by Michelle Quach
Publication: September 14, 2021
Not Here To Be Liked was one of the books I looked forward to this year, and it exceeded my expectations. The book posits so many interesting questions surrounding multiple topics that already occupy my mind including voting behavior, elections, equality, and feminism. Which sex is more likely to be attributed with holding leadership qualities? What factors affect who people vote for? What does it mean to be a feminist? Quach manages to touch on all these subjects, keeping me engaged as students begin to recognize what they see and their experiences as well as call out the behavior. It’s a thought-provoking piece that urges readers to consider how women and men are treated differently and how we can try to combat the inequality but may perpetuate it as well.
The characters are all interesting, but I found Eliza to be an especially admirable main character. She’s a junior in high school with a confidence I wish I had at that age. Her adherence to her code is inspiring, especially when faced with pressures to conform. Like any flawed individual, she stumbles here and there, but it only serves to make her character more relatable. Although she is a bit prickly, I liked her almost immediately because we shared similar views, and I related to her relationship with her parents.
The romance plays a particularly important role in her growth. It’s an academic rivals trope, which I love, and it leads to complications that further highlight societal stereotypes against women. The romance felt rushed in some areas, and I wish the romance was fleshed out just a little bit more, it is easily integrated into the larger theme of how women are treated differently from men for the same actions.
Not Here To Be Liked shines a light on how misogyny plays out on a high school campus through an election that should have been based on experience and qualifications. Some of the important takeaways from the book is the question of what feminism looks like and how advocacy can be messy. While the book doesn’t offer definitive answers, it provides multiple opportunities for readers to come to their own conclusions. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and look forward to more from Quach.