Cover Image: My Sister's Big Fat Indian Wedding

My Sister's Big Fat Indian Wedding

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My Sister's Big Fat Indian Wedding my Sajni Patel is a YA rom-com that follows an aspiring violinist who must secretly juggle the obligations of her sister's extravagant wedding week with auditions for a prominent music contest—all while trying to dodge her boisterous family's matchmaking schemes. I loved the Indian culture shown throughout the book such as the outfits, the jewelry, the food, and traditions. I've been to quite a few Indian weddings and this book made it such as I was experiencing a wedding all over again. The descriptors of the food and clothes made me super nostalgic as well and had me wishing that somebody would get married soon so that I could dress up in a fancy salwar kameez or lehenga and eat all the delicious wedding foods!
Sajni is amazing at writing detailed imagery which makes the reader more engrossed and connected to the novel. Zuri was such an inspiring MC and role model for readers. One thing I loved about Zuri was how she handled the critiques she received from aunties- who can be quite filter-free. Sajni made me fall face first for Naveen and wrote him as an amazing love interest- flirty, cocky, charming, and talented. The story for Zuri from rivals to lovers was one of the best I've seen written. Aside from the romance, Sajni Patel does an amazing job of spinning this tale of a young girl who wants to follow her dream of being a musician. If you love a light, funny, swoon worth love interest, Indian weddings this book is for you.
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Okay, so to start off thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book! I actually got an ARC from this author before and I didn’t love her last book but I wanted to try this one and I loved it! The  relationships shown, family and romantic, were done nicely. And I also really enjoyed the diversity in this book. The plot was so good and I recommend this book to everyone! Again thank you to Netgalley for an early copy of this novel! :)))
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Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Zurika Damani is a naturally gifted violinist with a particular love for hip hop beats. But when you’re part of a big Indian family, everyone has expectations, and those certainly don’t include hip hop violin. After being rejected by Juilliard, Zuri's last hope is a contest judged by a panel of top tier college scouts. The only problem? This coveted competition happens to take place during Zuri’s sister’s extravagant wedding week. And Zuri has already been warned, repeatedly, that she is not to miss a single moment.

In the midst of the chaos, Zuri’s mom is in matchmaking mode with the groom’s South African cousin Naveen—who just happens to be a cocky vocalist set on stealing Zuri’s spotlight at the scouting competition. Luckily Zuri has a crew of loud and loyal female cousins cheering her on. Now, all she has to do is to wow the judges for a top spot, evade getting caught by her parents, resist Naveen’s charms, and, oh yeah . . . not mess up her sister’s big fat Indian wedding. What could possibly go wrong?

Thank you NetGalley for giving me an ARC!!
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4.5-rounded-to-five stars!

Sajni Patel isn’t a new author for me. I really loved <i>The Trouble with Hating You</i> and <i>First Love, Take Two</i>, and this book is next in line!

This book is young adult and follows Zurika Damani as she immerses herself into her sister’s huge wedding festivities while grappling with her dreams on the side. There’s a contest for a full-ride scholarship at a musical college, and Zurika wants to show them what she’s made off, right on the heels of a Juilliard rejection. The contest, though, falls smack dab in the middle of her sister's wedding. Zurika's ready with a plan, but it might take a village to pull it off.

Enter Naveen, who shares this dream with her, and off they go on an adventure to show the world what they’re made off — and maybe prove to themselves that their dreams aren’t as far-fetched as they feel. Naveen is in the same boat, and after hitching a ride with the girl who nearly runs him over, a new rivalry is formed! I loved Naveen so much, because he is exactly what I picture a young Bollywood-esque hero as, with his filmy dialogues, looks, and the way he sets out to make Zurika fall in love with him during this wedding week.

Aside from the romance, Sajni Patel does an amazing job of spinning this tale of a young girl who wants to follow her dream of being a musician, which is against any South Asian doctrine — we have the “respectable” careers, and then we have the arts. So many of us have felt torn between these, and I think that watching Zurika be so unsure during her college applications resonated with me because of it — especially given that her older sisters are lawyers, so the bar is pretty high for her!

The whole book spans a single week, so I genuinely felt like I was attending the wedding right with them, and having all of those functions that are made impossible by the pandemic right now means that I could live vicariously through them. Desi weddings tend to be huge in splendor, traditions, outfits, jewelry, food and of course, family. This book is basically a week into desi life!

There’s the intergenerational conflicts, because we see Zurika interact with aunts and uncles and grandmothers. Whether it’s fairness creams, or body hair, or open criticism about desi communities, Zurika brings a fierceness and need for justice to the table that’s pretty much what we would like to say to our families! I loved how she was scrappy, brutally honest, but was still respectful of the other person’s place in her family. Even if she crossed a line, she made up for it, and that balance is so important.

