cover image Maybe He Just Likes You

Maybe He Just Likes You

Barbara Dee. Aladdin, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5344-3237-6

Dee (Everything I Know About You) draws a clear distinction between flirtation and sexual harassment in this timely, sensitively wrought novel about a seventh-grade girl who receives unwanted attention from a group of classmates. When Mila wears her fuzzy green sweater, some boys demand an unwanted hug, and the basketball players insist on touching it (and her) for good luck. Despite Mila’s protests, unwanted touching continues even after she stops wearing the sweater, but Mila is reticent to add to her divorced mother’s stress after she loses her job. Mila finally shares her discomfort with her friends; Omi smooths things over, Zara thinks the boys are merely flirting, and Max believes that Mila should tell the (male) vice principal she’s being bullied. More confused than ever, she remains silent until karate classes give her the skill set and courage to fight back and speak out. The novel’s all-too-familiar scenario offers a springboard for discussion among middle schoolers about Mila’s experience, as well as her confusion, fear, and reluctance to discuss her situation with authority figures. Easily grasped scenarios and short chapters help make this timely #MeToo story accessible to a wide audience. Ages 9–13. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. [em](Oct.) [/em]