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Not Here to Be Liked – Michelle Quach

Thank you so much to the publishers and Netgalley for sending me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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.

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 a wonderful YA contemporary rom-com which has an excellent balance of rivalry romance, friendships, focus on important topics and stereotypes. I had seen a number of reviews for this book which gave it nothing but praise, so of course I had to give it a read.

Eliza, the main character, is ‘not here to be liked’ and as readers we can gather this within the first few chapters of the book. As we come to learn more about Eliza we see why it is she is like that and I grew to love her character. We follow Eliza on her journey to shine a light on her high school’s history of sexism alongside her amazing friends. I loved Eliza’s discussion about how there is no ‘textbook’ definition of what a feminist looks like. I felt this was something that many people need to read and think about. Eliza is an all-round wonderful character who I thoroughly enjoyed reading about.

Then we have Len, who is Eliza’s rival. We slowly get to know who he is and what his true motives are for what he does as we move through the story. He is cute and I enjoyed his character. The romance between Eliza and Len is very cute. I loved how this developed and the dynamic between the pair, it certainly made me smile.

The friendships we get to see throughout this book as so outstandingly done. The friendship between Eliza, Winona and Serena is wonderful. They all bring something different to their friendship and their quest to highlight the misogyny within their high school. Not only do we get to see Eliza develop but we also get to see Serena and Winona develop and learn to be themselves which I found wonderful.

This book discusses so many important things. I feel this is one of the best YA books I’ve read for feminist discussions. It also discusses internalised misogyny, sexism and how difficult it can be to live in the patriarchal society. All of these topics raise questions with the reader and it really does make you think. I think so many teenagers and adults alike with benefit from reading this book. This book also has a very diverse cast of characters which is always refreshing to see.

I thoroughly enjoyed this debut by Michelle Quach. You can tell how much though, research and consideration has been taken when writing this book. I cannot wait to read more from this author.

Overall, if you are looking for a thought-provoking read, with discussions of feminism, a diverse cast, strong female friendships, rivals to lovers and exploration of identity, then this is the book for you. Not Here to Be Like was a thoroughly enjoyable book that I would highly recommend!

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