Review: Not Here to be Liked

Eliza Quan is the perfect candidate for editor in chief of her school paper. That is, until ex-jock Len DiMartile decides on a whim to run against her. Suddenly her vast qualifications mean squat because inexperienced Len—who is tall, handsome, and male—just seems more like a leader.

When Eliza’s frustration spills out in a viral essay, she finds herself inspiring a feminist movement she never meant to start, caught between those who believe she’s a gender equality champion and others who think she’s simply crying misogyny.

Amid this growing tension, the school asks Eliza and Len to work side by side to demonstrate civility. But as they get to know one another, Eliza feels increasingly trapped by a horrifying realization—she just might be falling for the face of the patriarchy himself.

This book had a great premise, and I’m especially drawn to characters that are journalists (or aspiring ones in YA novels), so I thought this would be a great read. While it’s interesting, it just didn’t hit the mark for me. 

When Eliza doesn’t win the vote for Editor-in-Chief, she blames her loss on the fact that Len is a guy, and says that it was a sexist win, which starts a feminism movement in their high school. While I’m all about feminism and making sure women get treated equally, I will say that Eliza just seemed like a sore loser with the way she reacted to Len getting the Editor in Chief spot. And then even going as far as to rally the girls in her movement to demand that Len steps down as Editor was just infuriating. 

On one hand, I get it. Eliza was definitely more dedicated and qualified for the position, at least from what we see. But that’s not entirely to say that Len wasn’t qualified. However, his last-minute run for the position did make him questionable for it. So, like I said, I kind of get why Eliza was acting the way she did, but it wasn’t like Len was completely unqualified for the job; he just threw her off by signing up last-minute and had a better speech. 

And let’s face it, whether you’re qualified for the job or not, it always comes down to the speech.

I will say, the banter between Eliza and Len was good, and they both showed other qualities that I liked in their characters. I just think that Eliza could’ve been a better sport about losing and Len shouldn’t have done that thing he did (which I won’t say because spoilers). 

What I did like about the book was the bit of relationships within Asian families that we got to see. Eliza’s family dynamic was not what I’d expected it to be, but because her parents are from China/Vietnam, it’s not a surprise that the way they interact (and how they came together) is different. I really enjoyed it and it just shines a whole new light into how different families are in different cultures.

I didn’t completely hate the book, even though it might sound that way. I just didn’t enjoy it like I thought I would. 

Rating: 3/5 stars

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