai and is also simultaneously battling with the judgements of the people of the Indian community who seem to think she's deviating from the norms? I was immediately intrigued. As a Pakistani girl, I could relate to the whole conservative views of most desi people, that girls taking part in rough contact sports is something to be disgusted at. However, I really loved how strong Kareena was in her conviction, and didn't care a lot about what people thought as long as she could do what she loved. She struggled with doubts now and then because she didn't think she could belong to the Indian community if she deviated from their norms. Here's what I liked about this book: 1) accurate Indian rep, with good representation of conservative folks of the community. Sure, the narrow minded values upheld by the community were problematic but unfortunately it still reigns true in real life. 2)Kareena's parents and how they struggled and did everything to support Kareena. It must have been very difficult to break the toxic stereotypes of the Indian community and in a way be cut off from them. Her father had health problems and the financial strain was beating down on them yet Kareena's parents didn't back down from supporting her. Kareena herself felt very guilty and tried to shoulder some of the burden despite her parents' protestations. I love the whole family. It was so wonderful to see the love they shared with each other. 3) The positive body message; that girls shouldn't be expected to have a certain body and everyone's bodies are beautiful the way they are, especially athlete girls who have muscles and abs aren't any less girls because of their body! I loved how the author slammed down all misogynistic ideas! 4) girls supporting girls is my weakness and I loved how this book had this element. I really liked Kareena's internal conflict about hiding her passion from her classmates because she felt judged. She was so pleasantly surprised when her classmates did everything they could to support her dream. This taught us that we aren't as alone as we think we are and that kind people are around us everywhere. Now, what I didn't like : 1) The writing style was a bit forceful and inconsistent. The first chapter started out wonderfully, but in the next I felt like there was a sort of insta love between Kareena and Amit which was a bit confusing because they didn't seem to be strangers but were portrayed as such. 2) I didn't like how skeptical Kareena was of every nice thing Amit did for her. I get it she has been judged by every Indian she has met but even after Amit more than proved himself that he wasn't the judgemental sort, she still refused to give him the benefit of the doubt and continued to doubt him. I'd have felt really annoyed if I was Amit.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Janae

    Thank you Flux and Netgalley for providing me an ecopy of this title for honest feedback. I feel like sharing a pretty large secret with you that many don't know. I LOVE boxing. I adore it. I like doing it. I like watching it. If I had a dream job, boxing would be it! When I was asked to review this I jumped at it! This book didn't disappoint. In my copy I was immediately drawn in by the foreword. Patel shares a very emotional aspect of why this book is important and I adored that. I enjoyed that th Thank you Flux and Netgalley for providing me an ecopy of this title for honest feedback. I feel like sharing a pretty large secret with you that many don't know. I LOVE boxing. I adore it. I like doing it. I like watching it. If I had a dream job, boxing would be it! When I was asked to review this I jumped at it! This book didn't disappoint. In my copy I was immediately drawn in by the foreword. Patel shares a very emotional aspect of why this book is important and I adored that. I enjoyed that the Kareena had a passion that was viewed as something outside of her culture and yet her parents supported her 100%.The family dynamics in this were #goals! The friendships in this were typical high school with a dash of class. I thought Patel showcased beautifully the harshness of high school while also showing that one or two solid friends can make life divine. The love interest here was adorable. It took awhile to get to but it was so fun once we got there. I cried over the support that Kareena recieves in a few instances in this novel. Great job Patel!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ariel

    This book! No!! I had really high hopes for it and it just flopped so hard. The synopsis had sounded so intriguing and I was so excited about this book. It really was a great idea going in, but just executed wrong. The biggest thing for me was the dialogue. It was awkward and sometimes, choppy and didn't have enough descriptions in it. I would oftentimes have to backtrack to figure out who was talking or would have to take a guess at what they were feeling while saying their lines. Without good d This book! No!! I had really high hopes for it and it just flopped so hard. The synopsis had sounded so intriguing and I was so excited about this book. It really was a great idea going in, but just executed wrong. The biggest thing for me was the dialogue. It was awkward and sometimes, choppy and didn't have enough descriptions in it. I would oftentimes have to backtrack to figure out who was talking or would have to take a guess at what they were feeling while saying their lines. Without good dialogue, this book went downhill fast for me. I tried to overlook the dialogue at first because I was just so intrigued by the idea of this book, but even that quickly failed me. It started off slow and pretty much kept a slow and steady pace throughout the whole story (and that didn't win the race for me). One thing that I did like and was super appreciative of was the body positive-ness of the book. Our main character is very fit and has lots of muscles to show off, which she always felt made her look more like a guy than a girl. I liked seeing her confidence grow as she became friends with other people with strong and muscular bodies and just seeing as she came to love her body. It was a really nice character development. Overall, this book was not too great, but one had the potential to be. I think that's what saddens me the most. Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Blog • Instagram • Twitter

  12. 4 out of 5

    Silvia (roomforbooks)

