Thursday, August 8, 2019

Middle Grade With A Message: Maybe He Just Likes You

I grew up on Nancy Drew, Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume books.  I don't remember ever viewing these novels as more than entertainment.  Nowadays the books coming out geared toward middle grade readers are a little more complex and most seem to have a message they are trying to convey.

I've read a lot of middle grade books this summer, and most seem to have some type of meaningful message.  Barbara Dee's newest novel Maybe He Just Likes You is a book that covers a tough topic in the best way. 

Mila, a seventh grader, has some big things she's trying to deal with.  Her single mom is unhappy in her job and they always seem to be living paycheck to paycheck.  That's enough to make Mila  little worried, but what is really bothering her is the attention she's getting from some boys at school.  A hug from one boy for his "birthday" (which she later finds out was a lie), some off-hand comments, another boy sitting extra close during band....just small things, but they make Mila uncomfortable.

And the small things don't stop.  Mila isn't sure who can help her with this problem. Is she making these small events into something bigger than they really are?  

Barbara Dee expertly shows what harassment looks like and how hard it can be to tell the difference between harassment and flirting, or decide whether to let some things go or stand up for yourself.  

I think this story is one many- most- girls will be able to relate to. Maybe this type of behavior hasn't happened to them, but I can almost guarantee they've at least seen this type of behavior happen to someone they know at school.  

Dee's book is a must purchase for school libraries and with school starting in just a few weeks, I can already think of several girls I want to hand this book to.

No comments: