maybe he just likes you book cover


‘Maybe He Just Likes You’: An In-depth Review and Analysis

In the realm of middle-grade literature, a novel has recently made waves for its timely and sensitive exploration of a topic that’s often overlooked in this demographic: sexual harassment. That book is ‘Maybe He Just Likes You’ by Barbara Dee. This review aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the novel, shedding light on its themes, characters, and the important message it carries.


‘Maybe He Just Likes You’ is a middle-grade novel that tackles the subject of sexual harassment in a relatable and age-appropriate manner. It tells the story of a seventh-grader, Mila, who finds herself dealing with unwanted attention from her male classmates. The story unfolds from Mila’s perspective, providing readers with an intimate look into her experiences and emotions as she navigates this difficult situation.

Author Profile: Barbara Dee

Barbara Dee is a celebrated author known for her ability to create relatable characters and narratives that resonate with her young readers. Her works often tackle complex issues, providing middle-grade readers with a safe and understandable framework to explore these topics. In ‘Maybe He Just Likes You’, Dee explores the subject of sexual harassment, a sensitive topic rarely discussed in middle-grade literature.

The Plot

The story begins with Mila, a seventh-grader, receiving an unwanted hug from some boys during a surprise birthday celebration for a friend. As days pass, the boys’ behavior escalates. They start giving her unwanted hugs, make suggestive comments, and invade her personal space, even during her band practice — the one place where she could always escape.

Character Analysis


Mila, the protagonist, is a complex character whose emotions and reactions to her experiences are portrayed sensitively and realistically. Throughout the story, Mila fluctuates between confusion, fear, and frustration, as she tries to comprehend and react to the boys’ behavior.

The Boys

The boys in the story, particularly Callum and Leo, are portrayed as typical middle-schoolers, unaware of the implications of their actions. Their behavior towards Mila is a result of their lack of understanding about boundaries and consent. They view their actions as harmless fun, oblivious to how it affects Mila.


‘Maybe He Just Likes You’ explores several themes, the most prominent being the issue of sexual harassment. Through Mila’s experience, the book educates readers about the importance of consent and respect. It also emphasizes the significance of standing up for oneself and finding one’s voice in the face of adversity.

Reception and Recognition

The book has been widely recognized for its sensitive portrayal of a complex issue. It has received numerous accolades, including being named a 2020 ALA Notable Children’s Book and a 2019 Washington Post Best Children’s Book of the Year. It has also been selected for various state reading lists.

Impact and Significance

‘Maybe He Just Likes You’ serves as a powerful tool for initiating discussions about sexual harassment among young readers. It allows them to understand what constitutes harassment and how it may look like in their own lives. The book also equips readers with the knowledge and courage to speak up when they or their peers face such situations.


In conclusion, ‘Maybe He Just Likes You’ is an important addition to middle-grade literature. It tackles a sensitive issue with grace and sensitivity, providing young readers with valuable insights and promoting much-needed conversations about respect and consent. This book is highly recommended for both its literary merit and the significant message it carries.