    2.5 CWs misogyny, bullying Rep Indian American mc, Indian American li, Filipina American side character, Indian side characters I received an early copy of this from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review I rarely read the blurb of a book before starting it but I don't know why with this one I did and it was exactly that that drew me in, I'd never read a book where the main character did martial arts, Muay Thai in this case and it seemed like an original story. I always say thi 2.5 CWs misogyny, bullying Rep Indian American mc, Indian American li, Filipina American side character, Indian side characters I received an early copy of this from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review I rarely read the blurb of a book before starting it but I don't know why with this one I did and it was exactly that that drew me in, I'd never read a book where the main character did martial arts, Muay Thai in this case and it seemed like an original story. I always say this but I love when novels have author's notes explaining the how and the why of the story so I was pleased to find one at the beginning of this one, it helped me ease into the story. Unfortunately if the first 20% was easy and enjoyable, after that the story got gradually more boring and repetitive (especially the drama between the mc and the li), I often found myself reading without reading, I would literally start thinking about something else and realize after 4/5 pages. And this was mostly because the narration wasn't engaging enough: yes, the mc was training for a big competition, her father had some health issues and she was starting to catch feelings for this boy but was in denial; what kept me from enjoying fully the story was that all these elements were like items on a grocery list, listed and alternated over and over again in a kind of emotionless and unenthusiastic way and this leads to my second problem with the novel: the characterization, the characters were sadly one-dimensional, most of their actions didn't feel natural but forced, like puppets on a string, they didn't really come to life. Now let's talk about the characters in particular: the main character Kareena is a Muay Thai fighter who's very unsure about her Indian identity and has a weird fetish about her Filipina best friend's natural hair (which.. no), the main problem with her was that she was the embodiment of the expression "ahah just kidding.. unless?", she was constantly repeating how she didn't care what people thought or said about her, didn't care that they judged her because she was a girl who did Muay Thai, didn't care other Indians didn't consider her Indian enough, except she did, her thoughts focused only on others' perception of her, she was always worrying about that and nothing else and it got kind of annoying after a while. What I liked about her: she was independent and mature when it came to her family problems, she always tried to help and didn't want to be kept in the dark. The love interest Amit was just as poorly characterized, he was only there to start "drama" with Kareena and not even the good kind, instead of being his own character he was only there because of her, to support her story. Kareena's parents were the only characters I actually liked: they felt more realistic, I like that they weren't too traditionalist and I found their relationship with their daughter refreshing. The romance was okay, a bit tepid, it was well-paced but again, there was a lot of repetitive back and forth between Kareena and Amit and I think it could've been avoided. The story had great potential, I really wanted to enjoy it and it's a pity I did not.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gina Carra

    This book stood out to me as something I had to read since I trained in Muay Thai for a few years, and Patel has perfectly captured the love for a sport, for training, for technique. I always had to navigate people seeing martial arts as violent and it really touched my heart to read about Kareena's passion for the strategy and elegance of the sport. I didn't expect this story to also resonate with me as Kareena worries about her sick father. There's often side plots with sick relatives in books This book stood out to me as something I had to read since I trained in Muay Thai for a few years, and Patel has perfectly captured the love for a sport, for training, for technique. I always had to navigate people seeing martial arts as violent and it really touched my heart to read about Kareena's passion for the strategy and elegance of the sport. I didn't expect this story to also resonate with me as Kareena worries about her sick father. There's often side plots with sick relatives in books or movies. This complex conflict was written in a way that feels like your best friend is looking to you for comfort. It's not overdramatized. It is what it is and it sucks. That's life. That's what Patel has captured. Kareena also must navigate her relationship with the desi community in Texas: not being feminine enough for what's expected of her, not being devote like others around her, and her parents not wanting to pressure her to be a part of that community. All these complications and how one person's dream can bring people together made for such an incredible, inspiring story about a girl who discovers that being true to yourself is the strongest thing you can be. ...and I'm always weak for flirting that's mostly bickering 😂

