Magical and sweet, There's Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon is a story about finding love without losing our true selves. Told in two voices, it begins with disappointed-in-love Ashish Patel getting dumped by his ex-girlfriend. Bummed out and going AWOL, his parents are confident they can find him a better match.
Up for the challenge, he must date an Indian-American girl — under contract. Their adventures must include trips to the Hindu temple and a visit to eccentric Gita Aunite. Then there's Sweetie Nair. She's an athlete and loyal friend whose traditional parents are hung up on her weight. With lessons to learn about themselves and each other, both Ashish and Sweetie can't deny the budding magic between them. But can they fall in love without losing their true selves?
Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly Devos is a similar read about discovering one's power. High school senior Cookie Vonn has dreams of being a fashion designer post graduation. Hoping to fly on a plane to NYC to pitch her portfolio and appeal for scholarships, she faces the challenge of weight. Too big to fly, she purchases a second seat and eventually arrives in the city disappointed. After she leaves and loses a lot of weight, a major fashion designer offers her a job in NYC. Only now Cookie notices a world full of body shaming and bashing other women.
Her dream of designing clothes for women of all shapes and sizes is still a dream, but does weight have anything to do with achieving her goals? What if she was capable of making her dreams come true all along?
If this interests you, also read Tanaz Bhathena's The Beauty of the Moment. It's a gripping story about a budding artist trying to meet her parents academic expectations, all the while falling in love with Malcolm, a boy with a messy background of his own.
Stories like The Beauty of the Moment and There's Something About Sweetie have a common thread based on tradition and other cultures. If you want even more love stories that root themselves in staying connected to tradition and other countries, specifically India, check out titles like 96 Words for Love by Rachel Roy and Ava Dash, and Bombay Blues by Tanuja Desai Hidier. These titles are all about travel, finding oneself, and of course, love. You can't go wrong.