He Must Like You

Viking. Jul. 2020. 336p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781984835710.
Gr 9 Up–When the decisions of Libby’s “shit disturber” dad leave her needing money for rent and tuition, she gets a server job. But the sandy-haired teen’s time gets cut short after a colleague sexually assaults her, prompting her to act rashly against an inappropriate customer who is extremely influential in her small town. Despite her resiliency, the combined burden of money troubles, family issues, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and being the center of a scandal drags her down, though she takes solace in her protective friend Emma and her burgeoning relationship with Noah. Bits of solidarity and normalcy lighten the load for Libby, and for readers. Younge-Ullman focuses on the idea of consent. She doesn’t shy away from the thorny, gray areas and deliberately demonstrates the role communication has in preventing and healing from bad situations. While Libby’s levelheaded narration reveals discouraging truths about the treatment of women, the book ultimately shows that women don’t need to be diplomatic, and that harassment won’t be tolerated. At first the title might seem like a misnomer, when it is in fact an eye-opening observation about a harmful, ingrained mindset that must be stamped out.
VERDICT Younge-Ullman’s genuine, informed, and engaging narrative safely guides readers through many facets of consent, relationships, and the treatment of women. It could prove a valuable resource to any teen’s education.

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