A 2020 ALA Notable Children’s Book A Washington Post Best Children’s Book of 2019
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.”
(free review copy) MUST READ. I can only think of one other middle grade book that hit me as hard as this one did, albeit on a different subject matter, but MAYBE HE JUST LIKES YOU is the most universally important and timely book that I have read in a long, long time. It's important for my daughters. My son. My husband. My coworkers, both male and female. And it was so important for ME - to have my feelings validated in story. . For the middle school me...... Boys snapping my bra straps and my friends being jealous rather than sticking up for me Boys laughing and looking at my chest and asking if it's too cold in the room For the high school me...... Bun-hugger volleyball shorts making every game an agony of wondering what was being whispered Keeping my head down walking past a certain group of guys For the adult me....... Trying to make sure I was out of my workspace every time a certain male co-worker was supposed to enter My heart racing every time I walk past a certain group of male co-workers . 7th grade Mila in this book isn't raped. She isn't the victim of severe sexual assault. Neither was I. But the casual and insidious nature of sexual harassment is harmful. Full stop. It's harmful for girls, harmful for women, and harmful for schools and workplaces. Harmful for boys too, because they're not being taught to STOP at a young enough age. . Barbara Dee addresses this issue in such a perfect way - showing the boys as perpetrators, yes, but also as kids who hadn't been taught explicitly where the line is. Showing the girls as knowing the line based on instinct, but not how to handle it it yet. Teachers and parents as wanting to help, but not always understanding the true impact of "joking around". We are all imperfect. Most everyone wants to help. Wants to do better. But conversations need to be had. We need to TALK about this with middle schoolers. We need to talk about it as parents and as school staff. . Not just about sexual consent with high schoolers - this is different than, "Do you want to have intercourse? Say YES if so." and not having sex with a girl when she's drunk. This is about teaching younger tweens and teens what kind of talk, proximity and touch is crossing the line. When it isn't flirting - and that sometimes, what one person takes as flirting, another can take as harassment. And while that's hard to understand, STOP means STOP. And that sometimes it's crazy hard for someone to even say STOP because society says that it's probably okay.......she's probably just overreacting.......right? . As you can tell, this book hit me hard. I'm planning to offer a staff book club for my middle and high school staff as soon as the book releases on October 1st - I need to also find a way to have it read aloud to our middle schoolers in class as well. It's that important.
THIS BOOK IS SO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT. Put it in your classrooms, libraries, and directly into your children's hands. Dee tackles harassment in an age appropriate manner that doesn't shy away from holding adults accountable for paying attention. My favorite part is when Mila begins karate classes and learns that defending yourself is about more than shin kicks (although they're still awesome). Bravo!
I am writing this review as a parent, not a teacher. A parent of girls and a boy. This book needs to be in the hands of every single upper middle school student. Girls need it to stand up for themselves and speak up without feeling ashamed. Boys need it to reinforce that it’s never ok to tease a girl about her body, or put their hands on anyone without their permission. A safe book about sexual harassment and consent for kids who are the most hormonal and confused and facing the most peer pressure during the middle school years. Adults could benefit from reading this too to better connect with kids 12+. Someday I’ll have 7th graders (too soon if you ask me!) and they will read this book and we will squash the notion that “boys will be boys” and instead think “boys will be good humans” and if they aren’t, they will face serious consequences and we need to have these talks with our young teens and equip them with strategies. Laurie Halse Anderson (author of SPEAK that came out in 1999 and SHOUT that came out in 2019) has spent her life as a former victim researching and speaking to boys and girls about consent and healthy relationships. I heard her speak live this summer in Michigan. She scared me, but also woke something up in me. The statistics are terrifying. And not much has changed since I graduated high school 20 years ago. We are failing kids by not talking about “the tough stuff” yet we expect them to know how to act. Some boys still don’t know what is and what’s not OK, and girls don’t speak up enough (hence the 2nd title SHOUT). Please consider reading this with your 7th grader and up. And find Laurie’s books - one that is 20 years old and still very relevant. You’ll thank me and these authors. Thank you Barbara Dee and Laurie Halse Anderson. This is a perfect book for upper middle grade readers who may not be ready for SPEAK and a powerful conversation starter. One of the best books of 2019.
Stacey, Reading in the Middle Grades, Teacher & Middle Grade Book Reader & Reviewer.
