Book review | He Must Like You, Danielle Younge-Ullman

Book description

Libby’s having a rough senior year. Her older brother absconded with his college money and is bartending on a Greek island. Her dad just told her she’s got to pay for college herself, and he’s evicting her when she graduates so he can Airbnb her room. A drunken hook-up with her coworker Kyle has left her upset and confused. So when Perry Ackerman, serial harasser and the most handsy customer at The Goat where she waitresses, pushes her over the edge, she can hardly be blamed for dumping a pitcher of sangria on his head. Unfortunately, Perry is a local industry hero, the restaurant’s most important customer, and Libby’s mom’s boss. Now Libby has to navigate the fallout of her outburst, find an apartment, and deal with her increasing rage at the guys who’ve screwed up her life–and her increasing crush on the one guy who truly gets her. As timely as it is timeless, He Must Like You is a story about consent, rage, and revenge, and the potential we all have to be better people.


Note : 5 sur 5.

Some infos

TWs & DWS: sexism, misogyny, sexual assault, sexual content, mental abuse
Rep: POC cast of characters

Nbs of pages: 325
Where to get it: Amazon (affiliate link), check your local bookstores!


My review

Spoiler free

You know me, I am not one to do short book reviews. It is quite the contrary. So brace yourselves, because this is my best read of the year so far and I have a lot of things to say – like, a lot of lot. First of all, let me tell you a bit about myself, so you understand at which levels I found this story this relatable. If you don’t want to read about my life – which I could perfectly understand, no worries – you can jump to the next paragraph. So, I am a server, I’ve been for almost five years, and I do this to pay for my studies. Like Libby, I know how it is to be waitressing in a village where everything is known and reputation is key. This is actually one of the reasons I picked this book up, I wanted to see if I was alone experiencing those stuff. Turns out I am not, and it makes me very angry.

Everything about Libby’s situation is relatable and feels so real it is both upsetting and exciting at the same time. Upsetting because, yes, there are handy clients who will take every opportunity to touch you, hug you, get close to you. And no, you can’t do anything about it, because you need your job, your tips and your money. Because some guys do indeed feel untouchable some times, and they are often the worst and grossest people on the planet. And exciting because Libby is learning that, even if there are circumstances in which she cannot talk, there are other ways to make herself heard. And it is always worth a try.

Sometimes all you can do is build, like, one not-shitty day on top of another not-shitty day. And then one good day on top of a not-shitty day, and then finally one good day on another good day. That’s building something.

Reading the first chapter, I knew this was going to be one of my best reads ever. If I have to think about why, I would say it is not so much about the story itself, but more the way it’s told and how the characters are built. There is something about the writing style as well, very cinematographic somehow. If there is one day an adaptation project for this one, please remember I am a script-writing student and would love to help. *winks winks*

As I told you, the characters are amazingly built. Not only because of their characterisation but also because there is no all bad character (I mean, except the sexual harasser, this one deserves to be burnt in hell). One of the main topics of this book is consent and how important it is. About what a sexual assault is. And Libby learns she’s been sexually assaulted the same way a lot of us unfortunately do: she realizes it doesn’t have to be a stranger in a dark alley. It doesn’t have to be a story to be featured in the press. Some times, it happens at home, with the person you are with, and this is hurtful as well.

She learns how to navigate the trauma that comes with it and – gods. I am easily triggered by this kind of things, but here I wasn’t. Why? I don’t know. I think it has something to do with the depiction of trauma and how it can look like. Because it is not only about the pain, but the other little things that come with it: the flashbacks, the memories, the feeling of being disgusting and gross. And this is something I have never read in a Young Adult novel before. It was right and balanced and I loved every part of it.

This book is also about how to teach people what consent is, what it should sound like, how it can affect your life and mental health if you don’t pay attention to the person you are with. Because, yes, this book doesn’t ignore the assaulters as well, and the way the author treats them is golden. They are young adult, old teenagers, and they didn’t know, like many assaulters. This is something they didn’t even think about, and yet, they raped. Nothing will excuse their actions, but there is a way to prevent it from happening again: teaching them about it. And the best way to do it is to talk, confront them and lead them to someone who will be able to listen and teach them decency. Because, no, you aren’t supposed to educate your assaulter, and if you don’t want to talk with them, you don’t have to.

This book reminded me of what it feels like to want to stay awake all night to read, to cheer for a character so much you don’t want to leave them. This story reminded me why I am a reader and how literature can open your eyes to many things. Please, read it. It is this good.

Told you it was going to be a long one! And I stopped myself from saying too much. I loved this story and loved Libby and loved the messages and wish I had read it sooner.
Do you know this book?

Have a nice day and sweet reads,

Estelle.


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