Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach. Katherine Tegen Books, 2021. 9780063038363
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or starred review) 4.5
Genre: Realistic fiction
What did you like about the book? Eliza Quan (Vietnamese/Chinese) has always counted on being editor-in-chief of her school newspaper, The Bugle. The morning of the vote, however, she finds out that another student is also running for editor: Len, a biracial (White/Japanese) student who has only recently joined the newspaper staff after a baseball injury. Eliza is furious — she has high expectations and is direct with her feedback, but this shouldn’t be a popularity contest. After an angry opinion letter about why she would have made the better editor is inadvertently published, Eliza finds herself leading a feminist movement to get the job. In the meantime, however, she gets to know Len better and finds that he isn’t the patriarchal jerk she assumed him to be. In fact, she sort of likes him…and likes kissing him. Things are getting complicated!
There’s lots of intersectionality here and a complex look at what feminism entails and what it means to be a feminist. Eliza’s school is predominantly Asian, but her best friend is Black (and a filmmaker!). In addition, Eliza’s parents are recent immigrants from China via Vietnam; Eliza’s mom struggles to understand her daughter’s activism. The “enemies to lovers” trope has never been so cerebral, but I promise the romance is also very intense! I loved this YA book. Perfect for high school students who like romance novels, but want a sophisticated storyline.
Anything you did not like about the book? Nope. This is a great book!
To whom would you recommend this book? Give to romance fans who want more than just a love story. Also – student activists and feminists will be intrigued by this one.
Who should buy this book? All high school libraries
Where would you shelve it? Realistic
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA
Date of review: November 22, 2021