He Must Like You
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 dupming 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.
While her father tries to prepare her for leaving the house so he can turn her room into an Airbnb space, she also finds herself having to deal with his tantrums that only get exacerbated by the troubles she's going through. Add to this a night with a co-worker that she isn't sure if she consented to, along with Perry Ackerman, the guy who basically runs the town, hitting on her every chance he gets (to put matters lightly), and Libby finds herself in the depths of despair over what to do. When she takes matters into her own hands, she teeters between regret for what she's done and how it impacts her life and the feeling of awesomeness that accompanies the revenge she has been aiming to achieve for so long.
The novel does a fantastic job keeping readers on their toes, thinking about what exactly consent means. It also delves quite adeptly into the thought process of a young girl who wants to be taken seriously but doesn't want to have that happen at the cost of her pride. The way in which she counters Perry's proposals and deals with the despair she finds herself feeling after a number of inopportune encounters is a testament to Danielle Younge-Ullman's writing in this book. The beauty of her words and the way the story is presented as one in which Libby is dealing with her past as a way to make it through her present as a means to her future is engaging, purposeful, and realistic. It captures a variety of emotions, from lust to shame, regret, understanding, love, and more. This novel should definitely be added to any to-read list!