But outside of the extended family, Zurika's also torn and guilty about missing part of her sister's wedding festivities because of the contest. I loved seeing her reasoning play out, and I loved that at the end, she chose what was most important to her, but that didn't mean she had to lose the other as well. A lot of the time, there's this underlying message of "you can have this <i>or</i> that, not both" but that's not always how life works! 

I grew up with very little books that were about my culture, or followed desi communities. The importance of traditions even when you don't understand them, the importance of family, trying to carry the culture after emigrating somewhere else are all struggles that immigrant families face. Zuri's character and her motivations are important for the next generation of readers because she brings an understanding to the table — a way for young readers to see themselves in her and be able to parse both sides of the coin. 

Being Gujarati myself, it’s not often that I get to read a book with so much Gujarati lore and reference. This book was absolutely filled with it and we’re all the more better for it. There was also respect paid to Zurika’s mother’s Trinidadian heritage, which was amazing to see. I learned a few things and piqued my interest into learning more!

As much as I loved the book, and as much as I did squeal at all the filmy tropes, I did feel that the romance fell a little flat for me. Naveen and Zurika were meant to be introduced (read: match-making) before they fell into this competition, but by the end, I think they become something between friends and lovers, rather than just lovers. I think I would've liked if that was extended a bit to clarify. Other than that, the last two chapters were filled with <i>everything</i> and compared to the pace of the rest of the book, it was a lot. I think the story would've benefitted from a slightly slower end - though desi weddings end faster than you can blink, so if that's what the author was going for, they're spot on!

If you're looking for a Bollywood movie in book form? This is it. It's a whole masala movie, with the sweeping romantic descriptions, the bright colors and chaos of an Indian wedding, and an underlying message that rings true for all of us. Highly recommend!

[Thank you ABRAMS Kids, Amulet Books and NetGalley for providing this book to me in exchange for an honest review!]
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My Sister's Big Fat Indian Wedding is a fictional account of Zuri, a musical prodigy whose sister is getting married.  Did I mention that she is having the biggest, most well planned wedding that Atlanta has ever seen?  Shenanigans happen as Zuri skips out on wedding festivities in order to audition at a musical competition.  Hilarity abounds when her mother and aunties work to set her up with the groom's cousin.  You'll love this heartwarming story of family and friendship while getting a firsthand look at a foundation of Indian culture.

Before this book, I knew very little about traditional Indian weddings.  I loved how this book created an endearing and engaging story of a young woman while providing an insider's view on Indian wedding and culture.  This includes special foods, clothing, traditions, games, all for a multi-day festival honoring the bride and groom.  I found myself googling different terms for food and clothing so that I could get a good mental picture of what the book was describing.

I loved the sweet story of Zuri and her family relationships.  She is a spunky young woman who honors her family despite its lack of harmony with her dreams and goals.  I also appreciated how, even though there was some romance involved, it wasn't the main focus of the story and did not involve any open door scenes.  Modest is hottest!

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about Indian culture or who just wants to enjoy a sweet, coming of age story with a light romance.

Thank you to NetGalley and ABRAMS Kids for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.
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This will be up on pop culturalist closer to release week. This is one of my favorite Sajni Patel books. Sajni knows how to write well-rounded desi books and as a desi reader I really appreciate that!
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The setting of an Indian wedding was my favourite part of the story. Although the wedding traditions in my culture are different to Gujarati wedding traditions, the atmosphere, large amount of guests, and overall extravagance is all the same. As well as the well meaning relatives that are casually colourist and fatphobic. While I enjoyed the discussions about these topics in the book as well as the overall setting I just didn't connect to the characters the way I thought I would.
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This book was one of the more incredible contemporaries I've read, combining the complexities of familial bonds, pursuing dreams, and being an Indian-American. 

Zurika Damani is absolutely passionate about playing the violin - so much, that she knows music is her calling, not law school, unlike her parents. But after a rejection from her dream school, she'll do anything for her last chance -including competing in a musical ompetition that just so happens to take place during her sister's wedding. And not just any wedding, but a big, fat, Indian wedding, complete with a horse and bharat (but unfortunately, no elephant). Zurika will do anything to compete, even if being sister to the bride makes it next to impossible, but luckily, she has a loyal band of cousins who are determined to see her succeed and a South African frenemy, Naveen Patel, who seems to equally dissuade and encourage her. Could she really make it through the entire wedding weekend and get into a top musical school? 

