12 November 2019

Today's Read: Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee

review of Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara DeeIf the boys are supposed to be doing some harmless flirting, how come Mila feels so uncomfortable? How come no one seems to understand that she doesn't like to be randomly hugged? Sadly, Mila is not the only seventh-grade girl who has had a #MeToo moment.

Here's how her story starts:

Every day that September, the four of us escaped outdoors. The weather was warm (a little too warm for fall, if you thought about it), and the cafeteria smelled gross, like melted cheddar cheese and disinfectant. So when the bell rang for lunch, we each grabbed something fast--a container of yogurt, a bag of chips, an apple--and ran out to the blacktop, where you could play basketball or run around, or just talk with your friends and breathe actual oxygen for thirty minutes.
Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee (Aladdin, 2019, p. 1 advance reviewer copy)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: contemporary times; middle school
  • Circumstances: After Mila is unexpectedly caught in a group hug by some boys at school, she becomes the target of unwanted contact: bumps, hugs, shoulder squeezes. She doesn't feel comfortable but doesn't know what to do. Some of her friends blame her for being a baby or for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Others wonder why she doesn't recognize flirting when she sees it. Even her best friend thinks Mila is blowing things out of proportion. To Mila the boys' behavior is not acceptable, but when she tries to talk to one of the teachers, she is told "boys will be boys." It isn't until she joins a karate class that Mila gains self-confidence and the courage to stand up for herself when others won't stand by her side.
  • Genre & themes: middle grade story about an important contemporary issue told in a realistic and sensitive way; themes of self-respect, boundaries, consent, friendship
  • Some thoughts: This book is an important conversation starter. Mila's situation is age realistic and believable as are the reactions of her friends, teachers, and family. Karate won't be the answer for every girl, but finding a safe haven and a self-esteem-building activity can be empowering. Girls are never too young to learn that they are in charge of their own personal space and that there's a huge difference between harassment and flirting, between unwanted contact and consent. The short chapters and large font make this an easy-to-read story, and Mila's inner thoughts nicely express her confusion and unhappiness.
  • Resources: the Simon & Schuster website includes a reading guide and activity sheet geared to libraries, teachers, and book clubs.
  • Acknowledgments: Thanks to the publicist for the review copy of Maybe He Just Likes You.


bermudaonion 11/12/19, 8:28 AM  

I thought this book was outstanding. It is a great conversation starter.

sherry fundin 11/12/19, 11:37 AM  

sounds interesting and anything that starts a conversation is to be a good thin
sherry @ fundinmental

Becki 11/12/19, 12:22 PM  

Having a middle-school-aged daughter, I think this does sound age appropriate and like a conversation we'd have. What a timely book, with what sounds like a good message.

Catherine @ Book Club Librarian 11/12/19, 4:31 PM  

Sounds like a good resource for a difficult but important topic. Thanks for sharing it.

Vicki 11/12/19, 4:48 PM  

Sounds good, I'll be looking for a copy.

Girl Who Reads 11/12/19, 7:35 PM  

I don't read much middle grades but it is an important topic.

Cheryl 11/12/19, 11:45 PM  

Oh, I would love to read this one. So important in today's world. Thanks for sharing. I appreciate your visit to my blog today.

Gimme The Scoop 11/13/19, 9:04 PM  

Sounds really good! I need to look into this one.

Daryl 11/18/19, 9:30 AM  

sounds like a good book for ALL pre teens

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