I received this book at no cost from the publisherMaybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee
Published by Aladdin on October 1, 2019
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by Barbara Dee
Barbara Dee explores the subject of #MeToo for the middle grade audience in this heart-wrenching—and ultimately uplifting—novel about experiencing harassment and unwanted attention from classmates.For seventh-grader Mila, it starts with some boys giving her an unwanted hug on the school blacktop. A few days later, at recess, one of the boys (and fellow trumpet player) Callum tells Mila it’s his birthday, and asks her for a “birthday hug.” He’s just being friendly, isn’t he? And how can she say no? But Callum’s hug lasts a few seconds too long, and feels…weird. According to her friend, Zara, Mila is being immature and overreacting. Doesn’t she know what flirting looks like?
But the boys don’t leave Mila alone. On the bus. In the halls. During band practice—the one place Mila could always escape.
It doesn’t feel like flirting—so what is it? Thanks to a chance meeting, Mila begins to find solace in a new place: karate class. Slowly, with the help of a fellow classmate, Mila learns how to stand her ground and how to respect others—and herself.
From the author of Everything I Know About You, Halfway Normal, and Star-Crossed comes this timely story of a middle school girl standing up and finding her voice.”
Barbara Dee does an amazing job of making the distinction between flirting and harassment.
Mila wears a favorite fuzzy green sweater and when the basketball team wants to touch it for good luck, it makes her feel uncomfortable, especially when the touching and hugging continues after she tells them to stop. It continues even after she stops wearing it. The other seventh graders seem to turn a blind eye to what is happening to Mila and she is afraid to speak up, especially when her friend, Zara seems jealous of the attention.
Her other friend Omi is very quiet and has no desire to be singled out herself. Her friend Max suggests that she report the actions to an adult, she feels she can’t since she doesn’t want more attention. She can’t tell her mother because she just lost her job and she doesn’t want her mother any more upset. Dee does a wonderful job of pointing out that while the boys are wrong, they really haven’t been taught that these actions are acceptable.
The story moves quickly and this book is something necessary that needs to be discussed especially with impressionable boys and to make girls feel confident that it is ok to speak up. While at points, this story is heartbreaking it shows how to move through the mazes of growing up.