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jite

    3.5 Stars! This was a very cute own-voices YA novel with strong romance themes even though it’s not an out and out romance. The premise is that Kareena is an Indian-American highschooler and somewhat of a prodigy Muay Thai fighter. Unfortunately, in her community this is perceived to be not quite the thing for a proper Indian girl as it’s not a feminine endeavor and she’s feels ostracized for her athletic pursuit. Add to this, she has some deep problems at home, making her senior year especially 3.5 Stars! This was a very cute own-voices YA novel with strong romance themes even though it’s not an out and out romance. The premise is that Kareena is an Indian-American highschooler and somewhat of a prodigy Muay Thai fighter. Unfortunately, in her community this is perceived to be not quite the thing for a proper Indian girl as it’s not a feminine endeavor and she’s feels ostracized for her athletic pursuit. Add to this, she has some deep problems at home, making her senior year especially hard especially as it relates with coming to terms with her identity. I think what’s good about this book is that it tells a universal story about feeling alienated, whether that is feeling alienated from your culture, from your friends, from your people, from your family’s expectations of you, I think all of us have at one time felt like we were on the outside. This book is very strong in communicating that message and in portraying the self-doubt and fear and bitterness that can come from constantly feeling the need to protect yourself from the hurt of being an outsider. I love how the author played with the theme of prejudging others before the judge you and having blind spots in our perspectives of the world and how it sees us. I think obviously Indian-Americans or people who identify as Desi would relate most to this book especially if they feel some distance from their ancestral culture. That said I think anyone who’s a recent descendant of immigrants or even living in their own country but far removed from their ancestral traditions, would also be able to relate strongly to this book. This could have been a 5-star read for me but I must admit that at times Kareena’s “not-like-other-Indian-girls”-ing got a little much for me personally. We get it, you’re a fighter, you don’t wear traditional clothes and you’re not religious- you’re not like other Indian-American girls🙄. That said, as annoying as that got, it felt very true to how Kareena perceived herself and her alienation from her community and also how people are in high school on the cusp of college, and that obsession with finding your unique identity and understanding yourself in the world that can come across a little “special little unicorn flower.” I think for anyone who like Kareena has ever felt not Indian enough or not American enough will relate strongly to her as a character. I can’t help but wondering whether readers who identify more closely with practicing their culture and traditions more rigorously, might feel attacked by Kareena’s frequent generalizations and judgements of the community. On the balance, Kareena’s perceptions and prejudices come from how her parents were treated and how she has been treated when measured against cultural norms, and so clearly she has reasons for her beliefs. Some of the drama in this book was also VERY high school appropriate and I think if I had read this as a young adult, I would have had a lot more patience with the juvenile level of drama. What I liked though, was that Kareena’s “high school” drama with her ex-friends Ranya and Saanvi, was nicely contrasted with some of the life-deep drama she was facing at home with her father’s health, her Muay Thai aspirations, and her family’s future. The contrast of those different levels of drama felt very authentic and true for a character coming of age in these circumstances, and having to balance the last bits of childishness with becoming an adult. My favourite parts of this were the Muay Thai plot, the theme around the importance of community and girl-led support, and the love story between Kareena and Amit. You could definitely tell that the author was very experienced in Muay Thai as she brought the training and preparation and mindset and the fights to the page in a way that not only got you understanding the sport but also understanding why Kareena was so passionate about it. Yes there was A LOT of repetition of Kareena’s motivation in the sport, the prospect of World Championships, the fact that Muay Thai would potentially be becoming an Olympic sport, but I think it served to continue center the fact that at it’s heart, this was a novel about a girl in a sport disapproved of by her culture who remains dedicated to that sport and the empowerment it brings her. I loved the romantic elements with Amit because Kareena never lost focus on her goals because of her feelings for him. She didn’t need romantic love to soften her or heal something in her or to “find balance.” Her goals remained her goals and her dedication to her sport was untouchable. And Amit recognized that and supported that and understood that her goals were number 1. The coding bits seemed a little improbable to me but what do I know, maybe it makes sense in real life. I also loved the idea of the sisterhood of female athletes. Overall, I really enjoyed this. It was fun, but also really thoughtful and inspiring and uplifting. Highly recommend to lovers of YA fiction or anyone interested in an own voices book about a young Indian-American Muay Thai fighter. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Flux Books in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shaila

    I was given an early copy for a review, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. It did NOT disappoint. I LOVED it! If you're a fan of Miranda Kenneally and YA sports romance, you do NOT want to miss this one! <3 Kareena Thakkar is a Muay Thai fighter (Thai boxing) who's raising money to go to the Muay Thai US Open. It'll give her a shot to be invited to the World Championship team with an eye toward the Olympics, and she is one determined, badass character who I was rooting for the entire time. I was given an early copy for a review, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. It did NOT disappoint. I LOVED it! If you're a fan of Miranda Kenneally and YA sports romance, you do NOT want to miss this one! <3 Kareena Thakkar is a Muay Thai fighter (Thai boxing) who's raising money to go to the Muay Thai US Open. It'll give her a shot to be invited to the World Championship team with an eye toward the Olympics, and she is one determined, badass character who I was rooting for the entire time. Along the way, she meets Amit Patel, and during their budding relationship, she learns a lot about herself, her community, and friendship in general. Most sports romances have a pretty basic formula: the character works hard, stumbles, but finally gets to the championship and the love interest. What made The Knockout different was how layered the story was. It's a coming of age tale in the truest sense--where she learns to stand up for herself, navigate the ups and downs of friendships and a romantic relationship, as well as juggle academic, athletic, and cultural expectations. Add this to her worries at home, and you have a richly paralleled story that had me turning pages well past midnight. The thing that sets this apart from most YA sports romances is that Kareena Thakkar is not only a female in what most would consider a "male" sport (that's hard enough!), but she's an Indian-American girl who is struggling against cultural expectations of what is feminine and "appropriate." The author does an amazing job of layering this aspect of the story too. As an Indian-American myself, I identify with Kareena's cultural disconnect of not being "Indian" or "American" enough, but throw that in with the stigma of stepping outside your gender lane? I seriously wanted to punch a few people myself along the way. The author handles each of these layers with wonderful world-building, an engaging voice, and excellent pacing. I can't wait to see if there'll be another book in this series...perhaps when she makes it to the Olympics?? This book would be awesome for anyone who loves Miranda Kenneally, wants an #ownvoices read, loves badass heroines, slow-burn romances, and a fist-pumping, heart-thumping ending. (Can you tell I loved this book?)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emmalita

