Not Here to be Liked

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Pub Date 16 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 23 Sep 2021

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Eliza Quan fully expects to be voted the next editor-in-chief of her school paper. She works hard, she respects the facts, and she has the most experience.

Len DiMartile is an injured star baseball player who seems to have joined the paper just to have something to do. Naturally, the staff picks Len to be their next leader. Because while they may respect Eliza, they don't particularly like her.

Eliza is not here to be liked. She's here to win.

But someone does like Eliza. A lot.

Shame it's the boy standing in the way of her becoming editor-in-chief....

Warning: This book features an unlikable female character, intersectional feminism, and instruction for the fall of the patriarchy. And kissing, lots of kissing.

Michelle Quach is a Chinese-Vietnamese-American who spent a lot of time working for student newspapers, including The Crimson at Harvard College, where she earned a BA in history and literature. Currently a graphic designer at a brand strategy firm in Los Angeles, Not Here To Be Liked is her first novel.

Cover illustration by Kevin Wada (c) Usborne Publishing, 2021 

Eliza Quan fully expects to be voted the next editor-in-chief of her school paper. She works hard, she respects the facts, and she has the most experience.

Len DiMartile is an injured star baseball...

Advance Praise

“Feisty, funny and fierce. Not Here To Be Liked is packed with honesty and heart. I was cheering Eliza Quan on as she figures out feminism and following her dreams – all whilst falling in love.” Beth Garrod, author of The Super Awkward series.

"A fresh voiced debut, perfect for anyone who has ever felt unlikable. Not Here To Be Liked is a sharply intelligent read with a touch of painful reality that will leave a mark on your heart." Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of the Caraval series

“Quach’s sparkling debut is a fantastic examination of feminism, full of insight and heart. A must read for those who love coming of age stories with a touch of romance.” Roselle Lim, author of Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune

“A smart romance with heart and guts and all the intoxicating feelings in between.” Maureen Johnson, New York Times bestselling author 13 Little Blue Envelopes

"Not Here to Be Liked is a fierce coming of age story that had me cheering! Michelle Quach deftly explores intersectional feminism, first love, and complicated family relationships with honesty and heart." Elise Bryant, author of Happily Ever Afters

“Equal parts funny and thought-provoking. Eliza isn’t here to be liked, but you’ll fall in love with her—and Michelle Quach’s bright new voice—all the same.” Katie Henry, author of Heretics Anonymous

“Feisty, funny and fierce. Not Here To Be Liked is packed with honesty and heart. I was cheering Eliza Quan on as she figures out feminism and following her dreams – all whilst falling in love.”...

Available Editions

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ISBN 9781474989732
PRICE £7.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

I absorbed this book, I could not put it down. Whilst there is a warning in the synopsis of this book for an unlikable female character, Eliza grew on me regardless. I loved how she questioned her values and was constantly growing throughout the story., She was a strong independent female character and I found myself rooting for her. Whilst this book was just told from Eliza’s perspective, I would have loved to see Len’s and how he felt at certain points of this story. He was a very interesting character and I really liked what we saw of him. Eliza is an extremely hardworking member of the Bugle, the school newspaper. She begins the book as the only member running for editor-in-chief for the following year, however, once she arrives at school on the day of the election, she is greeted by Len running also. Ultimately, Len gets picked for school newspaper, which causes Eliza to angrily write up a manifesto about how Len was picked due to sexism as she has more experience and it appears that Len was running just for something to do. Eliza never plans for her manifesto to be published, as it acts more as an outlet for her anger and other emotions. However, the following day, her manifesto has been publishe and the whole school soon knows about her accusing them of sexism. What follows is an extremely interesting book about romance, finding yourself and, of course, feminism. ‘I thought you didn’t care about being liked’… ‘I can care about whatever I like.’ The author deals with the topic of intersectional feminism very well and I loved the way it was explored by each character and how it seemed to mean something different to each person. There were many different examples of sexism throughout this book, showing how boys could get away with cheating, how periods were something to be embarrassed of. I think it was really interesting the way this important topic was mixed in so well with a YA romance book. Eliza and Len are forced to work together, despite the fact that Eliza is campaigning to get him to step down. But very quickly, things get more complicated as Eliza realises that Len may not be as bad as she first thought and feelings become involved. Overall, this book was the perfect YA romance and had me hooked and I recommend it if you want some cute romance!