“They were just being friendly.” “Today’s my birthday.” “Seventh grade boys can be very immature.” “Maybe they just like you.” “It’s called flirting.” “Maybe if you think about what you’re doing…”
Hands swishing across her shoulder, squeezing a shoulder, bumping her shoulder on the bus. Boys asking for hugs and to touch her sweater for luck, leaning on her during band practice, touching her. Even when she tells them to stop. It gets worse when she finds out that the basketball team has made a game out of harassing her.
Seventh-grader Mila doesn’t know what is happening, but she knows she feels very uncomfortable. And it keeps getting worse. “The whole thing is out of control.” (184) Are the boys on the basketball team just playing around or is she misreading their actions and words? Her friends aren’t much help. Zara makes everything all about her and can say mean things (although she always apologizes), Omi is supportive but timid, and Max insists that she talk to Mr. McCabe, but he is also the boys’ basketball coach. Her female guidance counselor is on maternity leave and, when she finally goes to Mr. Dolan, the male guidance, he brushes off her concerns, “Mila, I can tell you from experience that the best course of action is to try to ignore them.” (56) Mila can’t tell her mother who has her own problems with a mean boss and trying to make ends meet and convince her ex-husband to pay child support.
Finally Mila gets some strength from karate lessons and Samira, a school classmate who leads the lessons. When she is again harassed before the big band concert, she makes an act of desperation, unfortunately bringing the concert to a halt, but reinforced by another classmate’s similar story, she ultimately tells the band teacher about the endless harassment. Finally someone understands, “…I also understand that sometimes you reach a point where the only thing that matters is being heard. No, not just heard. Listened to, right?” (202)
Mila’s story made me cringe throughout. The story, while simply told, conveys Mila’s confusion and feelings of helplessness. The novel illustrates the importance of telling an adult, an adult who understands and recognizes harassment for what it is.. As Mr. Dolan says when Mila is explaining how it felt, “I really think this is something I need to hear.” (216)
Barbara Dee’s newest novel needs to be read by all middle school girls and, even more critically, by all middle school boys. This would be an ideal book for a group of students to read-aloud and discuss with a teacher and counselor in a homeroom meeting or advisement period. It also would be an effective choice for a whole-class read before or after book clubs reading novels about bullying.
What an important middle grade book that discusses boundaries and consent and what is crossing the line or not - this should be added to all middle school libraries and up. Thank you, @barbaradeebooks for writing this important book #pernillerecommends adding it to my best books of the year list
When Mila is sexually harassed, she finds little support and understanding from her friends and the school. At home, she protects her stressed-out, single mom from the pain.
Barbara Dee has written an important, yet often unrealistic, middle grade novel about middle school sexual harassment. Dee gets right through lack of understanding among her friends (one thinks it’s flirting) and their different reactions. The diverse characters in MAYBE HE JUST LIKES YOU give depth to the story.
What I didn’t like was the overly simplistic ending and how the harassment was handled within the school. A teacher facilitates Mila telling them boys how she feels, they repeat her words, get detention, develop insight and act nice to her and everyone lives happily ever after. From the moment Mila told, everything fell into place textbook perfectly. There were no entitled parents defending their sons, no boys who didn’t deal remorse. Middle grade kids on the cusp of their teen years deserve a little more credit for being able to absorb more than a Disneyesque ending.
I do recommend MAYBE HE JUST LIKES YOU as an important book for all readers.
This book is surprising and brave. I had such a visceral reaction to all of Mila's harrassment--specifics are always different, but the feelings are the same, and Dee does an amazing job at capturing Mila's humiliation, confusion, and self-doubt. When Mila acknowledges what's being done to her and finds the courage to fight back, I was so proud of her. I'd like to force every single one of my students to read this, which would probably backfire, so instead I'll just booktalk it enthusiastically and frequently.
It's been marketed as a #MeToo book for MG, but there is more going on than just one issue. I loved how the friendships were part of the story as well, as Mila starts to figure out what makes a good friend and how to handle the imperfections of her friends. Her mom's struggles are also handled well, with Mila knowing enough that the reader gets the picture, but isn't focused on the adult issues. It felt very age appropriate. And three cheers for Delilah the stinky dog.
I do feel like Callum got let off a bit too easily. That comment on the way to the stage was more than just a "joke that came out wrong."