    I feel slightly disadvantaged reviewing Sajni Patel’s, The Knockout – I’m not Indian American, I know nothing about Muay Thai, and I haven’t been a teenager in a long, long time. That said, I enjoyed The Knockout. I’ve had it sitting in my NetGalley queue for months because it was suppose to come out last year, but the pandemic pushed it back. I received this as an advance reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Once I started reading I realized that last year I read Sajni Pa I feel slightly disadvantaged reviewing Sajni Patel’s, The Knockout – I’m not Indian American, I know nothing about Muay Thai, and I haven’t been a teenager in a long, long time. That said, I enjoyed The Knockout. I’ve had it sitting in my NetGalley queue for months because it was suppose to come out last year, but the pandemic pushed it back. I received this as an advance reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Once I started reading I realized that last year I read Sajni Patel’s debut, the decidedly not YA, The Trouble With Hating You. A lot of what I liked about Hating You is also present in The Knockout, but Knockout is more focused and kinder. Kareena Thakkar is a 17 yr old high school student in Texas. She feels separate from most of her peers because her focuses are Muay Thai, school, and her family. Her father has chronic kidney disease which takes a lot of the Thakkar family’s energy and resources. Her parents are not close with the local Indian community, but they are very supportive of Kareena. When Kareena has a chance to compete for a slot on the Muay Thai National team, which might lead to the Olympics, her parents never waver in their support. Kareena wavers though, because competing at the national level is expensive. She definitely doesn’t have time for boys, but her computer science teacher asks her to tutor Amit, and they begin to develop a romance with hefty dollops of flirtatious bickering and the secrets they keep from each other. Kareena is very guarded and as the book progresses she learns the benefits of letting people in and asking for support. I was occasionally frustrated with Kareena’s me against the world mindset, but I also appreciated that she has been on her own a lot. I loved her parents and the ways they supported and protected her, even when it frustrated her. I loved the way she focused on her sport and her future. I’m not a sports participating or watching person, but I do love reading about characters who are passionate about what they do. Kareena approaches her life with drive and passion and my enjoyment of that outweighed my frustrations.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    "The Knockout" was one of the first books I requested on NetGalley almost an entire year ago, but I've put it off in favor of earlier deadlines and what I thought would be better books. But I LOVED this one, and I'm sorry I didn't pick it up earlier. High school senior, Kareena, is a badass Muay Thai fighter who qualifies for the US Open. The only problem? Just about everything -- her father has been quite ill, her parents don't have the money, and she isn't comfortable being an non-comforming me "The Knockout" was one of the first books I requested on NetGalley almost an entire year ago, but I've put it off in favor of earlier deadlines and what I thought would be better books. But I LOVED this one, and I'm sorry I didn't pick it up earlier. High school senior, Kareena, is a badass Muay Thai fighter who qualifies for the US Open. The only problem? Just about everything -- her father has been quite ill, her parents don't have the money, and she isn't comfortable being an non-comforming member of her Indian community. To make everything more complicated, her computer science teacher asks her to tutor the class valedictorian, Amit. Apparently he's been having trouble despite being the "perfect" Indian -- he attends Mandir, gets perfect grades, is a total hunk, and is basically a genius. But as you read, you'll realize that no one is perfect, and that's just fine. This is your typical realistic YA writing -- it's definitely focused on the plot and character development, and less about the beautiful prose. Usually this makes me less interested in realistic fiction, but I found Kareena to be an interesting character to follow. She is strong and independent, who at times does struggle with receiving support. It was refreshing to read a female protagonist with a romantic interest not completely be overshadowed by masculine overprotection. But really I was in this for Amit. One of the most swoon-worthy characters in YA I've read in some time. Did I find the conclusion predictable? Yes. Were the themes and main messages broadcasted loudly and clearly and repeatedly? Yes. But did I love every gosh darn minute of it? Yes. If you enjoy realistic YA, you'll love this one.

  18. 5 out of 5

    sarah

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an eArc copy in exchange for an honest review! Such a strong YA story! I loved the conversations about culture, feminism, family, and individuality. Kareena is such a powerhouse of a girl, someone who knows herself well and will stop at nothing to achieve her dreams, and I LOVED that! I also loved that even though this book is pitched as a romance, the romance doesn’t overpower Kareena’s goals or her relationship to her friends and f Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an eArc copy in exchange for an honest review! Such a strong YA story! I loved the conversations about culture, feminism, family, and individuality. Kareena is such a powerhouse of a girl, someone who knows herself well and will stop at nothing to achieve her dreams, and I LOVED that! I also loved that even though this book is pitched as a romance, the romance doesn’t overpower Kareena’s goals or her relationship to her friends and family. I also appreciated the conversations about being “Indian enough” and Kareena’s ability to stand up for herself. Learning about Muay Thai was super cool, and I won’t lie, there were multiple instances where the female friendship and girls supporting girls made me tear up. I will say that I wished Amit’s job storyline had been fleshed out more, as it felt like the stakes were made to seem so high for it, only for the explanation to fall a bit flat for me personally. This is a super fresh take on the sports novel with well-rounded characters and incredible conversations to boot. Content warnings for in depth discussion of an ill parent (renal disease specifically), extensive talk of food/eating habits/calorie counting etc, some homophobia and sexism, and talk of debt/finances.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hira Chaudhary

