Eliza may not be here to be liked but you will love her!
Updated: Oct 1
Not Here To Be Liked by Michelle Quach, Usborne books
Not Here To Be Liked is amazing! I absolutely loved the main character, Eliza. She reminded me of Paris from Gilmore Girls, albeit with far more redeeming qualities. She also reminded me a little of myself as a teenager, except she has much greater ambition, confidence, drive and focus. Eliza has been working towards her dream role as editor-in-chief of her school paper for years. Her election is practically guaranteed, especially as there is no one running against her. When a last-minute candidate appears, Eliza’s world is turned upside down in more ways than one. Even though she is clearly more qualified, Eliza’s classmates vote for her rival, Len. He’s considered more ‘likeable’ than Eliza to more people, but she can’t stand him. Determined to claim what’s rightfully hers, Eliza embarks on a campaign that grabs the attention of the entire school, including Len. Eliza claims she’s ‘not here to be liked’ but that doesn’t mean she has control over who likes her, or who she develops feelings for herself.
Not Here To Be Liked is a compelling and entertaining story, with brilliant characters, which drew me in immediately. It’s also a powerful exploration of gender roles, stereotypes, hypocrisy, double-standards and the inherent misogyny and chauvinism that even girls internalise without realising. I love how it examines biases and misconceptions, challenges so-called ‘slut-shaming’, and shows how there is more than one way to be a feminist.
What’s also brilliant about this is that as well as gender stereotypes, it smashes the stereotype of the romance novel too. Referencing the Bechdel Test at one point, which requires that two female characters discuss something other than a male, this book passes with flying colours. Eliza’s friendships, family, activism and professional development are given far more focus than the romantic elements of the story. Even better is that although Eliza grows during the course of the novel, she never once alters her personality or is motivated by the approval of others. Her own principles are what guide her, and though they might evolve, her core values never change. I was astonished to discover that Not Here To Be Liked is author Michelle Quach’s first ever book. Buy it for every teenage girl you know; I can’t wait to share it with my own daughters when they’re older.
A huge thanks to Usborne Books and Netgalley for the copy of this book I received in exchange for an honest review – all opinions expressed are my own.
PS. I'd never heard of Boba or Bubble Tea before reading this book I live in a small town in the middle of Ireland). I was curious about it and thanks to Google, was very excited to learn that Dublin's Asia Market sells it. Coincidentally, I will be in Dublin this weekend so am really looking forward to trying some. #sep21newsletter