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The Knockout is about the challenges that Kareena Thakkar faces. She is an Indian girl who practices Muay Thai, a martial art and combat sport. Kareena is very gifted in the sport, but people in the Indian community have made her feel isolated because it isn’t traditional for a girl to fight. Despite judgement, she chooses to continue Muay Thai and just avoid popular Indian events. Kareena’s dedication to the sport earned her a chance to fight in the US Muay Thai Open. This is a great opportunity for Kareena because doing well could potentially land her on the rumored Olympic team. Along with all of this, Kareena battles her growing feelings for Amit Patel, the perfect Indian boy.
I really enjoyed the realism of the book, since it stemmed from the author’s personal experiences. It was upbeat and fun, while also talking about the pressures of Indian culture. It was nice to read about a character that doesn’t fit the usual narrative of most books. Kareena not only develops feelings for Amit, she begins to work on her own self-love journey. At times, she would feel very conscious of her appearance because of her muscles and strength. However, towards the end of the book, she has more confidence to wear traditional Indian outfits that expose her muscles.
One memorable thing about the book was Amit’s character. It was very refreshing to read a story in which the guy is more adamant about his feelings. I also really loved how supportive Amit was with allowing Kareena the space she needed to focus on Muay Thai, while still showing her that he was in her corner. He also was very understanding of how Kareena feels about being judged by the Indian community. Amit goes as far as defending her against his own parents.
Reviewed by Maya, Fairfield Library