    I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. This is it. This is the best, cutest, most powerful story you will read all year. Look no further, because Sajni Patel has written a stunning young adult novel after hitting it out of the park with her debut adult romance, The Trouble with Hating You. This book is just amazing. Kareena is a Muay Thai fighter, and she's good at what she does. Good enough that she could make it to the US Open. If she can produce I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. This is it. This is the best, cutest, most powerful story you will read all year. Look no further, because Sajni Patel has written a stunning young adult novel after hitting it out of the park with her debut adult romance, The Trouble with Hating You. This book is just amazing. Kareena is a Muay Thai fighter, and she's good at what she does. Good enough that she could make it to the US Open. If she can produce the money to enter and get there. Her parents are supportive, but her father is sick, and most of their money goes towards his treatments. At school, Kareena is asked to tutor Amit in coding, but she quickly learns that he's a genius but has his own reasons for falling behind in class. The two of them spend more and more time together and Kareena can see herself falling in love, even though it's the last thing she has time for. Both of them have a lot going on in their lives, but they try to balance it out with the time they spend together. I really enjoyed the romance because they were both such sweethearts and they were both always so kind with each other's hearts. I loved how they were there for each other and tried to support one another. I loved how Amit never blinked at the things Kareena did that weren't considered "typically Indian" and how he loved those things about her. They were just so great and perfect together. I loved their relationship to no end. I really loved the support Kareena gets from the other girl athletes at her school and how they rally behind her to help her get to the competition. That was amazing and I loved the sisterhood. I also adored Kareena's best friend Lily and how sweet she was. I loved how she could see Kareena and Amit falling for each other and how she was totally shipping it from the start. This was just a really incredible young adult novel that blended Indian culture with girl sports with women in STEM with sisterhood with positive family support with the cutest romance I have ever gushed over. This book just had it all and I loved every second of it <3

  20. 5 out of 5

    Antonella

    The debut contemporary romance The Trouble with Hating You by this author is one of my favorite books of 2020!! So, I jumped on the opportunity to read another book by her. The plotline is very intriguing. But I am a little bit disappointed. Maybe, is just my issue with YA where my tastes are very specific and I rarely love that genre anymore. I love everything that this book represents; diversity, female Muay Thai fighter, family dynamic, young love. I wish I cared more about it. Kareena's stru The debut contemporary romance The Trouble with Hating You by this author is one of my favorite books of 2020!! So, I jumped on the opportunity to read another book by her. The plotline is very intriguing. But I am a little bit disappointed. Maybe, is just my issue with YA where my tastes are very specific and I rarely love that genre anymore. I love everything that this book represents; diversity, female Muay Thai fighter, family dynamic, young love. I wish I cared more about it. Kareena's struggle with being an athlete and at the same time being a part of the community is very relatable. If you read YA contemporary definitely give this book a chance. Especially, younger readers..I hope they pick this book up. * I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  21. 5 out of 5

    Vighnesh Muraly

    4.5 stars. This was good. Really good. The premise of the book was so intriguing and it definitely ticked all the boxes for me. The main character was so complex and she struggled a lot but her character arc is one of the best I have read so far. The plot went in a direction I did not expect it to take but I definitely loved it. The love interest in this novel was developed so well and I liked how the author delved into his situation and I really got to read both experiences of being an Indian Amer 4.5 stars. This was good. Really good. The premise of the book was so intriguing and it definitely ticked all the boxes for me. The main character was so complex and she struggled a lot but her character arc is one of the best I have read so far. The plot went in a direction I did not expect it to take but I definitely loved it. The love interest in this novel was developed so well and I liked how the author delved into his situation and I really got to read both experiences of being an Indian American and I think that really helped to shape the story. The representation was done really well in my opinion but I didn't really like a line in the story where the main character called herself exotic even though I think it was important to help show her growth throughout the story. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and I look forward to reading more by this author.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kajree Gautom

    3.5 stars I think this was such a fun and powerful read! I loved the premise of the book, the storyline and the way it proceeded. There were parts in between where I felt the romance was kind of overpowering the main plot and it did get a lot cringy to my liking, but otherwise I enjoyed the friendship and the way the author handled culture and family. Overall, it was a really sweet story filled with strength of goals and dreams, and I loved that our MC was so well crafted. To see the dilemma o 3.5 stars I think this was such a fun and powerful read! I loved the premise of the book, the storyline and the way it proceeded. There were parts in between where I felt the romance was kind of overpowering the main plot and it did get a lot cringy to my liking, but otherwise I enjoyed the friendship and the way the author handled culture and family. Overall, it was a really sweet story filled with strength of goals and dreams, and I loved that our MC was so well crafted. To see the dilemma of belonging and keeping hold of culture was very heartwarming. Also, this book really played out like a bollywood movie hehe - with all those lovey-dovey moments 🤭

