TITLE: Not Here to be Liked
AUTHOR: Michelle Quach
PAGE EXTENT: 432
PUBLISHER: Usborne Books (HarperCollins India)
GENRE: YA Contemporary
MY RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
SOURCE: Received a copy from HarperCollins India in exchange for an honest review.
Falling in love wasn’t part of the plan. Eliza Quan fully expects to be voted the next editor-in-chief of her school paper. She works hard, she respects the facts, and she has the most experience. Len DiMartile is an injured star baseball player who seems to have joined the paper just to have something to do.
Naturally, the staff picks Len to be their next leader. Because while they may respect Eliza, they don’t particularly like her - but right now, Eliza is not here to be liked. She’s here to win. But someone does like Eliza. A lot. Shame it’s the boy standing in the way of her becoming editor-in-chief….
Not Here to be Liked is DEFINITELY here to be liked!
As the title suggests, we follow our protagonist Eliza Quan, an Asian-American headstrong teenager whose fuck-store for what people think about her has run out long ago (ELIZA, just HOW do you manage to do that? Give me lessons.😂), who happens to be gunning for the post of editor-in-chief of the Willoughby Bugle, the school newspaper. When ex-jock Len DiMartile pops up out of nowhere, runs for the post and wins the election, Eliza is thrown into a fit of rage. In all her bubbling fury, she pens an essay about the misogyny and sexism that’s rampant in her institution and how Len won the spot not with his accolades or talent but simply because he’s male. And guess what happens? Somebody posts it for the entire school to see! What follows is a massive feminist movement at school that aims to smash the patriarchy into the dumpster!
And worse, what happens with Eliza begins to FALL FOR the very face of the patriarchy himself!?!?! Disaster is about to ensue! Read the book to find out how disaster management happens. 💁🏾♂️
Eliza is very unlikeable to begin with but as the story progresses, she begins to grow on you. You end up rooting for her before you realize it! Michelle has succeeded in constructing a very flawed, very realistic protagonist who is by no means perfect and giving her one banger of a character growth! This is probably one of the best character growths I’ve come across in YA!
Everybody who knows me knows I’m a sucker for a good enemies-to-lovers romance, especially ones set in high school and this one was executed perfectly, to the extent that I want the romance of my life to be an enemies-to-lovers one too hehe! Eliza and Len bonding over BBB (baseball, boba and books) was everything! 😭💕
I’m pretty sure most of us have read books about feminism but have you read a book that talks about feminism from an Asian perspective? This was a first for me and it goes on to highlight how important intersectional feminism is. It also conveys how there is no set rule book for feminism and how feminism can exist in a myriad of forms.
I, for one, stan books with great and fleshed-out side characters and Michelle has given her side characters their own time to shine! This is one of those rare books where the side characters have amazing arcs as well and the growth in Serena’s and Winona’s characters is something that definitely merits appreciation! Michelle has also addressed performative feminism through Serena’s character but has later given her character so much depth! She is one of my favorites in the book! Winona’s short film shooting sessions with her little brother Doug were something I constantly kept looking forward to because the sibling banter was so adorable and hilare!
Not only does this book focus on feminism from an Asian lens, it also gives us a glimpse into the lives of children of immigrants and the high expectations set by their parents, Asians in particular. Michelle has perfectly managed to capture the Asian family dynamic and Eliza’s mom’s take on feminism was something that pleasantly surprised me!
🎉An almost-Asian cast!
🎉 Cute and charming book boyfriend!
🎉 Character-driven plot!
🎉 Easy-to-read writing style!
🎉 KISSING, because OF COURSE.