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Stands true to the title. But wait... What's there not to be liked about Eliza? She's bold, strong, smart, observant, knowledgeable, hard working, speaks her mind and girl, I love her attitude and originality! Her romance with her rival, Len picks up at a realistic pace. Is this not how it's suppose to come about loving someone from hating him? Not Here to be Liked is a burst of a book for teens and young adults and those that are at heart! Thank you Usborne and Net Galley for the e-ARC.

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Overall Rating – 5/5 ‘Not Here to be Liked’ by Michelle Quach I think might be one of my absolute favourite reads of this year so far, it is so compelling, heart-warming and packed a powerful message, basically all the best things rolled up into one delightful (gorgeous cover) package. The book itself is about Eliza Quan, a Chinese/Vietnamese US teenager who is running for her editor in chief role at her school newspaper the Bugle which she has worked for years to get. However, she ends up losing to a very inexperienced journalist Len DiMartile which sparks a feminist movement within her school - as the question begins to come forward ‘why is it that males have these roles of power given so easily to them?’ …Although, things do start to get a bit complicated when she starts to have feelings for the boy, ‘the face of the patriarchy’. A wonderful contemporary ‘enemies to lovers’ YA book, which although being fluffy and delightful, tackles some BIG topics such as feminism, sexism, race and immigration and does so very well! The relationships written through the book were superb, from the dynamics between friends, the romance, to the family relationships where we saw the struggles of Eliza being a second-generation child of immigrant parents and the pressures this had on her. The ROMANCE, it was sooooo cute. Len was a bit hot and cold so wasn’t sure where it was going but the development throughout the book was wonderful, and I loved them together! Overall, fully recommend picking this one up as it was such a great read, I think many people will be able to enjoy this one. Thanks to NetGallery and the publishers at Usborne Publishing for the advance copy.

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Mu Rating: 4.4 stars Not Here to be Liked is the best rivals-to-lovers YA book out there. It was a good commentary on teen feminism and immigrant issues. With its realistic portrayal of friendship, love, diverse Asian cast, it stole my heart with each turn of the page. I’m not doing justice to say how much I enjoyed this book by making this review sound so formal, but you’ll know once you read it. It’s a must-read, that’s worth the time and energy spent on it. Definitely gonna reread it soon! Thanks to the author,publisher, and NetGalley for the ecopy.

