• Booktastically Amazing

He Must Like You

by Danielle Younge-Ullman


Spoiler- Free Synopsis:


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.


I hate many things. But I can surprisingly say... I didn't hate this one.

It actually was kinda nice.

Can you tell I'm trying not to anger the universe?

-Booksy, 2021


Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟⭐ 4.0


This story, well, not the story. ALLLLL of this book has taken me a long time to come to terms with (I've also been procrastinating extra hard soo...). Dang, this whole novel made me so MAD. And not because of the writing, nor the characters (it was definitely also the characters), just the simple premise that this even happens. That it even exists. If I could throw that truth down a singular chute up Ares's nose, have him cough it up and yeet it to the depths of the ocean, pump it full of acidic glue, and have krakens feast on it, I would take that opportunity by the ear.


So yes, just a tad bit angry at society.

When am I not though-


Let's begin with the easiest thing to unravel in this mental state of mine, the plot. It was sincere, heartwrenching and so unfeigned. I also, HATED it. But in a loving way. Does that make sense? See, it was horrible things mixed with horrible things and plated in a salad of, you guessed it right! Horrible things. Voila, the story in a nutshell. And to even begin this whole spiel of a semi-coherent review, let me give you a slight rundown of what happened throughout the book. The MC gets raped, sexually harassed, and emotionally manipulated. So yes, I do indeed despise it quite a bit. And do not even get me started on how the author connected stuff in such a beautiful manner, albeit a bit frustrating to see the outcome of things unfold. Yes, it was honest and harsh, also yes, it was incredibly annoying to be a witness of all the stupidity that oozed from the characters. But that's for the next ranting section. I mostly spoil a lot when it's a fantasy book since it actually has things to SPOIL, alas, no spoilers from this one, guys. *initiate overdramatic sobbing*


The few times that I caught off guard AKA without my armor, came like an electric shock. A certain drowning of the senses. In other words, it left me flabbergasted (I literally wrote that word like five times trying to get it right. Spelling Bee champion anyone? Actually asking I mean, I have never been a spelling champion, apart from when I spelled the word idiot to an actual idiot in second grade.) And again, angry.


Why am I always angry-

Oh, that's right.

Books.


The writing was very nice, I never know what to say about the writing in general though (I blame it on the organ of soft nervous tissue contained in the skull of vertebrates, functioning as the coordinating centre of sensation and intellectual and nervous activity, that I'm missing *smirks in 'fake it till you make it'*). Was it engaging? *nod* Entertaining? *nod nod* Existing? *nod?* So yes, dumb numb tis I. Geez, and I ask myself why I haven't been nominated for a Peace Award or something. (what am I even saying-) Oh! Just remembered, there was a weird mix of formal, metaphorical writing with modern lingo sometimes, which left me slightly in a confused state of mind.


Moving on to the actual jam, and no I don't mean Space Jam.

*audience stares in confuzzlement*


Um... yeah.

Well, the characters!

*non-existent audience starts slow clapping*


(People are so demanding these days)

(don't mind me having an inner dialogue on the written page)

(every day I grow more concerned about myself)


THE CHARACTERS EVERYONE, yep. Better.


The MC was such a complicated being. Her personality was somewhat of an annoying raga moose mixed with a wet cat and sprinkled with light snowfalls of sarcasm. And no, I'm not talking after the disgusting thing that someone did to her. I'm talking before that. I indeed liked her persona half of the time. Libby was strong, sharp-witted, and didn't completely make me want to smack her repeatedly with a broom. So all things considered, good enough, no? I loved how she handled some things but also didn't see the need in her acting like she was above her friends or even above her family. And by family, I mean her brother. The rest of them can go take a one-way trip to the toilet.


“Okay.”

“You don’t have to forgive me or anything.”

“That’s true.”

I don't know why, but for some reason, this extremely vexes me.


And speaking of things that belong on toilets. Let's mention her family for a bit. I never remember their names (because I'm super intelligent like that, also, the only one worth headspace was her brother) so I shall make it easier to identify each person doing the following.

Not mentioning their names. *snort*

Well, the dad was something else. And by something else, I mean, SOMETHING ELSE. Something that doesn't quite belong in this atmosphere. The amount of restraint I exerted to not punch him, was next-level intense. But because I'm a classy lady, I didn't. Oh, I wasn't talking about me. I was talking about that speck of common sense that evaded him. Haha, no. He was frustrating, emotionally exhausting to bear, and please, just throw him off of somewhere. And yes, I do remember that he had his own issues, but that doesn't mean an automatic atonement for his sins. In short, he was awful, ewness, and preposterously moronic. I stand my case, fellow jury.

Next on the characters, the mom.

Oh dear lord.

The mom.

