Book: “The Knockout” by S.A. Patel
Genre: Young Adult
Format: Physical Book
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Blogger’s Note: Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
“The Knockout” by S.A. Patel is a new YA novel that speaks directly to the athlete inside of me. This young adult novel follows the story of Kareena Thakkar who is an up and coming teenage Muay Thai fighter. Although the sport is traditionally reserved for boys, Kareena is determined to be successful and break through all the way to the Olympics. However, she has a lot to overcome if she is going to realize that dream. Between dealing with insecurity, other people’s prejudices and a teenage crush, Kareena is certainly going to have an uphill battle. Will she earn her way onto the Olympic team? Only time will tell.
This book had me reaching back into my high school bookbag and reminiscing hardcore! Author S.A. Patel writes a main character that I immediately identified with! As a teenage athlete, I remember feeling exactly how the character feels. The mixed emotions of pride, nervousness, and excitement before or during a competition are intense and it seems clear that the author must have experienced athletics at some point in her life. Most outsiders do not have a sound understanding of competitions and what the life of an athlete is like. While reading, I found that the level of authenticity was refreshing and enjoyable. It allowed me to sink into the story and be fully entertained by the plot line.
I found Kareena’s character to be a little brash at times but not overly so. Especially early on in the story, I did have to settle into the novel and acclimate myself to her character. At one point she mentions the feeling of hitting someone else’s face and “how it feels better than a punching bag” as a reader who has never participated in any martial arts, I struggled to understand that concept and connect with that mentality. It is important to note, I did end up enjoying the polarity that was formed as a result of that type of personality behavior. At times Kareena was very strong and confident and then at others she was more meek and nervous and scared. The author wrote the duality into the character extremely well and I ended up appreciating the different sides of the main character.
Spoiler Alert! Don’t read below this line if you wish to avoid spoilers!
Usually in my reviews I don’t include any spoilers but I wanted to mention that I loved the ending. I found this ending to be neatly tied up, fitting and it left me with a smile on my face. I was happy with what the author chose to do and it definitely had me cheering for our main character! Identity is such a hard concept to tackle in those formative teenage years, so to see Kareena really step into her own and take pride in it was such a joy!
Recommendations: This is a great YA pick for anyone that loves YA and sports!