TJ Powar Has Something to Prove

TJ Powar Has Something to Prove
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Release Date
June 07, 2022
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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.

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TJ Powar Has Something to Prove
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TJ POWAR HAS SOMETHING TO PROVE by Jesmeen Kaur Deo is a YA Contemporary novel in which TJ, a popular soccer player and debater, falls from public grace after reevaluating her relationship with her body hair. When TJ’s cousin is publicly shamed for her facial hair on Instagram, TJ, who’s always been religious about getting waxed and threaded, decides she’s no longer going to do either. Instead, she plans to embrace her natural body to show she can still be beautiful either way. TJ, though, doesn’t have the easiest time finding evidence for that resolution, but while she’s hurt and surprised by those who don’t support her, she’s even more shocked by the ones who do.

As soon as I saw the topic of this book, I knew I had to read it. The societal pressure we have about removing body hair, particularly in relation to women, is so intense. It’s something that’s drilled into us from a young age, and even though there’s been pushback against it in recent years, it still hasn’t really made a dent in mainstream culture. Getting to go on this journey with TJ is cathartic in many ways, and I love how the author allows TJ to come to a realistic realization in the end, as opposed to a feel-good conclusion that’s more fantasy about how things should be than how they actually are.

I’m also a sucker for the enemies-to-lovers trope, and the way Deo uses it is fantastic. Charlie, TJ’s debating nemesis for just about as long as she can remember, has a huge arc in the story. The more I got to know him, the more I loved him, and I appreciated all of the personal details I learned about each character the deeper we got into the plot. I fully shipped Charlie and TJ and found myself flipping through the pages to find their next scene together.

That being said, I still really enjoyed all the other subplots with TJ’s friends and family. The book blends so many elements together seamlessly: an important subject matter, friendship, romance, familial trauma, coming of age, and so much more. It’s entertaining, relatable, and everything you want in a story. TJ POWAR HAS SOMETHING TO PROVE proved to me that Deo is an author to watch, and most importantly, to read.
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