Title: Not Here To Be Liked
Author: Michelle Quach
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Published: September 14th, 2021 (Katherine Tegen Books)
Synopsis: 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.
Thank you to the publisher, Harper Collins Canada, and HCC Frenzy for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Eliza Quan is looking forward to being the editor in chief for her school newspaper – after all, with her extensive experience and portfolio, she is the perfect choice. Until Len DeMartile, a former jock and inexperienced newcomer decides to run against her and actually wins, just because people seem to feel that he would make a better leader. In frustration, Eliza writes down her feelings at being overlooked despite her qualifications, just because Len is more likable, and pointing out how there has never been a female editor in chief before, calling out not only the school paper, but many of the other student organizations as well. When the article is accidentally published, while there is a backlash of people claiming that she is simply crying misogyny, Eliza’s article also unwittingly inspires a feminist movement throughout the school. As Eliza and Len are asked to work together on some articles to ease the tension in the school, Eliza is horrified to realize that she might actually be falling for Len, making the situation even more complicated.
First, I want to say a huge thank you again to HCC Frenzy, because I hadn’t heard of this book until the Fall event around a month ago. It was an instant addition to my TBR and I was even more excited when I actually got an ARC of the book. This book was everything the synopsis promised to be, an interesting, genuine story that explores some extremely relevant themes, feminism just being the first of many. I thought that it portrayed feminism in a very realistic manner, showing that it isn’t something that’s black and white. Of course, it was a bit simplistic at times, but considering the younger target audience of this book, it fit just right.
Eliza was initially a rather unlikable character as the title indicates, intense and overly critical of other people’s work, so it wasn’t surprising to me that she lost the election. But I actually ended up liking her character a lot by the end of the first few chapters as her arc shows significant development over the course of the book. An intelligent, ambitious and very driven character, her perspective was fun to read, easy to connect to and actually quite relatable. As for Len, he was a nice character, but much of the focus is on Eliza in this book. I feel like he didn’t get enough character development, which is a pity, because from what we learn of him, he seemed quite interesting and I would have loved it if Len had had a couple of POV chapters. The romance was pretty cute and I’m always here for a good enemies-to-lovers trope. This was a rather fast paced read, so there wasn’t as much page time given to their relationship as I would have liked, but what we got was still good.
The main question surrounding the plot of the book – who leaked Eliza’s article and started the whole chain of events – is one I guessed early into the book, well before the 50% mark actually, but it didn’t reduce my enjoyment of the book at all, because there was so much else going on. Overall, this was a solid and engaging read and I honestly can’t find much to criticize. I really liked the way things came together in the end and this is one I would definitely come back to when I’m in the mood for a book that’s light, yet meaningful. Highly recommended, especially if you’re a fan of books like Moxie!
Not Here To Be Liked released on September 14th, 2021.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!