Cover Image: Maybe He Just Likes You

Maybe He Just Likes You

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Member Reviews

This was a difficult one to get through, I had a lot of anxiety while reading, and was frustrated by how Mila's friends, classmates, and yes, even adults, responded to her: don't be so sensitive, if you don't want to play, no one is forcing you, it's called flirting, don't be such a baby, just try to ignore them.


I was slightly less anxious when friends started saying they'd stick by her, or encouraged her to tell the administration (Omi, Max, Samira) but it was when Mila walked into karate class where I thought, YES!! things will be a lot more hopeful.

Dee is known for broaching difficult topics, and this book is one that opens the floor for discussion on consent. Highly, highly recommended.
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An extremely powerful and timely book. A must-read for all! Highly recommended this book.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.
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What an important book in a time where we are starting to have a serious conversation about sexual harassment, but do we talk enough about it with middle graders? We should. This book is a great place to start.
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Wow! A must-have for any middle school/HS library. 

Barbara Dee does a great job explaining consent in the most basic way. Clean, concise and powerful topics of space realization, being comfortable and recognizing that gut feeling that not everything is okay. Restorative justice circles make their way into the end to seek resolution to a problem that many would ignore.
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I received this ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I thought this was going to be preachy and clichéd, and consequently it sat waiting to be read for far too long. I couldn't have been more wrong. This book is such an important book for both boys and girls and it's perfectly pitched to the middle grade readers who need it.

Mila struggles with boys in her grade, knowing that what is happening doesn't feel like teasing or flirting, but not knowing how to put words to it or how to make it stop. I hope this book reaches an audience far and wide, as it handles such a sensitive subject so well.
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A much-needed look at the devastating effects of sexual harassment in middle school. This is written at an appropriate level for younger readers while still giving full weight to the seriousness of the issue it addresses. A painful, riveting, and realistic read.

Recommended grade level: 5 and up

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction, #metoo

Topics: sexual harassment, bullying, lack of support from friends and teachers, parental job loss

Themes: body autonomy, feminism, toxic masculinity, standing up for oneself, friendship, family

Who will like this book?: This is a book that speaks truth to power. Pre-teen and teen girls, and some boys, are (unfortunately) likely to see some familiar situations in this book. If they haven’t seen or experienced anything like this, it will still provide a window into how sexual harassment works and the toll it takes on those affected by it. It is vital that our young people understand this. Realistic fiction fans, and thoughtful and social justice-conscious readers, will find a lot to love in this book. With its strong characterization and enormous applicability to the lives of today’s pre-teens and teens, readers of many types will find it an eye-opening experience.

Who won’t like this book?: I think every middle schooler should read this. Some male readers may think it doesn’t relate to them–and those are people who especially should read it. It may not be everyone’s favorite genre, and that’s okay, but there is so much to be learned here that it is worth recommending even to those who are reluctant. I wouldn’t be surprised if this book ruffled some feathers among those who deny the issues of toxic masculinity and sexual harassment in our society. I say, a little ruffling is good for them.

Readalikes: Most of the titles about sexual harassment are more intense or assume an older audience than Maybe He Just Likes You, which is one of the reasons this book is so necessary. Readers delving deeper into the subject should be aware that they’re likely to come across some troubling content.

-For audiences ready to move on to more intense content, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a must-read.

-Posted by John David Anderson has a similar tone, setting, and target audience, though the bullying in it is not sexual harassment. Both books have a character who is bullied because of his perceived sexual orientation.

-#MeToo: Women Speak Out Against Sexual Assault is a collection of news articles tracking the #MeToo movement. It’s intended for high schoolers, but should be a good choice for middle schoolers ready to fully tackle this topic.

-For educational reading on this topic, try the YA title What Does Consent Really Mean? by Pete Wallis.
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I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was a great book on a VERY sensitive topic and something that absolutely should be taken away from this book, is that we should NOT be telling girls that if boys are mean to them that it means they like them. ABUSE DOES NOT EQUAL LOVE. 

Girls should never be taught that bullying or being picked on equals affection. This is one of those books that should be in every library of every elementary, middle, and high school. It takes that saying “boys will be boys” and destroys it. 

I loved how strong the main character was. She wasn't scared to tell her friend that bullying is NOT flirting and something has to change. I do think that the ending felt a bit rushed and it definitely could have been pulled out a lot more. 

Even though it felt rushed, I felt the ending explained things in an easy to understand way that would be taken in easily by younger readers. 

I hope this is one of those stories that gets passed on through the generations. 

I want to thank the author for tackling such a super sensitive topic and shedding light on something that really needs to be corrected. 

Thank you to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me to review this title.
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"Maybe He Just Likes You" tackles a lot in short succinct chapters and amazing grace. 

This book could be a great salve for a young person on the receiving end of unwanted attention. It is also a great mother-daughter book. As Mila's mom was wrapped up in her very real and valid grown-up issues, it still made me wonder of what I may have missed with my own daughter when I've struggled with my life stuff. This book is also an excellent learning tool for all tweens about being a good friend, about being brave enough to be a good friend. 

