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The Knockout

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  548 ratings  ·  182 reviews
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
360 pages
Published January 26th 2021 by Flux
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  548 ratings  ·  182 reviews

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Reading_ Tamishly
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
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
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-fuck-yeahs
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
Jan 17, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super adorable and badass and I really enjoyed reading/learning about Muay Thai!! (HOW is it not an Olympic sport, wtf)

Not going to lie, a few things hit close to home (a hatred of math and having a chronically ill parent). But I am very happy this book exists and Kareena is a wonderful and memorable character. (I know the name is a coincidence but gonna pretend she's related to Liya. 😆)

Content warning: sexism, chronically ill parent
Bree Lauren
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aabookshelf
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.
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
catherine ♡
Aug 30, 2021 rated it did not like it
*I received a free copy through LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.*

I'm just heartbroken that I didn't love this as much as I thought I would; the blurb had completely sold me and I was hoping this novel would be something like Made in Korea, which totally stole my heart.

Unfortunately, there were several things in The Knockout that just missed the mark for me. I think the biggest one was that the book was so little Muay Thai and so much petty teenage drama. Saanvi was a character that
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
♠ TABI⁷ ♠
Feb 19, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
my MMA loving heart needs this book
belle ☆ミ (thisbellereadstoo)
actual rating: 3.5 stars

Received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion.

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
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
Silvia (roomforbooks)
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
Gina Carra
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
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
Erin Cataldi
Jun 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Fast paced and kick ass - The Knockout is about an Indian American teen training to compete in the US Muay Thai Open while dealing with a father in failing health, friend issues, and boy troubles. Kareena Thakkar has a lot on her plate and the only thing keeping her level headed is Muay Thai. She revels in the training and clear mindedness she gets when she is in the ring. She's thrilled to have been invited to the US Open but at the same time, so stressed because her family is slowly drowning i ...more
Ariel • The Book View
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
Hira Chaudhary
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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.
Kajree Gautom
Nov 19, 2020 rated it liked it
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
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jan 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
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
"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
Jan 06, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, arc, sport-romance
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
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
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
Shruti Ramanujam
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
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
May 15, 2022 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I really need to keep my goodreads more up-to-date, I actually finished this a week ago after listening to it in one day.

I liked the sports theme and the discussion about athletic girls and how it fits together with culture! The MCs family was amazing and after reading only books with toxic parents this month, it was refreshing to read.

What I didn't like was the insta love! Come on! The love interest was cute tho (maybe a bit tot perfect) and I liked how their relationship unfolded over
Michelle Huber
Dec 26, 2020 rated it liked it
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!
Samantha (WLABB)
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary, ya, arcs, diverse
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
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021, contemporary
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
Sylvs (NOVELty Reads)
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
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
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Sajni Patel is an award-winning author of women’s fiction and young adult books, drawing on her experiences growing up in Texas, an inexplicable knack for romance and comedy, and the recently resurfaced dark side of fantastical things. Her works have appeared on numerous Best of the Year and Must Read lists from Cosmo, Oprah Magazine, Teen Vogue, Apple Books, Audiofile, Tribeza, Austin Woman’s Mag ...more

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“Here's how I see it: If someone doesn't like you, then that's their problem. Not yours. You keep doing your thing and not give them a minute of your time. Whatever narrow-minded, inferior judgement others pass is a cloud of negativity living in their head. Meanwhile, you're living your best, most positive and happy life. Eventually, their heads will explode from the pessimism while you're frolicking in a field of joy.” 0 likes
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