Maybe He Just Likes You
Author: Barbara Dee
Publisher: Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2019
It starts very subtly. Some boys touch Mila in a way that makes her uncomfortable. It begins with an unwanted hug. It seems a bit weird, but, after all, is a friendly hug so bad? And initially, Mila thinks it was just one odd, isolated incident.
Then “incidents” keep happening. It’s not like Mila doesn’t speak up for herself, but the boys won’t stop and her friends don’t understand. Mila hasn’t done anything to attract this attention and she doesn’t want it.
When Mila enrolls in a karate class, it seems like the perfect way to learn to defend herself. Yet even this brings her problems, for her effort to defend herself lands her in the principal’s office. It’s too difficult and too embarrassing to explain – especially to a man – what is going on. And what is going on? Is it simple bullying, like her friend Max suggests? Or is there something more to this?
This book made me so angry. Not because it was poorly written or far-fetched. It made me angry because it is true. It’s honest, real-life, and though not overly explicit, raw. It certainly is a story that is going to raise powerful emotions.
I liked that the ending was realistic. It is not too goody-two-shoes but instead leaves room for hope, change, and reconciliation.
Having just admitted that this wasn’t the typical feel-good book, do I recommend it? Absolutely. I think it should replace some of the other school required reading choices, be a book that is discussed in book clubs, and be brought to readers’ attention at libraries in as many ways as possible.
And though these early days back to school are busy ones, expect to see discussion questions in the upcoming weeks!
*Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.