Title: TJ Powar Has Something to Prove
Author: Jesmeen Kaur Deo
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 7th, 2022
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy at: Blackwells | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Add to Goodreads
A charming rom-com about high school debater TJ Powar who—after becoming the subject of an ugly meme—makes a resolution to stop shaving, plucking, and waxing, and prove that she can be her hairy self and still be beautiful…but soon finds this may be her most difficult debate yet. Perfect for fans of Netflix’s Never Have I Ever.
When TJ Powar—a pretty, popular debater—and her cousin Simran become the subject of a meme: with TJ being the “expectation” of dating an Indian girl and her Sikh cousin who does not remove her body hair being the “reality”—TJ decides to take a stand.
She ditches her razors, cancels her waxing appointments, and sets a debate resolution for herself: “This House Believes That TJ Powar can be her hairy self, and still be beautiful.” Only, as she sets about proving her point, she starts to seriously doubt anyone could care about her just the way she is—even when the infuriating boy from a rival debate team seems determined to prove otherwise.
As her carefully crafted sense of self begins to crumble, TJ realizes that winning this debate may cost her far more than the space between her eyebrows. And that the hardest judge to convince of her arguments might just be herself.Blog Tour: TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo #BookReview @ColoredPagesBT @JDeoWrites @PenguinTeen #TJPowartour #BohoPonderings Click To Tweet
Tejindar Powar has something to prove. That she can be her hairy self and still be beautiful. That being a top-notch debater or an excellent soccer player has nothing to do with her appearance.
TJ Powar is quite a relatable character, although she is not as likable at first. Her second-guessing herself is realistic as she questions her resolve yet sticks to it steadfastly. Her journey to self-discovery. How it impacts her relationships – with her boyfriend, her closest friends, her cousin, and her mother. It is not as much about supporting her cousin’s choice but proving that she herself is much more than her appearance.
Set against a debating tournament, the debut novel is a light read with an important message. The rivals-to-lovers romance is a bit predictable but not cheesy. The book is well-paced. The banter is enjoyable and the debates make for an interesting read.
The book is much more than a rom-com. It is about beauty standards and social prejudices. About the pressure on teen girls to fit into the specific boxes. About bullying faced by those who don’t adhere to the “rules”. About self-worth that isn’t (and shouldn’t) be measured by outward appearance.
Body hair! We have all struggled with it. Bushy eyebrows? Check. Hair on knuckles? Check. My teen self could relate to TJ in a lot many ways. Thankfully, I never faced bullying for it since hairy girls were more of a rule than an exception. The internet, let alone social media, hadn’t arrived in India by then. That said, I wish we had similar books back then.
All in all, I enjoyed reading the book and would recommend it to all the teens out there struggling with body image. And to the grown-ups too.
“This house believed that TJ Powar can be her hairy self and still be beautiful.”
“Debate felt like the one place I could make a difference. If I worked hard enough, I could convince people of something, and it was proof my voice mattered. And that it could do something good.”
“That’s the thing, isn’t it? Those comments are the hardest to shake off… And you start believing it. Next thing you know, you’re the one making the comments. Making people feel like shit.”
“What does hair have to do with hygiene? Am I going to get sick from my body hair? And if that’s true, shouldn’t you be shaving your armpits too?“
“Hair has no gender, darling. It’s just hair. Do what you want with it, but it does not make you less of a woman. It does not make you less interesting, less worthy, or less deserving of desire.”
Blog Tour: TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo #BookReview @ColoredPagesBT @JDeoWrites @PenguinTeen #TJPowartour @CindyAnnDSilva @nooranand #BlogaberryDazzle #BohoPonderings Click To Tweet
Trigger warning: bullying, body-shaming.
About the Author
Jesmeen Kaur Deo grew up in northern British Columbia, where she spent most of her childhood daydreaming. She loves books that can make her laugh and tug at her heartstrings in the same paragraph. When not wrapped up in stories, she can be found biking, playing the harmonium, or struggling to open jars. TJ Powar Has Something to Prove is her debut novel.
I would like to thank Colored Pages Book Tours and Penguin Teen for providing a copy of the book for the blog tour. All opinions are my own.