Maybe He Just Likes You
Mila is in seventh grade, and she's got her friends, she's good at band, and she takes care of her younger sister Hadley after school, since her mom works full time. One day there's an unplanned hug. It doesn't seem like a big deal. But then there are some comments and looks. It's hard to describe what's going on, especially because the boys who are doing it keep denying anything is wrong. Mila's friends seem a little annoyed by it, and the counselor is the opposite of helpful. Soon, Mila just wants to avoid school - even band - because things are out of control, and she doesn't know how to make it stop.
This is an important book, and although Mila is in seventh grade, it's an appropriate book for upper elementary readers to read and discuss, as these incidents are not confined to middle school. The author does an excellent job realistically portraying how every-day struggles become so much more difficult for a person who feels unsafe at school. As the "me, too" movement revealed, harassment is widespread, and this book is one way to raise awareness and prevention. Although the resolution is probably less realistic, the story is still compelling, and certainly valuable to read.
"So here was Zara again: mean, then sorry. Also completely missing the point about the basketball boys."
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