When I was in elementary school (around 10 or 11), a guy on the public tranport vehicle sat next to me and put his hand on my thigh. I didn't understand why he did it, but I remembered feeling dirty. So I got off the vehicle 2 blocks from school and walked the rest of the way. That was my first brush with sexual harrassment.
I think it is really important to talk to children about a sensitive topic like this. It shouldn't be tolerated or taken lightly. No one should ever have to suffer something so traumatizing, especially a child.
I think this book tells a really important story. Something that everyone should be aware of. I like how this was narrated from a pre-teen's point of view. It's such a tender age but at the same time it's also a time when kids start to understand some adult issues. Honestly, I would have given this a higher rating but I just didn't like how quickly Mila's issues with her "friends" were resolved.
In the age of #MeToo, as more and more girls and women are speaking out about their personal sexual harassment experiences, author Barbara Dee takes on this issue and shows how easily it can happen and how girls and women are pushed into keeping silent.
For seventh-grader Mila Brennan, all starts with a green fuzzy sweater and the lingering hand of Callum Burley during a birthday hug for her friend Omi, much to the delight of his friends Dante, Tobias, and Leo, a/k/a the basketball boys, and much to Mila's discomfort. When it happens again later that day in band practice where Mila and Callum, both trumpeters, sit next to each other, her discomfort increases and begins to become suspicion. The next day, there are smirks from the basketball boys as Leo convinces Mila, who is wearing her fuzzy green sweater again, that it's his birthday and harasses her into giving him a hug. Soon, it's comments, smirks, and more unwanted touching, even when Mila switches to wearing a painted spattered plaid flannel shirt of her mother's instead of the green sweater. But when she tries to tell her friend what's happening, outgoing, flirty Zara, who has a crush on Leo, tells her she's overreacting, so Mila decides to keep things to herself. She doesn't want to bother her mom, either, Mrs. Brennan is divorced, and struggling to make ends meet, plus she works for a boss who keeps her in a constant stressful state, despite working long hours. Then, stress in the house increases when her mother finally quits her job, so Mila really doesn't want to add to that by telling her mother about the harassment at school.
And as luck would have it, Mila's guidance counselor is out on maternity leave. Her friend Max thinks Milas is being bullied by the basketball boys and that she should speak to Mr. McCabe, the vice-principal. He reminds her that when he was bullied the year before, Mila had encouraged him to speak with Mr. McCabe and the bullying stopped.
As Mila's anxiety, discomfort, and isolation grows, she begins to act out, but her actions only get her in trouble and the real problem continues to go noticed by any of the adults at school. But when her mother says that they have two weeks of free classes at the newly opens E Motions, a local gym, Mila determines that if friends don't understand what happening to her, she will "need to take care of myself. By myself." (pg 139) and signs on for karate classes. There, she begins to feel confident and empowered in the karate class, even making a new friend from band who understands what's happening at school. But it all comes tumbling down when Callum makes a cruel comment just before they go on stage for the school's Fall Concert. Desperate, Mila makes one last cry for help - on stage with her trumpet.
Maybe He Just Likes You is a well-written but difficult book to read, filled with exactly the kind of real confusion and honest emotions you would expect of a seventh grader who isn't sure she's the victim of sexual harassment or the subject of a cruel prank. Either way, it's tricky terrain for Mila.
In this well-crafted novel, Dee has captured all the ways in which harassment not only starts, but is allowed to continue. She deftly shows how it begins with Mila's own self-doubt about the boys' motives, reinforced by her friends doubt about it. Maybe Callum just likes you, they tell her, causing Mila to retreat into silence. But while her voice was silenced, her actions weren't.
Why, I asked myself, didn't her mother question Mila's sudden decision to wear her baggy old flannel shirt with paint splotches it, even after a big deal was made about it? An why didn't Ms. Fender, the music teacher, not pull Mila aside and try to talk to her the first time she acted out instead of punishing her? Dee show that there are so many missed opportunities to stop what is happening. But they just didn't notice it and that's what happens, isn't it?
My heart really went out to Mila and I wonder how many middle grade girls are in the same situation. Hopefully, Maybe He Just Likes You will give give them courage to speak out. It can be very empowering, as Mila discovers.