Full review at my blog.
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Overall, I was impressed with how Dee gets into the mind of MG students. I love how books like this allow us to have tough conversations with our students. We need more books like this .
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I decided to start reading this book before bed a few nights ago, and the next thing I knew it was midnight and I was finished. And I had shed tears. I was not expecting to have this reaction to this book. In fact, honestly, at the very beginning of the book I was feeling a tad bit skeptical. I was thinking, “Wait, is this going to be a book about a boy who squeezed a girl’s shoulder without asking?” But that’s sort of the beauty of the book. It starts off almost completely innocently—with Mila feeling a little bit uncomfortable in a relatively benign situation. The sort of situation that you could reasonably see people brushing off, including Mila herself. But then things start to spiral. The little shoulder squeeze turns into an unwanted hug, which turns into brushing up against her, and then the boys start making comments, and soon Mila realizes that many of the boys are in on some kind of game they think is funny—it’s not funny to her.

Dee does a fantastic job of showing a situation where things get out of hand without ever truly crossing into outright sexual territory(which is realistic in a middle school setting). She shows Mila’s confusion over the situation, wondering if she could be making something out of nothing, her fears about talking to someone about it, and the backlash she gets when she does speak out. All of this rang true, and it’s important for a MG audience to see. Even the fact that the boys didn’t seem to think they’d done anything truly wrong until they got in trouble feels realistic. I highly recommend this exploration of consent to MG readers and adults alike! This book will stimulate the types of conversations we need to be having.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
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4.5 stars. Wow. I have heard rave reviews on this one, and it lives up to the hype. The first part is downright squirmy. It's easy to get into Mila's perspective as she feels repelled by what the boys are doing, but also as she second guesses herself. Is she overreacting? Does she just need a better sense of humor? She doesn't even have language to describe what is happening to her and how it makes her feel, which for me was one of the saddest parts of the story.

I love that she finds some strength through martial arts training. It's not the fighting, but the ideas of taking up space, asserting her right to her boundaries, and using body language as well as her words to push back.

By the end, when everything comes out, and Mila and her school and friends are dealing with the issue, I kept tearing up. I was so proud of Mila, pleased to see some adults stand with her while she claimed her truth and her right to go to school without harassment. I think this is an important book to have in homes and schools and libraries. Kids need this to acquire that language to describe when harassment occurs. They need to see what sorts of behavior is inappropriate and how to metaphorically push back. This would be an excellent read aloud or book group choice. I found this completely age appropriate for upper elementary and middle school students. This would pair well with Moxie for older teens. Highly recommend!
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As with Barbara Dee's other works, timely, important, and well done. The situations the characters are placed in will feel familiar to middle grade readers and serve as a good jumping off point for conversations both in schools and at home.
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A very good middle grade book about sexual harassment. It doesn't speak down to its readers and puts the importance of consent into a story and words its intended audience can understand. Even as an adult, this story struck me and brought up memories of my own tween years. Worth a spot in any library serving middle grade readers.
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This is an amazingly well done book on a very difficult topic. The author handles it beautifully and honestly. Every middle schooler, both boys and girls should read this book and discuss it.

Mila sounds so much like a typical teen. Her emotions and confusion about what was going on was spot on. As were the many varied reactions of her friends. I also felt her frustration in finding it so difficult to talk about it with the adults around her, even though she has a great relationship with her mom. The need to not burden her mom when she was having difficulties of her own, is felt by many a teen. I really enjoyed watching her grow and find the inner strength to finally do something and to tell someone.

The pacing of the book was also solid and it was very difficult to put down once I had picked it up. I meant to just start it one morning, but discovered myself finishing it in one sitting. I don’t think the words sexual harassment is ever really used, although questions of bullying are brought up. But the reader can tell that what Mila experiences is different than bullying. Also, one of her friends tries to convince her that the boys are just flirting with her, but Mila knows that she is wrong and does call her on it. The final resolution with the boys was done in a way that that I think kids will be able to relate to, although maybe a bit more could have been done.

My one small issue with the story is the ending and the resolution of Mila’s difficulties felt a bit rushed, and maybe not quite resolved the way it should have been. Also it is hinted that something similar was going on with her mom at work, but I’m not sure kids will pick up on that. It would have been nice to see her mom talk more directly to Mila about her issues and what was happening to Mila.

This is a book that I highly recommend you get for any middle schooler you know. It should also be on all library shelves. It is a well done book, that felt authentic and realistic on a very tough topic.
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Thanks to Netgalley and Aladdin for the advance readers copy of this book. Al opinions are my own.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for this immensely important middle grades book. When a group of boys start harassing Mila at school, she is uncomfortable. They do not seem to be doing anything that seems bad to a casual observer, but weeks of unwanted touching, bumping, and comments lead her to spiral downward mentally and shrink into herself. She does not feel like she can explain the feeling to anyone, even her friends. I think EVERY middle school student should read this book.
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In Maybe He Just Likes You Barbara Dee captures the feel of middle school perfectly. They’re on the line, Mira and her friends, sometimes leaning over into childhood and other times into adolescence. Mila’s body has moved into adolescence of its own accord, and even her green sweater doesn’t do enough to hide the changes she’s not ready for. Her friends, too, are dealing with the changes—or lack thereof--and it’s causing strain in the group. So, when a group of boys begins to give Mila a lot of unwanted attention, she doesn’t know what to make of it or where to turn.