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shruti Ramanujam

    I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Knockout is an empowering story with great commentary on culture and acceptance. I absolutely adored how supportive Kareena's parents are despite Muay Thai being seen as too violent in their community. While it is sports fiction, the book also has a splendid portrayal of female friendships, good rep, and a body positive message. Some parts of the story did get repetitive at one point but it was an entertaining read nonethel I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Knockout is an empowering story with great commentary on culture and acceptance. I absolutely adored how supportive Kareena's parents are despite Muay Thai being seen as too violent in their community. While it is sports fiction, the book also has a splendid portrayal of female friendships, good rep, and a body positive message. Some parts of the story did get repetitive at one point but it was an entertaining read nonetheless. Rating: 3.5 out of 5

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Huber

    I really enjoyed this book! It was packed with action, family, and a real exploration of struggle and trying to defy odds. I found Kareena's character to be so relatable, thinking of her family, studies, but also wanting something so badly. I found myself holding my breath for some of the scenes, I liked the descriptions! I really enjoyed this book! It was packed with action, family, and a real exploration of struggle and trying to defy odds. I found Kareena's character to be so relatable, thinking of her family, studies, but also wanting something so badly. I found myself holding my breath for some of the scenes, I liked the descriptions!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    Rating: 3.5 Stars While the rest of her world was crumbling, Kareena earned the chance of lifetime - an invitation to compete in the US Muay Thai Open. This could be a door-opening opportunity, and Kareena could not help but see hope for more in her future. The related financial obligations, though, might derail her plans unless Kareena learned to open up and trust in others. I absolutely loved the premise of this book. Elite athletes intrigue me, and I love getting into their heads and seeing th Rating: 3.5 Stars While the rest of her world was crumbling, Kareena earned the chance of lifetime - an invitation to compete in the US Muay Thai Open. This could be a door-opening opportunity, and Kareena could not help but see hope for more in her future. The related financial obligations, though, might derail her plans unless Kareena learned to open up and trust in others. I absolutely loved the premise of this book. Elite athletes intrigue me, and I love getting into their heads and seeing them in action. Their drive and passion is always so inspiring, and I am thrilled to cheer for them as they give their all for their dream. Kareena was an easy character to root for. She had been training in her sport for about a decade. I have no doubts about her dedication, but she had many obstacles in her way. First and foremost was the cost of the sport. Since her father's illness worsened, Kareena's family struggled with their finances. They never put that worry on her, but she knew her mother was working two jobs, and that they were essentially living paycheck to paycheck. Though this was a source of stress for Kareena, it was also a driving force, pushing her to excel and go further than she ever imagined in this sport. She also had to deal with the isolation of participating in a combative sport. I have said this before, I do not think there are girl-things or boy-things, but we all know this line of thought exists. Kareena knew she would be harshly judged for partaking in such a non-ladylike sport. Though her parents supported and cheered her on, she felt the need to keep this part of herself a secret. I really felt her pain there. Feeling like she had to hide a big piece of who she was in order to be accepted. One of my favorite parts of the book was when Kareena finally opened up, and realized there was this wonderful community simply waiting to be there for her. They really rallied the troops when she needed them. The outpouring of friendship and support was touching, and I was so happy Kareena was finally able to trust others and allow them to share in her dream. Though some of the community and girl drama didn't really work for me, I loved just about everything else about Kareena's story. I pick up sports based books, because they tend to be inspiring and feel-good. My heart was definitely filled with warmth and joy at the end of this book, and I enjoyed cheering for Kareena as she put her heart and soul into making her aspirations a reality. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    The Knockout is a story about seventeen-year-old Katreena, a Muay Thai fighter who gets the opportunity to fight at the USMTO (United States Muay Thai Open) that, I’d she wins, could put her on the path to be part of the first MT Olympic team and could get her family out of medical debt. Imma be real, there were a number of moments where I was not a fan of Kareena, and that is valid. Sometimes she was repetitive and stubborn when she didn’t need to be, but I was on her side and I supported her t The Knockout is a story about seventeen-year-old Katreena, a Muay Thai fighter who gets the opportunity to fight at the USMTO (United States Muay Thai Open) that, I’d she wins, could put her on the path to be part of the first MT Olympic team and could get her family out of medical debt. Imma be real, there were a number of moments where I was not a fan of Kareena, and that is valid. Sometimes she was repetitive and stubborn when she didn’t need to be, but I was on her side and I supported her the entire time. I laughed, I cringed, I cried. I would definitely recommend this book and I can’t wait til it hits shelves later this year.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    Initial Thoughts I was so super excited to be chosen for this tour. When I read the description of this book, I knew it would be an #ownvoices review for me, but I had no idea how much I would identify with the main character. And no, before anyone even thinks it, it’s not because I am any kind of athlete 😂. Some Things I Liked Themes of cultural identity. Never have I ever felt more like a main character in a contemporary story than when Kareena said she’s “not Indian enough”. As an Indian America Initial Thoughts I was so super excited to be chosen for this tour. When I read the description of this book, I knew it would be an #ownvoices review for me, but I had no idea how much I would identify with the main character. And no, before anyone even thinks it, it’s not because I am any kind of athlete 😂. Some Things I Liked Themes of cultural identity. Never have I ever felt more like a main character in a contemporary story than when Kareena said she’s “not Indian enough”. As an Indian American, growing up, and today, I am definitely more American than anything else. I don’t speak the language, can’t dance the dances, I dislike most of the food. I’m literally the world’s worst Indian. Kareena, AKA, my soul sister, was so similar to me. She resented the pressure, resented the culture, and just wanted to be herself. I ADORED her. She would have been my hero when I was in high school. Ok, let’s be fair, she’s basically my hero right now. The romance. The love story between Amit and Kareena was so stinking cute. I loved every second of it. Furthermore, I think it was suitable for younger readers. This is a book that I’d have really loved to have when I was 14 and I think the adorable romance would have been something to swoon over. Muy Thai. I loved that Kareena’ sport was one that I wasn’t super familiar with. I thought it was so cool to learn about a new sport and I didn’t feel like the story was bogged down with aspects of it that the reader didn’t need to know. Indian references. Again, I loved all of the humor injected from the Indian references. I may be the world’s worst Indian, but so many of these made me laugh out loud. What’s more, many of the more serious elements were achingly familiar. I didn’t follow a conventional path to my current career, I’ve never been conventional, and people can be JUDGY. I can’t stand how much I loved the realism in this story from both the humor to the serious subjects. Series Value It’s rare to find a series of contemporary books that I love, or would want to read. However, I’d love to read more about Kareena and Amit’s lives. Furthermore, I’d love to read a spin-off about Lily. This was a phenomenal debut filled with laugh out loud wit and that touched on topics that were all too real. I can’t wait to read Sajni’s future books. Final Thoughts I absolutely adored this book. I gush about a lot of books. But, they’re mostly fantasy books. It take a LOT for me to gush about a contemporary story but I am Kareena. I have never felt more connected to a character than when I read this book. THIS is a book that I needed when I was in high school. THIS is a book for anyone who’s ever struggled with their cultural identity. THIS is a book for anyone who’s ever felt like they’re trying to do it all and that they don’t think they can actually get there. This book is filled with humor, raw emotions, and a touching story of first love. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Recommendations for Further Reading Star Daughter by Sweta Thakrar – if you enjoyed the idea of an Indian American Own Voices story but want a bit of fantasy, try this standalone. It has many similar themes, my favorite of which, is the way the author addresses cultural identity. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord – not an Own Voices or Indian story, but still a wonderfully written debut about finding one’s place amidst familial pressure, sports, college, and all the other nonsense we all have to face in our teenage years.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sylvs (NOVELty Reads)

