Review: Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach

Blurb

Emergency Contact meets Moxie in this cheeky and searing novel that unpacks just how complicated new love can get…when you fall for your enemy.

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. 

Review

Wow, Not Here to Be Liked is a powerful, thought-provoking read! 

A brilliant look at feminism, what it means to be a feminist, and that not everything is straightforward, there are many grey areas and intricacies when it comes to being a feminist, some of which we see Eliza face.

I loved the discussions around the male gaze, double standards of behaviour, and even cultural and generational divides when it comes to beliefs around feminism and the role of women.

I thought Eliza was a great character and just as the title says, she is not here to be liked. She is part of the school paper team, she does her job and does it well. Sometimes this means being harsh and critical. I actually really admire her for not caring what others think, wish I could be more like that! I did feel sorry for her though, she is the best candidate for editor-in-chief, so justifibly believes she should get the job. Throughout her story we see the challenges she faces at school, the history of the patriarchy there, and how she tries to fight back against it.

The romance building with Len was lovely, they should hate each other but realise their views and beliefs aren’t so different. It added an extra layer of angst as well as areas for discussion, around hook-ups, relationships, even flirting, how men and women are viewed differently for the same actions.

I admire how this was written, the imperfections that were shown, the human nature, and the unsureness and uncertainty at times that Eliza displayed. I think this will help some teens understand feminism a little better and provoke them into discovering more about themselves and what their own views are.

The discussion questions at the end are brilliant! I will be adding Not Here to Be Liked to our book club list at school to read and discuss.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Usborne Publishing for the e-arc to review.

Author Bio

Michelle Quach is a graphic designer and writer living in Los Angeles. She’s Chinese-Vietnamese-American and a graduate of Harvard University, where she studied history and literature. She loves rom-coms, characters who don’t always do the right thing, and any dog that kind of looks like her dog.

Her first novel, NOT HERE TO BE LIKED, is available Fall 2021 from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins in the US and Usborne Books in the UK. 

https://www.michellequach.com/

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