Book Tour| The Knockout – Sajni Patel

I’ve been really lucky lately with being able to interview authors. I love finding out more about the author and their book. Today I have another interview during my stop on The Knockout tour hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. Keep on reading to find out more about this book and author.

Genre: YA Contemporary
Publishing date: January 26th, 2021 (already published)

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-ever Olympic team. If only her sport wasn’t seen as something too rough for girls, something she’s afraid to share with anyone outside of her family. Despite pleasing her parents, exceling at school, and making plans to get her family out of debt, Kareena’s never felt quite Indian enough, and her training is only making it worse.

Which is inconvenient, since she’s starting to fall for Amit Patel, who just might be the world’s most perfect Indian. Admitting her feelings for Amit will cost Kareena more than just her pride–she’ll have to face his parents’ disapproval, battle her own insecurities, and remain focused for the big fight. Kareena’s bid for the Olympics could very well make history–if she has the courage to go for it.

Content Warning: disphoria, parent with chronic illness, misogyny, bullying

Book Links

Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

Author Interview

What inspired you to write The Knockout?

The Knockout was inspired by my teen years. The story is set in my high school, in my hometown, and many of the characters were inspired by classmates. I wanted to try for a story about competition, but in a sport that we don’t see too much of. While I was involved in mixed martial arts during my teens, I met a female Muay Thai fighter in college, and she made an everlasting impression. A beautiful, bubbly woman whose mere presence made everyone want to be her friend…turned badass in a ring. She was so multi-faceted and inspiring, and stripped away the stigma of women in sports, particularly of women in contact/brutal sports. I was also interested in exploring personal feelings of straddling multiple cultures and often times not fitting in. Some of these themes play out in the book, particularly: What does it mean to be Indian? Am I not Indian enough? Where do I belong? Who decides? Can I root myself in multiple places instead of being boxed in as one thing or another? These questions, of course, spill over into what it means to be a girl, an athlete and fighter, a teenager, a friend, daughter, etc.

What has been the favorite part of your publishing journey so far?

My favorite part is meeting readers, reading messages, watching their videos of how they enjoyed the book and related to Kareena’s experiences. I recently spoke with a young Indian actress who shares a hilarious number of similarities with Kareena, down to the names of the ex friends and pink boxing tape, and how much she sees herself in this story. I started out writing for myself, and then to share for entertainment, but to know my words have made readers feel seen is hands down the best part of publishing books.

If you were a character in The Knockout, what kind of character would you be?

I’m probably Kareena’s mom. I wrote her the way I’ve felt and how I would handle having a teenage daughter in Kareena’s shoes.

Describe The Knockout in five words or less.

Badass girls chasing dreams.

What is your favorite quote from The Knockout?

“Mama said knock you out.” OK, it’s from an LL Cool J song, but Kareena’s mom really did her to knock them out.

What do you hope readers take away from your story?

 I hope readers have a fun time, that they laugh and feel, and walk away believing in their dreams.

Could you give us 5 random facts about The Knockout (think the story, writing, publishing, anything that comes to mind)?

  • The story is set in my high school, down to the school colors, mascot, campus layout, and the ducklings in the creek behind the school.
  • I wrote The Knockout after a long year in depression. I wrote it for myself and to find joy in writing. Getting it published was the furthest thing from my mind. But I’m so happy that it’s taken me this far.
  • I wrote the book in one month in 2017 while working full time; sent it to literary agents in 2018 and had 3 offers of representation within 2 weeks. It’s the book that connected me to my fabulous agent, who has since sold 9 more projects of mine.
  • The color pink plays a theme. It’s the color many confident, badass fighters wear, particularly men. It’s a color Kareena aspires to “be good enough” to wear. Which leads me into #5…
  • I nearly screamed when I received my author copies and took off the dust jacket to find a hot pink hardcover underneath.

Tour Schedule

As usual, if you’re curious about this book now, click here for the full schedule. There are other bloggers and bookstagrammers talking about The Knockout this week.

About the Author

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 Magazine, NBC, The Insider, PopSugar, Buzzfeed, and many others.

Author Links


I want to thank Sajni for taking time and answering my questions. I love stories where characters go after their dreams and fight for what they want. I’ll definitely have to sit down and read The Knockout soon.

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