He Must Like You

He Must Like You
written by Danielle Younge-Ullman
Penguin Teen Canada, 2020
978-0-7352-6569-1 (hc) $21.99
for Grades 9 and up

Fiction | #MeToo | Gender Inequality | Strength | Resilience

Libby’s senior year is not going well. Her brother dropped out of college and fled to a Greek island. Her parents are evicting her after graduation to rent out her room, and she had an uncomfortable drunken hookup with her co-worker. That’s why, when Perry Ackerman, a serial harasser and frequent customer at the pub where she works, pushes her too far, she pours a pitcher of sangria over his head. Now she must find a way to deal with the fallout of all of this, and her crush on the guy who gets her.

In a new YA novel perfect for the #MeToo era, author Danielle Younge-Ullman has crafted an emotional and provocative story about consent, sexual harassment, and the struggle that women, and not just teens, face in the workplace.

When the sangria incident at work costs Libby her job, she’s disappointed but not completely shocked. What she’s unprepared for is to become the butt of jokes at school and of hateful comments online when someone posts a video of the incident on social media. She’s further confused when a public health nurse gives an assembly on consent, and she realizes that her previous sexual encounters with her ex-boyfriend and her co-worker may not have been consensual after all.

All of these are difficult subjects for teens, and Ullman handles them in a funny and authentic way. The romantic subplot enhances the central storyline, and readers will appreciate Libby’s struggle to reconcile her growing feelings for the boy she likes, versus the way her ex-boyfriend and her co-worker made her feel.

While this is not always an easy book to read, it’s an eye-opening one, and one that will generate discussion and encourage teens to examine their own relationships and actions.

Rachel Seigel is the Fiction Production Manager (Juvenile to Adult) at the Library Services Centre.

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