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YA Review: Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee

Title: Maybe He Just Likes You
AuthorBarbara Dee
Year Published: 2019

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 283
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2019 Google Reading map)USA

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): For seventh grader Mila, it starts with some boys giving her an unwanted hug during a surprise birthday celebration.

The next day it's another hug. A smirk. Comments. It all feels...weird. According to her friend Zara, Mila is being immature and overreacting. Doesn't she know what flirting looks like?

But it keeps happening, despite Mila's protests. On the bus, in the halls. Even during band practice--the one time Mila can always escape to her happy "blue sky" place. It seems like the boys are EVERYWHERE. And their behavior doesn't feel like flirting--so what is it?

Mila starts to gain confidence when she enrolls in karate class. But her friends still don't understand why Mila is making such a big deal about the boys' attention. When Mila is finally pushed too far, she realizes she can't battle this on her own, and she finds help in some unexpected places.

Review: When I read the summary for this book it made me really want to read it. On the surface, hugs and comments seem so innocent and 7th grade is a confusing time as some students mature and other don't. But, when you get that little feeling that something isn't right, go with it!

This book is really well done and I am sure it will be a hit with middle grade students. Mila is likable and many will identify with her. As she says, she isn't the prettiest, the smartest, or the most popular, but she is smart, a good musician, and she has good friends. Mostly. Things are confusing. She is everyone and a group of boys are making her feel uncomfortable.

She has friends and other students who try to help her, convince her to turn the boys in, but her confidence just isn't there. The boys are popular, adults don't seem to see the problem, and she isn't sure herself. But there's always that nagging feeling that something isn't right. We should all listen to that little feeling. When an adult finally listens and does something about it I wanted to cheer! For Mila to realize she isn't alone is huge. For her to learn that she is in control of how she feels and what she says is such a valuable lesson.

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