    ARC given through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review When I first came across The Knockout, I thought it would be just another sports or Indian-culture themed book but I got so much more than I hoped for. It was a book about self-love, friendship, family, support and of course, Muay Thai. The story follows Kareena Thakkar, an Indian girl who just got the opportunity of a lifetime to compete in the US Muay Thai Open which could result in her getting onto the first ever Muay Thai Olympic t ARC given through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review When I first came across The Knockout, I thought it would be just another sports or Indian-culture themed book but I got so much more than I hoped for. It was a book about self-love, friendship, family, support and of course, Muay Thai. The story follows Kareena Thakkar, an Indian girl who just got the opportunity of a lifetime to compete in the US Muay Thai Open which could result in her getting onto the first ever Muay Thai Olympic team! If only her sport wasn’t seen as too rough for girls and something she should be afraid to share with people outside her family. With debts rising and Kareena struggling to afford her competition entry, Kareena starts feeling as if she’s not “Indian enough” with Muay Thai only making it worse. On top of Kareena’s training she starts tutoring the “perfect Indian boy” Amit Patel, the boy that Kareena refuses to fall in love with. I honestly loved everything about this book. I felt like I could relate to the character’s struggles and how the author, S.A Patel particularly focused on Kareena’s self-doubt and struggles fitting in with other girls especially who share her culture. Kareena was portrayed as a strong character however you could definitely see her layers underneath that façade as the book progressed. I truly started to respect her character even more for her bravery and courage which was displayed throughout the novel. There was another character, Amit who was seen the “smart kid” or “soon-to-be-valedictorian” type of guy. His struggles also unfolded in a way that was completely surprising and unexpected (in a good way). For someone so clever as him he definitely had a lot of struggles living up to those expectations put on him and I think the dynamic between him and Kareena really helped him with those issues. There were times at which I absolutely fell in love with Amit and could definitely see why Kareena was falling in love with him. He was sweet, caring and kind but there were times when I felt like he might’ve been too much which definitely changed my perception of him over the duration of the novel. Characters aside, there was a major spotlight towards friendships both healthy and toxic and it was explored in a way that I enjoyed reading about. The book starts off with Kareena having one main friend she talks to at school however as the book progresses, she comes out of her shell more and meets all sorts of people like her who are accepting and supportive of her and her accomplishments. But on the other hand, Kareena experiences bullying and the toxic nature of another student at her school. The way the author wrote about that character dynamic was done so well and I could feel both pity and hatred towards that character because she had a lot of character development much like Kareena and Amit. All in all, I definitely loved this book with all its depictions of Muay Thai, friendships, culture and self-esteem. Throughout the whole novel I easily fell in love with all the characters and even more so with how they developed from start to finish. ACTUAL RATING: 4.5 STARS