So there was a lot of good things about this book:

1. The references to Indian culture: 
- First of all, they mentioned Fair and Lovely!! Oh my goodness, but I just ABHOR that horrid cream, so its nice to see that someone else does too. (I was just wondering how Zurika got off so easy because I know I would have died if I had done such a thing, so it was nice to see that it ended up being accurate after all)
- The fact that only 4 careers are acceptable in Indian society: medical, engineering, law, and business - story of my life
- The auntie/uncle network: could someone PLEASE explain how this still works to me because it absolutely astonishes me how Indian people can know each other from practically across the country (and in some cases, the world)

2. Indian food and clothes: I don't know if it was because I was Indian myself, but gracious, all that mention of food was really heartbreaking. How could they really have eaten so much good food and not gained extra weight? (And why did the author torture us this way with such descriptions?) The clothes also were so colorful and vivid, and I could easily imagine how beautiful they were. 

3. The wedding customs: They had the shoe thing!! Okay, so I've never seen it action, but I have definitely heard about it, and I was beyond thrilled to see it occur in the book, and the fact that it occurred so humorously, I just loved it. 

4. Naveen Patel: So obviously, I'm not a huge fan of enemies-to-lovers tropes; it drives me crazy because so many are based on just... I don't know. Randomness?? But this book did NOT do that at all! In fact, the relationship between Zurika and Naveen can be described more as frenemies, and I really, really liked that. They're not sure how to feel about each other because they're "technically" rivals, but at the same time, they both can relate to music not being acceptable as a profession for an Indian, and it draws them closer together even if they are technically opponents. 

5. Family bonds: I know that it's a wedding and all, so families are kind of important, but even so, it was still really heartwarming to see how connected they all were with each other. There was loyal cousins, relentless teasing, and the typical sibling rivalry, but underneath, they all knew what truly mattered and acted accordingly. This book really made me proud in that regards. 

So anyways, with that being said, I rate this book as 4.4 stars because I truly did like it a lot. I love a good cultural book, especially if its Indian, and I feel like this book definitely was accurate. I love the threads of culture woven throughout, and I love how its not a typical enemies-to-lovers trope. This honestly makes me want to look at some of the author's other work and see how that is, but anyways, for now, I do recommend it.
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Reading this book was such a joy. I'm not gujrati, but I am a South Asian in Atlanta and this book just really resonated with me and made me kinda nostalgic.
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It would be safe to say that almost everyone loves to be a part of enjoying a big, fat Indian wedding because the vibes are just rich, vibrant and so so immaculate. I am a big time fan of Ms. Patel’s work. So, it was quite nice to follow the journey of our enemies to lovers, MCs.. Along with that I really liked the whole family dynamic and how the issues among brown conservative family has been unapologetically and authentically portrayed. Also, the romance between the MCs was absolutely sweet and cute!!
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i was looking forward to reading this book because of the premise but i thought it felt short of my expectations. the main romance wasn't very well developed and i think that the other relationships in the book weren't really written well either. however, i loved seeing the bits of desi culture throughout the book, and could really picture the wedding festivities. i don't think the music subplot was well executed either, and the book was quite predictable as a whole. overall, i think the premise of this book held promise, but fell short in terms of execution.
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This book was such a cute and sweet romance! The family dynamics were interesting and relatable. All in love an enjoyable read for sure!
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Thank you to ABRAMS Books for providing me with a physical ARC in exchange for an honest review!

It's no secret that Sajni Patel is one of my favorite authors of all time, and My Sister's Big Fat Indian Wedding just proved once again why she is. I'm obsessed with all the big desi wedding vibes--the outfits, the jewelry, the food, the traditions, the family shenanigans--in this book. The last and only time I've been to an Indian wedding was when I was three years old, so safe to say that I was living vicariously through Zuri in this book. I'm not gonna lie, I was feeling super nervous seeing Zuri sneaking out against her family's wishes to perform at her auditions, as I'm sure that many South Asian readers can relate to, lol.

The romance aspect of this book was also so charming, as always! Sajni's so good at writing the cocky, charming, flirty love interest, and it made me fall head over heels for Naveen. The lines that came out of this boy's mouth *swoon*. I loved how the rivals to lovers arc played out between them and how Naveen was set on winning Zuri over while Zuri was trying (and failing) not to fall for his advances. The Trinidadian-Indian rep was also so cool to learn more about in this book! I've only ever read one or two other books with South Asian rep like this, and we definitely need more books out there with MC's from other parts of the South Asian diaspora.