Maybe He Just Likes You will be available October 1, 2019
This book is recommended for readers age 9+ This book was an EARC received from Media Masters Publicity
This is the most important book I've read in years. It was a gut-punch book and a heart-hope book. Seventh-grade Mila is such a vivid character, so real. She's sexually harassed by a group of boys at her school (they keep a scorecard of what they can "get away" with--comments about her body, hugging her to feel her breasts, grabbing her butt). No one believes her at first and she questions herself--was she making a big deal out of "boys being boys"? I was with Mila every word of the story, and I WAS HER during parts of the story. Unexpectedly, I was sobbing remembering back to an incident in my twenties when a group of young men who were drinking were threatening to "do something" to me. They didn't. But I was scared and hiding in a closet. The danger I felt still makes my heart race and the tears flow four decades later. Sexual harassment is real. It leaves scars . . . on the inside. Author Barbara Dee does a masterful job of making sexual harassment/"Me Too" REAL to all readers--middle school girls and boys, parents and teachers. It's a springboard for discussion . . . Are you part of the problem or part of the solution when it comes to sexual harassment? Highly recommended for all readers Gr. 5 through adult.
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.
This was an incredibly important book for me to read: as a mom, as a teacher, and as a woman. I couldn’t put it down, even though parts of this MG novel made me want to scream with anger and throw it across the room. And I’m finding it hard to “write a review” about a book that has moved me so much.
All the “reviewer” stuff applies: great character development, growth, and change; a crisp plot that doesn’t slow down or falter; lessons EVERYONE needs to be taking away.
But the intangibles. Who might need this book in my class, regardless of their gender, to understand that they, too, can be heard. That they, too, must be LISTENED TO. That they, too, have a voice.
That “no” means “no.”
Maybe He Just Likes You is a vital story that belongs in intermediate classrooms and up. So grateful to my friends Amber Kuehler and Jason Lewis for sharing this book with me.
Sometimes, a book comes out and it's been long overdue. It may be from an underrepresented voice. It may be about a topic we don't talk about enough. And it's not the best book ever, it may be poorly written or heavy-handed. But we praise it, not because of its literary merit, but because it's the pioneer that we need. We need the representation and the empowerment, the permission to write the stories that need to be told. We celebrate it, and hope that, now that the groundwork has been done, we can expect more of these books to come and wow us.
Well, this is certainly an empowering book, and I can't think of any other like it. It's about the harassment that happens to girls as early as middle school (or earlier). It isn't quite bullying, and it isn't quite teasing, and aren't you just being sensitive, anyway? IT IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT.
But (and) this book is also wonderfully written. Fantastically developed protagonist, vividly realistic scenarios, and painfully relatable moments of shame, self-doubt, and desire for it all to go away. I love it and cherish it. I am thankful that it is out there, and hope it does well.
Barbara Dee addresses a middle school issue head on in this book and models healthy resolutions just as she did in "All the Things I Know About You." Mila is in 7th grade and the boys are paying her a little too much attention. As her discomfort grows, she struggles with how to address the problem. Here are some things I really liked about this book: 1. Mila is a trumpet player, so there is lots of band room action. 2. Her family (Mom, sister and Mila) goes to a gym together and they each find their own favorite class. 3. Mila chooses karate and discovers the joys of practiced self-discipline and gained confidence that come from improving your personal fitness. 4. There are adults who really listen and empathize with her helping her to resolve the problem. One of them even apologizes for not realizing earlier how serious the issue really was. 5. The culprits are held accountable and given consequences. This book will remind middle school boys and girls to respect each other's boundaries.