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vaish -bookishbelle1008

    The Knockout 🥊 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 I would like to thank Edelweiss+ and Flux Publishing for an ARC of this book. Kareena Thakkar has landed a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the US Muay Thai Open which could lead to a spot on the first ever Olympic team. Her Parents are extremely proud of her, she is doing exceptionally well in school and working to get her family out of debt. The only downfall is that she feels alienated from the Indian community who leave her feeling that she is not Indian en The Knockout 🥊 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 I would like to thank Edelweiss+ and Flux Publishing for an ARC of this book. Kareena Thakkar has landed a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the US Muay Thai Open which could lead to a spot on the first ever Olympic team. Her Parents are extremely proud of her, she is doing exceptionally well in school and working to get her family out of debt. The only downfall is that she feels alienated from the Indian community who leave her feeling that she is not Indian enough, with her training causing the rift to widen. As Kareena starts falling in love with Amit Patel, the idealistic Indian, she realises she will have to face disapproval, battle her own insecurities and remain focused on the fight to become a champion all at the cost of her pride. Does she have the courage to go down in history and make her bid for the Olympics? I read The Trouble With Hating You earlier this year and I immediately fell in love with @sajnipatelbooks way of writing. I felt extremely lucky to be given an ARC of this book and it was an incredible read! Kareena is fierce, courageous and dedicated towards her passion for Muay Thai and love for her family who serve as a shining light in her life. My heart was full when reading about this desi (Indian) female MC who is a beautiful badass and completely unapologetic about it! Her relationship with the seemingly perfect Amit is built on a foundation of respect, admiration and friendship. Amit never felt threatened by Kareena’s strength and whilst he took his time to understand her, he always stood by her. The various friendship groups that form throughout the story are all gifts in Kareena’s life; each teaching her a new lesson about herself. What spoke to me most about this story was the unwavering faith that Kareena’s parents had in her that allowed her to become who she was. Regardless of their personal struggles, they constantly encouraged and reminded Kareena to fight for her dreams and to never give up. My parents have always been my biggest pillars of strength and I am for evermore grateful for their ongoing support and guidance. In the story, part of the Indian community that Kareena has been raised in are judgemental, discriminatory and harsh in their treatment towards Kareena and her family. To see the way her family unit works together against all odds and enables her to find an identity within that community is heartwarming. I can’t wait for The Knockout to release on January 26th, 2021. It’s a book I would highly recommend that will leave you with a warmth in your heart and a smile on your lips as you fall in love with the characters and put down the book feeling inspired.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Randi (Rampant Reading Reviews)

    I received an advanced copy of The Knockout through Netgalley so I could share my review with you! Kareena Thakkar is a fighter, someone who won’t back down no matter what. That’s why she loves Muay Thai, an intense combat sport, so very much. When she is fighting, she is in control of her world, something which is rare in Kareena’s life. Unfortunately, the Indian community doesn’t exactly approve of her hobby, because its “unbecoming” for a young woman to participate in such a sport. But, when I received an advanced copy of The Knockout through Netgalley so I could share my review with you! Kareena Thakkar is a fighter, someone who won’t back down no matter what. That’s why she loves Muay Thai, an intense combat sport, so very much. When she is fighting, she is in control of her world, something which is rare in Kareena’s life. Unfortunately, the Indian community doesn’t exactly approve of her hobby, because its “unbecoming” for a young woman to participate in such a sport. But, when Kareena lands an invitation to the US Muay Thai Open, she thinks that all her dreams could be coming into focus. If she does well at the Open, she could potentially earn a spot on the first-ever Muay Thai Olympic team. But this chance of a lifetime is complicated by family and cultural expectations, as well as a budding new romance. Will Kareena be able to take a shot at her future, or will she lose focus entirely? You can get your copy of the Knockout on January 26th from Flux! Though I was very excited by the concept of this book, I was rather let down by the execution. I felt that Kareena’s personality was rather inconsistently written, as she bounced from trait to trait with each different chapter. This made the book somewhat difficult to follow, and less than an ideal read for me. I did, however, really enjoy the focus on Muay Thai, which was something I’ve not seen before in a YA book! I think with more editing and character development this book could’ve had real potential, so I might give this author another chance again in the future. My Recommendation- Although this book wasn’t a good fit for me, that doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy it. If you love stories with fierce female characters and a focus on athletics, you might want to give The Knockout a try!

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