ARC Review: Maybe He Just Likes You (MG)

I wish this book weren’t so “out of the ordinary.” If all middle-grade authors handled the complicated business of growing up with the skill that Barbara Dee does, we’d all be better off. It’s not an “another book about bullying” as the issues of consent, and sexual harassment is much bigger and more complex. I wish there were more books for this age group that could capture and openly discusses all the feelings involved with being a middle school student. Not only does it have a positive outcome, but it models what confronting your harasser might look and feel like. As readers see Mila struggle and emerge stronger and happier, they might have the courage to follow in her footsteps.

From the publisher:

For seventh grader Mila, it starts with an unwanted hug on the school blacktop.

The next day, it’s another hug. A smirk. Comments. It all feels…weird. According to her friend Zara, Mila is being immature, overreacting. Doesn’t she know what flirting looks like?

But it keeps happening, despite Mila’s protests. On the bus, in the halls. Even during band practice-the one time Mila could always escape to her “blue-sky” feeling. It seems like the boys are EVERYWHERE. And it doesn’t feel like flirting–so what is it?

Mila starts to gain confidence when she enrolls in karate class. But her friends still don’t understand why Mila is making such a big deal about the boys’ attention. When Mila is finally pushed too far, she realizes she can’t battle this on her own–and finds help in some unexpected places.

I’m an unabashed Barbara Dee fan. I also enjoyed her previous books: Star-Crossed and Halfway Normal. This book will be available on October 1, 2019

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