Thank you to Aladdin and Edelweiss for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
⭐️ALL THE STARS!!!⭐️ . 〰️ 〰️ Thanks to @kate.olson.reads for sharing this book with me and #kidlitexchange; it's out 10/1 . 〰️ 〰️ I'll never forget how it felt when a middle school boy created a joke about my body when I was in 7th grade. It was over 25 years ago, but I can still recall the shame and insecurity it created in me. I'll never forget how when I told an adult, they said "it's just words" and "it's a compliment!" I certainly didn't feel complimented. I felt scared and embarrassed. . 〰️ 〰️ Barbara Dee has written an important book in Maybe He Just Likes You, one that should be read by as many adults and children as possible. I read this book in one sitting (sleep? who needs sleep?) and plan on buying multiple copies for my library, my guidance counselors, my health teachers and friends. It will be an excellent conversation starter. We have to have this conversation! We need to do a better job teaching students how to assert themselves in the face of unwanted attention AND teaching students the importance of respecting each other. We can’t wait until high school to talk about this. . 〰️ 〰️ Mila has been experiencing unwanted touches and attention from boys in her grade, but when she tries to tell them to stop they only laugh and say she is overreacting. Even some of her friends aren't helpful; shouldn't she like the attention? It's just flirting after all, right? It's not like they can touch her without her permission -- she must be doing something to make herself a target. (no. No. NO.) Mila is soon scared to go to school and begins covering her body in voluminous shirts and sweaters. Nothing works. Not until she joins a karate class and learns to assert herself will she regain control. Not until she finds the courage to tell an adult the truth will things stop. . 〰️ 〰️ #librariansofinstagram #librariesofinstagram #barbaradee #maybehejustlikesyou @barbaradee #mglit #mgbooks #ilovemg #booksbooksbooks #bookreview #bookstagram #metoo
The boys are teasing Mila, a 6th grader. Why? Why won't they stop? What is really happening? Whatever they are doing continues as she tries to stop it. In addition to figuring out what is happening to her, Mila learns more about herself and navigating middle school friendships. Who are your friends? Which ones truly have your back? This was a powerful book about empowering yourself, finding your voice and reporting inappropriate behavior. Whoever said every middle schooler needs to read or hear this was right. Young or old, we all need words to use if this or similar things start happening to us.
First it was a hug that lasted too long. Then another. Next came bumps and pats, and then the giggles and snickers. Mila doesn’t understand what’s going on with some of the boys on the basketball team, but she knows how they are treating her isn’t right. But what can she do? Should she tell someone, and if so, who? Her mother is struggling with a difficult job, and her guidance counselor just went on maternity leave. She wants to tell her friends, but they seem to think this is all harmless joking and flirting. Mila knows that’s not it, and as the behaviors continue, she begins to act out, desperate to find her voice.
I flew through this book, mainly because I had to know what would happen to Mila. I loved that Barbara Dee wrote about topics like consent and harassment, for it happens in middle school too. This book will mean so much to victims, and hopefully teach the bullies a lot too.
Why I chose this book: I would like to expand my coverage of chapter books, so when the opportunity arose to review such a timely book, I was delighted. A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Seventh grade Mila is being sexually harassed by a group of boys at school. They have a "game" in which they score points for touching her, making obscene comments to her, and the like. Mila's uncertainty is what rings so true. How do you know when someone crosses the line? Are you being overly sensitive to something that's just a joke? While Dee's novel does not offer concrete answers, it does follow Mila's experience, her friends' reactions, and the boys' escalating harassment with an authenticity that ever-critical middle-schoolers will likely appreciate. Discomfiting and frustrating as Mila flounders in her indecision, Maybe He Just Likes You forces readers to confront a victim's experience of sexual harassment. At first, Mila is uncomfortable and confused by her harassers' treatment. As it escalates, however, she knows that they have crossed the line, but she is too uncomfortable with the situation to do much about it. Her mother knows nothing, the teachers do not see it happen, and her friends' reactions run the gamut. On the one end, Zara wants to know what Mila is doing to invite these flirtations; Zara seems almost jealous of the attention. On the other end, Max urges Mila to instantly report the bullying to the vice principal; he urges her again and again throughout the book, offering to go with her.
Eventually, and unrelated to the harassment, Mila joins a trial karate class. A fellow bandmember who has been in the karate class encourages her, and Mila enjoys the experience, so she continues to attend the class. Over the course of the novel, Mila gains some confidence, but she is still fearful of the boys. Ultimately, she brings a tormentor's wrongs to center-stage, quite literally, when she sabotages his solo at a band concert, leading her teacher to investigate the impetus for Mila's outburst. Mila then finds two unexpected allies; that band teacher who had been harassed herself, and another band member who had been the boys' previous target. A community meeting finally brings an end to the behavior. One boy is truly remorseful; he knew he was wrong the whole time. One boy's eyes are opened; he regrets the personal hurt he caused and is respectful from then on. Two boys simply stop; they do not seem remorseful, but they seem to know that further "games" aren't worth the consequences.
After reading Maybe He Just Likes You all in one day, I feel a bit in a muddle . This is timely, certainly. It's a page turner, but it also made my stomach turn. Overall, I must say that it is well worth reading. Victims and bystanders can identify with Mila and her friends, though Mila is more than just a victim in this book. She is a complex character with whom this reader alternately identified (ah, the joys of band), wanted to befriend (as my middle-school self), and found humorous to read about (did she turn into a "plaid-wearing person"?).
