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A 2020 ALA Notable Children’s Book
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.”
About the Author
Barbara Dee is the author of several middle grade novels including Maybe He Just Likes You, Everything I Know About You, Halfway Normal, and Star-Crossed. Her books have received several starred reviews and been included on many best-of lists, including the ALA Rainbow List’s Top Ten, the Chicago Public Library Best of the Best, and the NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People. Star-Crossed was also a Goodreads Choice Awards finalist. Barbara is one of the founders of the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival. She lives with her family, including a naughty cat named Luna and a sweet rescue hound dog named Ripley, in Westchester County, New York.
"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." —Publisher’s Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
"This timely exploration of a depressingly common experience should begin some useful conversations." —Kirkus Reviews
"Mila’s struggle between denying the intentions of her classmates and being self-aware and upset about their treatment of her is realistic and heartbreaking . . . an excellent choice to inspire conversations about the prevalence and scope of what’s considered sexual harassment, as well as help young readers identify what harassment could look like in their peers." —BCCB
"An important read with great potential for classroom use. Mila’s experience may resonate with young readers, who may need to follow up with a trusted adult." —SLJ
"Important for its relevance and examination of the otherwise little-discussed topic of sexual harassment among younger teens, Maybe He Just Likes You will appeal to middle-grade readers as well as parents and educators seeking to bolster a child’s awareness of this rampant problem." —Booklist
"The book is equally important for boys so that they might understand their own feelings and the feelings of those who might be victims of their adolescent humor. This title belongs in the school library as well as the classroom library." —School Library Connection
"Mila is a finely-drawn, sympathetic character dealing with a problem all too common in middle school. Readers will be cheering when she takes control! An important topic addressed in an age-appropriate way.” —Katherine Brubaker Bradley, author of The War That Saved My Life (Newbery Honor Book)
"In Maybe He Just Likes You, Barbara Dee sensitively breaks down the nuances of a situation all too common in our culture—a girl not only being harassed, but not being listened to as she tries to ask for help. This well-crafted story validates Mila's anger, confusion, and fear, but also illuminates a pathway towards speaking up and speaking out. A vital read for both girls and boys." —Veera Hiranandani, author of The Night Diary (Newbery Honor Book)
"Mila's journey will resonate with many readers, exploring a formative and common experience of early adolescence that has too often been ignored. Important and empowering." —Ashley Herring Blake, author of Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World (Stonewall Honor Book)
"Maybe He Just Likes You is an important, timeless story with funny, believable characters. Mila's situation is one that many readers will connect with. This book is sure to spark many productive conversations." —Dusti Bowling, author of Insignificant Events in the Life of A Cactus
"In this masterful, relatable and wholly unique story, Dee shows how one girl named Mila finds empowerment, strength, and courage within. I loved this book." —Elly Swartz, author of Smart Cookie and Give and Take
"Maybe He Just Likes You is the perfect way to jumpstart dialogue between boy and girl readers about respect and boundaries. This book is so good. So needed! I loved it!" —Paula Chase, author of So Done and Dough Boys