It’s so easy to sympathize with Mira in this story. When everything is new: the shape of your body, the crushes your friends get, the social scene in middle school, it can be hard to determine what’s okay and what’s not. But Mira quickly comes to the conclusion that what’s happening is not okay. Yet, faced with an overwhelmed single mom, distracted teachers and male counselors, she cannot bear to explain. Finally, one night, Mira has the opportunity to retaliate against the leader of the group of boys, and that leads the way to help, learning, and restorative justice.

This book makes an excellent resource for middle school girls and dare I say male middle school teachers and administrators since the painful situations Mira is in are presented in such an unflinching and clear manner. In addition, Barbara Dee presents a realistic situation where the adults are clearly trying to do well by the students and yet Mira has good reasons to fear approaching them. I would hope that the resolution of the story would give any girl faced with this problem the courage to seek help.

I did have one big beef with the book, and it comes at the end, so if you don’t want spoilers, stop reading now. At the same time that Mira is dealing with sexual harassment at school, there are hints that her mother is encountering the same at work. In addition, the small family has some serious financial problems caused by the fact that Mira’s father refuses to pay child support. In the end Mom’s male boss fires her. Although Mira saves the day by pushing her mother in the direction of a new job with a female boss, the conclusion of the sub plot made me want to spit. Mira’s mom gets a new job she loves in a woman-owned business…at an even lower wage.

Suffice it to say my reader’s high in Mira’s success was spoiled by the message that in adult life women are at the mercy of men—whether ex-husbands or bosses—and that in order to be happy they must also be poorly compensated.

My conclusion? This book has a great message as it relates to middle school, and that’s probably reason enough to buy it, because that part of the plot’s masterful. But if my daughter were in middle school, I’d hand it to her with the requirement that we talk through what happened with Mira’s mom after she was finished reading. Unfortunately, I’m guessing most middle school girls won’t share this book with their mom.

I received an advance reader copy of Maybe He Just Likes You from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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This terrific middle grade fiction book is about Mila, who is just trying to get through middle school.  Her mom is struggling with her work and her dad is pretty much out of the picture.  Mila has a little sister who is a pain and a group of friends that she trusts.  But a group of boys is making Mila miserable-they keep making excuses to touch Mila, in ways that she finds uncomfortable.  She tries to roll with it but they persist.  She tries to talk to them and they persist.  She tries talking to the guidance counselor, her teachers, her friends, and her mom, but no one really gets it.  This is an excellent story about standing up for rights, listening to your inner voice and persistence when people aren't paying attention.  I thought this one was great.
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Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee is an excellent story that tackles a tough subject. The title phrase is one that has been said to many girls when encountering some uncomfortable situations. This is an important book for middle school students! Realistic, engaging and thought-provoking which are all important factors when tackling such a topic! Highly recommend reading!
Thank you to NetGalley for providing an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Mila is in seventh grade and has her core group of friends, like most middle schoolers do. Unlike her friends however, Mila is starting to get a lot of unwanted attention from the boys. From hugs to more serious groping, Mila can't seem to get away from them. One of her friends acts jealous of the attention, and one of her friends identifies the behavior as bullying. Mila is too scared to talk to her mom because her mom is super stressed at work. It's not until things explode at the fall band concert that a teacher identifies the behavior as sexual harassment. 

I loved this book, however I know that some people will not be happy with the treatment of the harassment or how Mila resolves things with the boys in the end. I think this book has an important message that we should not be ok with the idea of "he/she is just treating you that way because he/she likes you". An important read for middle schoolers and educators.
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Mia is starting seventh grade, and has a nice group a friends, a younger sister and a lazy dog at home. Her mother is struggling at work and to make ends meet. At school, a group of boys on the basketball team begin to sexually harass Mia. They begin by tricking her to hug them and telling her that her fuzzy green sweater is "lucky." They touch her, even though she tells them not to. Her friends observe what is happening and there are mixed reviews. Max tells her to to tell the principal, but Mia worries that the gossip wouldn't be worth it. The principal is also the coach of the basketball team, and she does not assume he will be fair. Mia's mother begins taking the girls to a fitness center and Mia takes karate lessons. 

I will definitely be telling people to pick up this book and read it. I was very annoyed about how the situation was handled, because no one would expect a traumatized student to confront her abusers without plenty of set-up. Also, the boys would be suspended and should be, restorative practices does not mean sans punishment. There needed to be a cooling off period between the concert and the community meeting. Also I do not appreciate that there was not an open discussion of the boys touching Mia's butt. Why wasn't that discussed more thoroughly? Why wasn't the toxic environment created by the sports mentality/scorecard mentioned? This part was disappointing.
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