Everything about Maybe He Just Likes You feels authentic. I would suggest it for middle-schoolers. Girls or boys who are witnessing or experiencing sexual harassment may feel more empowered to act or speak out, having seen a similar situation play out in a well-written and compelling novel that is filled with characters that will resonate with readers.
Thank you to the author for sharing a copy of Maybe He Just Likes You with Collabookation. Perusing the other reviews of this book before starting mine, I noticed a trend: capital letters. Lots of them. Like, NECESSARY READ and IMPORTANT TOPIC and MUST HAVE. And I'm here to reiterate: BUY THIS BOOK. READ THIS BOOK. SHARE THIS BOOK. WITH CHILDREN & ADULTS, GIRLS AND BOYS, ALL THE PEOPLE. I'm done with the caps now. But please, set aside a minute to read through what makes this book so flipping good. 1) voice ~ Barbara Dee is a master (resisted the caps right there- you're welcome) at capturing the uncertainty of the middle grade years. This book is about Mila, who is floating right along happily with her core group of friends. She's doing well, is happy at home, and is just a regular kid. But then weird things start happening, like boys asking for birthday hugs when it isn't even close to their birthday. At first she thinks it's the sweater, and she hides it away to never wear again. But then, in her mother's loose flannel, someone grabs her butt. Mila is flabbergasted, but even more so: puzzled. Why is this happening? What is going on? I wanted to scream, mid-read, "It's not you!!! You aren't doing anything! It's them!!" But of course, she has to figure this out on her own (heartbreaking, but true). 2) friends ~ Again, behold the master of middle grade friendships. Mila soon finds that her friends either ignore her distress, or, as is common when discussing sexual harassment, look for the victim's fault in the situation. Mila has to go through some trials and tribulations before figuring out who has her back and who doesn't. But, and this is the part I'm totally enamored with, Mila takes the information, stores it away, and continues being amicable. Well, that isn't completely true: she addresses the situation, stands up for herself, and then talks calmly with the girl. The introspection and thought that goes into the decision to maintain the friendship, but at arm's length, is a true model that I would love for my daughters and students to examine and learn from. 3) empowerment ~ This book is centered around Mila being disrespected. At first, she doesn't see it that way. But over time, she realizes, the boys doing this are disrespecting her by using her body for a game. She sees them, and their selfish use of space, for what they are. And, in ways big and small, she decides to reclaim her space in the world. I closed the book so satisfied that justice had been served, but not in ways malicious or mean (even if that would have been ok too). Mila was empowered to be herself, whatever that may entail.
Please don't take my word for this one, read for yourself.
This story is about Mila, who is starting 7th grade. She has a tight group of friends that she feels comfortable with. They are celebrating one of the girl's birthday and some boys from the basketball team come over and want to share the birthday hug, except that it feels uncomfortable to Mila. She tries to brush it off, but things like that keep happening over and over again. Mila tries to talk to the boys herself, tries to talk to the teachers, tries the guidance counselor, tries her friends, but no one really gets it. This is an incredibly well written and timely story about how the voice in your head is probably right and if someone is making you feel uncomfortable, you need to keep telling people until someone gets it. Loved this one.
What a very minimally discussed topic in middle school, sexual harassment, but written with such age appropriateness I felt like I was back in middle school. Barbara’s voice in the story is that of a real life 7th grader. I felt all of the emotions of Mila as if they were fresh wounds, and I haven’t been in middle school in bout 15 years. The way Barbara approaches the subject matter is a way in which I can already envision deep conversations- middle schoolers everywhere, girls, boys, and their teachers, all need to read Maybe He Just Likes You. It’s time to stop the cycle.
This is a serious book, but I thought it was really well done and believable. The everyday family issues, the friendship ups and downs, and of course the harassment the main character Mila is facing from boys in her school. It's one of those books that makes you think about your own middle school experience and shudder. I also enjoyed that Mila starts an extracurricular activity that brings her confidence and strength.
This brought back SO many uncomfortable feelings of what it was like to be a girl in middle school. Absolutely required reading for any parent and middle schooler who needs to have talking points about consent.
This book is such a powerful example of sexual harassment. It does a phenomenal job at showing many different things.
