El Deafo by Cece Bell Going to school and making…
I am sitting on my back deck with my cup of Raspberry tea, wearing a Harry Potter hoodie, and reflecting on this middle-grade novel that I feel lucky to have read before it is released. I was first introduced to Barbara Dee through the wide world of Twitter and since then, I have read two of her books-Truth or Dare (published in 2016) and Maybe He Just Likes You (published October 1, 2019). If you are looking for an author that has that middle school voice, this is her. She gets it. The emotions that her characters feel are felt by the reader. Barbara has a talent for writing for this age group that I feel need more books, especially books that deal with tougher issues. Issues like sexual harassment and crossing the line from teasing to harassing. This brings me to my thoughts on her next book, Maybe He Just Likes You. But first, a summary from Indie Books:
Barbara Dee explores the subject of #MeToo for the middle grade audience in this heart-wrenching—and ultimately uplifting—novel about experiencing harassment and unwanted attention from classmates.Summary courtesy of Indie Books
For seventh-grader Mila, it starts with some boys giving her an unwanted hug on the school blacktop. A few days later, at recess, one of the boys (and fellow trumpet player) Callum tells Mila it’s his birthday, and asks her for a “birthday hug.” He’s just being friendly, isn’t he? And how can she say no? But Callum’s hug lasts a few seconds too long, and feels…weird. According to her friend, Zara, Mila is being immature and overreacting. Doesn’t she know what flirting looks like?
But the boys don’t leave Mila alone. On the bus. In the halls. During band practice—the one place Mila could always escape.
It doesn’t feel like flirting—so what is it? Thanks to a chance meeting, Mila begins to find solace in a new place: karate class. Slowly, with the help of a fellow classmate, Mila learns how to stand her ground and how to respect others—and herself.
From the author of Everything I Know About You, Halfway Normal, and Star-Crossed comes this timely story of a middle school girl standing up and finding her voice.”
I will start by sharing my journal with you. Some books speak to me as soon as I have it in my hand and I must start sketching out connections and thoughts. This book was one of those books. I started my notes when I started the book and I was inspired the entire time.
The two quotes I included both show the strength of Mila while at the same time shows how uncertain and worried she is. My heart was tight with worry and anxiety this entire book. I could feel Mila’s emotions and that combined with the short chapters made it very difficult to put this book. I had to find out Mila’s ending and how she was going to conquer this inner turmoil and the actions of those around her.
I am not going to give too much away, but if you have read this book or would like to know more, write a comment below and we can discuss. This book will be a staple in libraries and classrooms and will spark great discussions. Even better than being read in the classroom? It would be amazing for parents and guardians to read this book with their middle schooler and have those tough talks. Books are a great way to have those conversations and I really urge you to try it.
Want to hear more about this book? Check out Barbara Dee’s website.
Interested in pre-ordering a copy? Order from Indie Bound here!
Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to add October 1 to your calendar and watch for this book to be released to the world. It is going to make a splash.