Not Here to Be Liked | ARC Review

Not Here to Be Liked | Michelle Quach

Published: September 14 2021

Format: eBook (ARC)

Tags: Young Adult, Contemporary, High School, Asian/South Asian Lit, Romance

| Synopsis from the Publisher |

Eliza Quan is the perfect candidate for editor in chief of her school paper. That is, until ex-jock Len DiMartile decides on a whim to run against her. Suddenly her vast qualifications mean squat because inexperienced Len—who is tall, handsome, and male—just seems more like a leader.

When Eliza’s frustration spills out in a viral essay, she finds herself inspiring a feminist movement she never meant to start, caught between those who believe she’s a gender equality champion and others who think she’s simply crying misogyny.

Amid this growing tension, the school asks Eliza and Len to work side by side to demonstrate civility. But as they get to know one another, Eliza feels increasingly trapped by a horrifying realization—she just might be falling for the face of the patriarchy himself.

Keywords to describe this book: Family-centered, Character-Driven, Humorous

I received a complimentary copy of this book from HarperCollins Children’s Books & Katherine Tegen Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

~My Thoughts~

This was a really humorous, thoughtful book, which leans hard into feminist activism. I really enjoyed Eliza's rough-around-the-edges character and it was interesting seeing her grown to become a more socially aware, thoughtful person. A lot of the book focuses on sexism and how Eliza's school has a history of only electing male students to important student body roles like student body president or editor of the school newspaper. Though Eliza's main goal is to overturn the newspaper editor election so she can achieve her dream, starts a feminist awakening that not only changes her friend group, but it also helps her grow as a person. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book and it's one of the things that makes this book stand out.

The characters in this book are all really interesting and make a strong, realistic group. Eliza's close friend Winona, who wants to be a filmmaker, is so cool, I wish she was my best friend. I love the dynamic between her and Eliza. When Serena joins their friend group is when the book really takes off, for me. Serena is such a fascinating character. She takes popular girl stereotypes and turns them on their head. I almost enjoyed watching Serena grow as much as watching Eliza grow. The characters are all relatable and well-developed over the course of the book.

The romance is sweet and fun, and I like the added drama of the "hidden romance' trope of it on top of the enemies-to-lovers trope. Quach's writing is good, and the dialogue comes across as realistic. I think the "misunderstanding" that throws a wrench in things is a reasonable one and I like that both characters have to face up to their own hang-ups before they can reconcile and truly see each other. This isn't an easy romance, and I like that. I like the push and pull between Eliza and Len. It's something that really strengthens the story's plot overall.

The story is well paced, pulling you along with moments of introspection interspersed with exciting events that make you want to keep reading. I particularly enjoyed the discussions of feminism and the characters' growth in their knowledge of and discussions about feminism. It's also nice to see some male involvement in the feminist movement within this book. I will definitely recommend this book to teens looking for a diverse cast and contemporary fiction.

Read Alikes:

| My Rating |

Definitely Worth the Read

I really enjoyed this book. Not only is the plot really interesting, but the characters and their interactions, growth, and personalities are so interesting and unique. I think Quach is a really good writer and this story stands out amongst the other YA books I’ve read recently. If you’re looking for a feminist, contemporary, enemies-to-lovers story, this is definitely worth reading!

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