1. Its hard to talk about it. 2. Your friends aren't always going to understand. 3. More often than not, if you ask the offender(s) to stop, they won't. 4. Your friends might not even believe you, at least at first.
I'm not sure if I can put into words the strong feelings I have towards this book. So many women, and men, face this kind of harassment all the time. The author does a wonderful job showing the progression from "haha" to "This isn't right". Because you don't want to jump to the worst case scenario. You want to give people the benefit of the doubt. And once it became clear to Mila, the MC, that it was definitely something, she started to feel . . . weird.
She looked at herself differently and felt odd in her own skin. She didn't feel comfortable wearing clothes that she enjoyed because now she was worried that it drew to much attention to certain parts of her body.
And when she went to her friends, some didn't even believe her. Or thought she was over exaggerating, or that the boys were "just flirting with her, she just doesn't know what it looks like."
The name for this book is an amazing fit. In Maybe He Just Likes You, and in real life, there are people that make you feel like your feelings don't matter, when your feelings most certainly DO matter.
The author also did a lovely job blending in family concerns into the plot, and not making it completely about the harassment. Part of me feels like it was worse for Mila because of the family problems at home. Well, maybe more than part of me.
I also like that even those boys were mean to her, she was forgiving, and didn't completely hold it against them. (Although she only saw one or two of the boys after a big confrontation.) People make stupid mistakes especially if its a group of hormonal boys, but she was able to forgive him. At least a little.
I absolutely loved Maybe He Just Likes You. It is a stunning story of dealing with sexual harassment in a school setting, the feelings that it brings, and finding out who are true friends and who are not.
5 out of 5 hands down.
This review will be posted onto Goodreads, effective immediately. This review will be posted on Amazon on 10/1/2019, give or take the time it takes to process the review through there system. And finally I will be posting it on my blog, Reading Rambler on 9/9 /2019. The link I have added will not be effective until the date I have specified.
There is a reason for the buzz about this book. It is because Barbara Dee has told the #metoo story for middle grade. This book speaks for itself in so many ways that you will need multiple copies because this book will resonate with this age group and constantly be in the hands of young readers and not on a shelf. Whether it is someone experiencing sexual harassment, the abuser(s), a bystander, a teacher or a parent this is a story that is happening and needs to be out in the open and discussed so that it occurs no more.
Mila is a young girl who lives with her mom, younger sister Hadley and dachshund Dehlia. She loves playing the trumpet, being a part of her group of friends, Zara, Omi and Max and middle school until the comments, the bumping and the unwanted hugging begin at school with a group of boys. Mila is confused and unsure of what is going on asking herself questions and self doubting what is happening and how she is feeling. Her female friends say it means nothing and the boys are just having some fun. Some female friends are upset about the attention Mila “claims” to be getting. All the people in power are male - does she really want to talk to them about this - when she has no proof? Ms. Dee gets this topic right on so many levels. The self doubting - the unintentioned but still callous response by other girls, the boys will be boys mentality, and adults around but not tuned in to the true picture. Short chapters and a page turner, this is a MUST read for middle years, to finally give a voice to sadly what is common and to open discussions about consent in hopes that no one has Mila’s experience.
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Simon & Schuster for an eARC of this book.
5 stars for this MUST HAVE for all middle school libraries. Barbara Dee continues to amaze me with how spot on her middle grade voice is, and once again takes a topic rarely talked about in MGlit and shines a light on it for all to see.
In MAYBE HE JUST LIKES YOU, Mila is dealing with unwanted attention for the boys in her school. Requests for hugs, comments about her body, and unwanted touches make Mila extremely uncomfortable, but nothing she tries seems to stop them. Mila doesn't want to make a big deal of it; it's not really bullying, is it? Mila's friends are divided on the topic, and it's putting a strain on their friendship. How can she get the attention off her, and will she have to find a voice to do it?
Sexual harassment is so common in middle school, and yet many of the doubts, insecurities and uncertainties that Dee addresses are reasons that it's not addressed. From fear to involving an unsupportive adult, to worries about alienating friends because they don't want to believe it, Dee touches on so many aspects of this issue and finds ways to help the characters involved grow from the experience.
Not only this an enjoyable read, but the value in its content for young readers looking for help or advice on a topic difficult to discuss is so necessary. I can't wait to get this book on our library's shelves.