I love middle grade novels that empower their readers.
And Barbara Dee's latest novel, MAYBE HE JUST LIKES YOU does exactly that.
The story revolves around seventh-grader Mila, who suddenly finds herself receiving unwanted attention from the boys in her class.
Their comments and inappropriate touching mortify Mila.
As does the lack of support from some of her friends, who accuse her of overreacting. Grin and bear it. It's just flirting.
As soon as I read the blurb for this book months ago, I knew I had to read it.In this #metoo era, I hoped someone would write something accessible for young people on the subject, and Barbara Dee has done just that.
Even better, she perfectly captures all aspects of the situation, including Mila's reluctance to lodge a complaint.
And she doesn't demonize the boys who are harassing Mila, making it clear that they, too, are victims of the toxic masculinity that encourages men to look at women as people who can be dominated.
These are complex issues, and Dee addresses them with sensitivity and nuance. Even better, Mila's path to empowerment feels realistic and messy and true.
My hope is that every middle school will buy this book.
It needs to be required reading for both students and teachers and hopefully, a lot of parents.
The way things change in society is by shining a light on an issue. Hopefully, when we know better, we do better.
And stories are a powerful light shining tool, especially when they are as compellingly and beautifully executed as MAYBE HE JUST LIKES YOU.
This is a five star book with a five+ star bonus for being a change maker!
A must read!
For more information about Barbara and to access her reading guide, click HERE.