I'm pretty sure she would get one of the many awards of most confusing person EVER. Sometimes I tolerated her, other times I could barely stop myself from lashing out at her. Even if she doesn't hear me, I'm SURE someone will. Wherever they may be. Stating some (few) good things about her *clears throat* I loved how she stood up to the guy she chose to marry (I- I really don't know WHY she did in the first place or why IT TOOK HER THE WHOLE BOOK), and she wasn't scared to let her emotions have a say in things. HOWEVER, the disgust that perpetrated my immune defenses against stupid notions society has ingrained in us that SHE said, was incredibly present. I'll just quote her real quick because I'm too enraged to even breathe in her direction.

“But there is,” she says, plowing on. “There are differences in how you approach each man . . . but essentially they’re all the same. They’re easy to get on your side if you know what to do.”

“Seriously, I might puke.”

“I didn’t do anything untoward, Libby. I only told him the truth, and let him cast himself as the potential hero—the savior of us both.”

“While looking hot and crying.”

“Something like that,” she says, and pats her hair. “But with more nuance, I hope.”

Oh lord, I'm going to cry. Out of rage.

“Hmm,” she says, starting to pace the kitchen, “the skirt is more appealing to someone like Perry, obviously, but at the same time could be seen as encouraging . . . but you still want to look attractive . . . so I’d say the pants—your stretchy ones—and just a little extra makeup.”

Ugh.

“I’m not putting on extra makeup for Perry Ackerman. In fact it’s probably better for me to wear less makeup, because then I look younger, and that will hopefully remind him it’s a teenager he’s been harassing.”

“Oh, that’s quite strategic,” she says, looking far too excited, considering. “Yes, go for dewy—some of that shimmery lotion, a light shade of gloss . . .”

*sing song voice* I shall knifeee youuuu.


Long story short on her, if the author wanted me to hate the mom, *clapping* you accomplished your mission, dear one. I absolutely despise her. As in, if she were on fire, I would get a bag of popcorn and a water bottle. And no, the water bottle isn't for her, popcorn makes me thirsty.


I think that the only characters that didn't irk me in any specific way, were Libby's best friend, Emma. And their friend, Noah. Both were so much better doing the whole friendship thing than a lot of other YA friendships. No backstabbing, no occult reasons as to why they became close. Nothing, just a blissful, and beautiful friendship. I stanned so hard. (Take a chocolate shot every time the word friendship gets repeated. I bet you don't *smirks in indigestion*)

Now, I am aware that romance is always something I profusely rant about. SO I have taken the hard choice of driving the high road. By saying that it was slightly useless, didn't add anything but it was a nice bonus to make me want to actually want to see the couple's outcome. I am supremely glad that it wasn't the focus of the story and guysssss, the guy was sweet and not cheesy! Wow, just wow.

And the lovey-dovey aspect didn't make me want to bury my head under 67 feet of molten lava.

So thank you.

For not murdering me.


On a closing note, I shall say that it was a nice, profound read. Did it anger me at times? Pfft, um yeah! And was it a type of diamond in the rough? Also yes. The story as a whole had a very good message towards victims of sexual assault and such, which I adore. It helped me understand different sides of the story, which I needed, and come on, I got to sharpen the collection of knives I own. That's a definite plus.

Though really, I still want to go all pitchfork on that poor excuse of a da-


I recommend this to readers who want to get their brains messed with and patience played with. And your hearts! That will also have its fair share of suffering. Also, seriously, it is a good book. I rant a lot. But it was a good book.


Disclaimer: Any and all opinions said up there are my own, and please feel free to call me out for any errors or any offensive comments, so I can get right on it and get it fixed!

Honorable Mentions:

  • The brother! He was an enjoyable character to not imagine getting trampled on. Safe to say, he was a real winner, albeit, a dumb nut on occasion.

  • You cannot believe how much I appreciated that the teens in this story (apart from the main character) ACTUALLY TALKED ABOUT THEIR EMOTIONS. WITHOUT YELLING OR CAUSING ANOTHER DRAMA. *sigh* That was so satisfying to read about. Normal things shouldn't be. But hey, I'll take what I can get.

  • The MC's backbone making a stand in the last pages. I appreciated its book bombing. So dang much. It was about time guys, 200 pages without her ever standing up. 200 pages.

  • Perry. The major harasser? yeah, him. I didn't rant about the idiot because I want you to grow to hate him in the course of the story. Like, go all Rambo on the celebrity wannabe. Newsflash, nobody wants to see a bag of trash on screen. TAKE A SEAT.

  • Her mom actually growing a pair of braincells in the last ten pages.



Bonus:


“I look. Her leggings are rolled up and she’s got large bandages, with substantial blood showing through, on both of her tiny knees.

“Ow!” I say, wincing.

She regards me gravely, her little chin quivering, then asks. “Why don’t they just leave me alone?”

“I don’t know,” I say, pained.

“They probably like you, sweetie,” Lottie’s dad says in a soothing tone.

“No, Dad, they hate me,” she says with devastating clarity. “They told me. They laughed at me when I fell and called me a baby for crying.”

“Boys are just dumb sometimes, honey,” the dad says, looking desperate for some way to make her feel better. “They’re not always good with communicating so they do stupid things to get your attention. I’m telling you, this Jackson fellow?



He must like you.”



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