I found Fight Like a Girl by Canadian author Sheena Kamal a bit difficult to read.

Trisha, a 17-year-old Muay Thai kickboxer of Trinidadian heritage, is an interesting character. She is fierce, which is the No. 1 rule of being a woman from Trinidad (“Be hella fierce), to her opponents in the ring and in on herself.

She is not; however, fierce, or tough with her single mom (her dad still lives in Trinidad and comes by once in a while to wreak havoc on their lives and be abusive to her mom). Trisha is certainly strong enough to stand up to her mom but doesn’t.

And this is what I found difficult. Trisha believes the behaviour she endures at the hands of her mother is normal (yet acknowledges their friends, neighbours in the Toronto townhouse complex they live in wouldn’t be OK with what happens on her side of the wall). This is what made this read so difficult: I wasn’t OK with how Trisha’s mom behaves, and it made me furious and sad on Trisha’s behalf.

Then there was the whole accidental death of Trisha’s father. It was such a small part in the book, almost an afterthought. But as the book progresses, Trisha sees how at peace her mom is with her father’s death and how easily a new man moves into their home and then begins to notice the strange patterns of behaviour begin to repeat. Trish begins to suspect her father’s death wasn’t an accident and wonders what is really going on in her house.

As a reader, you also become suspicious, but Kamal does a great job about keeping you in the dark. The ending was a complete surprise. A complete what! surprise.

Kamal also does a great job at showcasing the Muay Thai lifestyle, and Toronto. I always love reading books that highlight communities I know.

Fight Like a Girl is $14.99 and is from Penguin Teen Canada.

A copy of Fight Like a Girl is courtesy of Penguin Teen Canada
for an honest review. The opinions are my own.