Wednesday, June 8, 2022

TJ Powar Has Something to Prove - Jesmeen Kaur Deo

TJ Powar Has Something to Prove is Jesmeen Kaur Deo's absolutely brilliant debut novel.

Why/what/who/where and how you ask? Let's start with the who. Deo's lead character is TJ, a popular senior at high school, first string on the soccer team, a leader of the debate team, a friend to all and is Liam's beautiful girlfriend. 

But what does she have to prove? Well, when her cousin Samrin is the target of a hurtful meme, TJ takes a stand. She will let all of her body hair grow, unchecked. "This house believes that TJ Powar can be her hairy self and still be beautiful."

I liked TJ in the first few chapters and I adored her by the last few. She's such a dynamic personality - quick, smart, caring and principled. But she's vulnerable and unsure as well. Do you remember the pressure at high school to conform in so many ways, with physical appearance being right up there at the top? Now, can you see yourself bucking the trend and saying no to hair removal of all kinds. And sticking to it when your life starts to fall apart? 

There's a great cast of supporting players as well. I thought the high school strata was well written and believable. And the same for family, friends and relationships. Matters of the heart are a large part of TJ Powar's story. There are some wonderfully funny bits and on the flip side, some very poignant, true life moments. 

Deo has employed a unique and very apt platform for the plot. Debating. Arguing for and against topics in front of others and being judged. TJ's mental debates with herself are so well written and structured. (I had no idea it was so cutthroat either!)

There's so much food for thought in TJ Powar. I'll leave you with this from TJ's esthetician..."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 Understood?"

This was such a fantastic read and a very easy five stars. I will be eagerly awaiting Deo's next book!

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