Of course, the themes of intergenerational conflict, specifically through Zuri's aunt recommending a skin-lightening cream to Zuri, was also handled well, as Sajni does with all her critiques of the South Asian community. Once again, I feel like this book and Zuri as a MC will be such a great role model for young South Asian readers. It was true for Kareena in The Knockout, and it was true in this novel as well. I'm so excited for everyone to read this book when it comes out in April!
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I’m a huge fan of Sajni Patel’s adult books so I was super curious to see what her YA books were like (I have not read THE KNOCKOUT but it’s on my TBR). Plus, nothing says desi culture like a big wedding and I have missed out on wedding season for so many years now that I was just ready to get immersed in all the wedding vibes. 
We follow Zurika in this story, an aspiring violinist in her senior year of high school with designs on Juilliard. Her older sister is also getting married so it’s a pretty hectic time for her! 

Much her dismay and a large amount of anxiety, her only shot of getting into Juilliard comes by in the form of a contest that’s being judged by top college scouts…. right smack dab in the middle of wedding festivities. 
Zuri is a little bit of a troublemaker in her family – she’s fiercely independent, scrappy and sometimes impulsive and out-spoken. Yet despite those qualities of her that are not really desirable in a brown girl, she is extremely loyal and considerate of her family and their feelings. Her biggest fear is letting her family down. 

That’s why the internal struggle in Zuri is so compelling in this story – she’s trying to toe the line between staying true to herself and following her dreams while still managing the expectations of her family’s – something that I think any diaspora child can relate to, no matter which culture you belong to. 

While I liked the love interest, Naveen, I didn’t feel too much chemistry between him and Zuri. This book is marketed as an enemies-to-lovers type of situation and while, yes, they totally are enemies at first (he’s competing in the same competition as her), I feel like they definitely end up as friends as opposed to love interests – despite how much their respective families were pushing them together. 

I did love the meddlesome, matching making aunties in this. They felt so visceral and real – this is totally how aunties in real life behave and Zuri definitely handled it much better than I did when I was in high school!
I especially adored the commentary about how brown families tend to value STEM and Zuri, who wishes to pursue music full time, definitely has a chip on her shoulder regarding this – for good reason! We definitely need more artists and non-traditional career paths to be more accepted in our community. 

The descriptors of the food and clothes made me super nostalgic as well and had me wishing that one of my friends would get married soon so that I could dress up in a fancy salwar kameez or lehenga and eat all the delicious wedding foods!

What was really, especially fascinating to me was that this book had Indian-Trinidadian diaspora representation. This demographic is woefully underrepresented in brown communities so the unapologetic portrayal of it was heartening. 

Overall, this was a really great book that portrays the difficulty of staying true to yourself and your goals while still honoring your cultural traditions and background – without compromising the either of the two. 

Special thanks to NetGalley and Amulet Books for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange for my honest opinions.
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Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for this arc!

This is a very sweet and loveable book. The wedding atmosphere is warm and wonderful and I loved all the themes surrounding family, sisterhood and the celebration of Indian culture food.
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Loved this book. After a traumatic year of the pandemic, it was refreshing to read the My sister's big fat wedding. I enjoyed reading this book so much, the food, music, dance, clothes and the romance. It was witty and fresh.  I felt like I was there in the festivities.  Great read.
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𝘔𝘺 𝘉𝘪𝘨 𝘍𝘢𝘵 𝘐𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘢𝘯 𝘞𝘦𝘥𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 was one of the most adorable books I've read this year. I loved seeing the bright Indian culture and representation; all the characters were hilarious and relatable, especially the leads, Zuri and Naveen. The relationships between Zuri and her  sisters is GOALS!! Along with the wholesomeness that brings, Sajni Patel also artistically highlights important issues that many young people struggle with today. Like society's infatuation with light skin and straight hair. Honestly, the way that colorism is presented in this book was one of my favorite parts. Screw Fair— sorry, 𝘎𝘭𝘰𝘸 & Lovely 🙄 (it changes NOTHING) 

Another thing that particularly stood out to me (not at all because I relate to it lol) is the Indian community's stigmatizing of creative careers. Zuri wanted to pursue music; her family wanted her to do law. Naveen wanted to pursue music; he was stuck with engineering. It was comforting to see that others had issues in that department too, and it made me feel less alone in my struggle.

Overall, I really adored this book. Especially Naveen, the plot, Naveen, the characterization, Naveen and, oh yeah, Naveen.

4.5 ⭐️
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I LOVED THIS BOOK! The food, the clothes, the events, the love.. it was all so well done. Zuri’s family is everything and I adored their dynamic. This book was a wonderful blend of modernism meets traditional family values and finding the balance in the two. I honestly enjoyed reading this so much and didn’t want it to end.
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