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'Not Here to Be Liked' follows high school student Eliza Quan, soon to be the next editor-in-chief of of her school paper-- the Bugle. Or so she thinks. Despite being completely unqualified and inexperienced next to Eliza, Ex-jock Len DiMartile decides on a whim to run against her and is voted into the position because 'he just seems more like a leader'. Frustrated and outraged at the outcome of events, Eliza accidentally becomes the face of Willoughby's feminist movement. But theres just one problem; she might just just fall for the face of the patriarchy that she's trying to bring down along the way. In this fast paced and beautifully written novel, Michelle Quach brings important discussions of feminism to the forefront, highlighting the struggles of being a woman and how unfairly many are treated because of their gender. Everything about this book was brilliant, from the writing to the way it makes the reader really think about ongoing issues in society and how they affect people of all ages. Set in an Asian majority area, 'Not Here to Be Liked' gives insight into Asian culture and sheds light on the lives of immigrants that travel to America in search of a better life for their family. This book was truly a masterpiece and I learned so much from this read. The enemies to lovers trope mixed in with the fight for feminism and to understand what it means to be a woman in the modern world was excellently executed and written in a way easy for anyone to understand and relate to. In all, 'Not Here to Be Liked' is a book not to be missed and I strongly recommend this read to anyone who is a fan of the enemies to lovers trope, contemporary fiction, or wants to learn more about feminism and its impact in the modern world. Thankyou to Usborne and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Not Here To Be Liked is the YA contemporary I needed! It follows Eliza Quan the hard-working managing director of her school's newspaper running for the post of editor-in-chief. And she's the perfect choice, until Len, the ex baseball star runs against her and wins. What follows is the start of a feminist movement in her school, questioning the sexist behaviour prevalent. As the title suggests, Eliza is not here to be liked. She doesn’t care what others think of her, one quality I desperately wish I had, she’s driven, she knows what she’s worth and she wants to be acknowledged for it. I grinned so wide at her girlboss moments. She isn’t perfect by any means, Not Here To Be Liked very aptly incorporates the process of learning and unlearning, realising in a teen’s life through conversations with people around her. She has her uncertainties , she makes mistakes. I really admire Michelle Quach for including all the patriarchal ideas and microaggressions in an easy flowing writing style. Despite the warning of “this book contains an unlikeable female character” I loved following Eliza’s journey in addressing the school’s sexist history head on and how she questions what it really means to be a feminist. Only to realise that there’s no specific textbook definition for it. I loved her attitude, originality and her growth. I loved the discussions of double standards, of the internalised misogyny—slut shaming, how a girl and guy can wear the same clothing but get judged for it differently, girl-girl hate—of the stigma and stereotypes existing in our society. The entire story starts off with Len, an inexperienced candidate being voted for the position of the editor-in-chief, simply because he seemed more like a leader from his speech. All the while Eliza, very qualified and experienced, was criticised for “not being too nice”, for “trying too hard” or “being overly critical” when she was just doing her job as a journalist and editor and even being just as intense, critical and with high standards as her male coworkers. The fact this nuanced exploration of sexism, feminism, classism and racism is done from an Asian lens just made the book even better. Okay hear me out: you bash an ex-jock who stole your position as an editor-in-chief in a manifesto which surprisingly got published and now there’s a feminist movement growing in your school. But turns out… you’re falling for the very same jock, the face of the patriarchy and that leaves you wondering if you’re really a feminist when you have feelings for the boy you’re against. It was lovely to see Eliza come to terms with her feelings as well as staying true to her feminist ideas. I love me a good romance, Eliza and Len are the perfect definition of rivals. Their interactions are so adorably entertaining and their dialogues are wonderful. I loved the slow build up into being friends, bonding over boba, baseball and reading and eventually into something more. Not Here To Be Liked, set in an Asian majority area, sheds light on the lives of immigrant children and their relationship with parents and the pressure imposed on them to be ambitious and make their place in the foreign country. The relationship between Eliza and her sister, Eliza and her parents and her observation of the relationship between her parents and of course her friends Serene and Wiona were lovely to read about. I love that Quach included the POC diversity and showed their struggles too — Wiona for example, worried about a demonstration project at school as she doesn’t want to be the “angry black woman” or Serena wanting to be liked by people. I’m really glad they all came to understand each other and enjoy the company! Not Here To Be Liked is a wonderful contemporary, a mix of light romance and important discussions. This is definitely debut to not be missed!

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I'm obsessed with this book. It's a young adult feminist romance. The characters are great and the romance is cute! It's a such a fun and easy read, I read it in one sitting! The main character, Eliza, accidentally starts a feminist movement at her school when an unqualified boy gets the role as editor in chief of her school newspaper instead of Eliza, who is infinitely more qualified. It's nice to see more ya books tat focus on feminism/female empowerment and I really enjoyed seeing how Eliza's thoughts changed as different things were thrown at her.

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"Everyone loves a girlboss until she tries to tell you what to do" What a great book! Eliza is, at first, an intransigent character who lives by a strict code and believes in what is right. She thinks wanting to look good and being interested in boys are not compatible with being a feminist. She doesn't care what others think of her because her focus is elsewhere: working hard and succeeding. When things don't quite go to plan, it starts a spiral of events and encounters that make Eliza question a lot of her pre-conceptions, and I think this is what is so great about this book. Similarly to "Moxie", it conveys that feminism doesn't mean you can be attracted to people, or want to look nice, or appreciate compliments. It is a really nuanced read, funny, with a fierce protagonist who might come across as unlikeable at first but takes readers with her all the way in her journey. With issues around social media, popularity, and being from immigrant and mixed-heritage backgrounds, there is a lot for readers to relate to, A really fantastic read!

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Wow, Not Here to Be Liked is a powerful, thought-provoking read! A brilliant look at feminism, what it means to be a feminist, and that not everything is straightforward, there are many grey areas and intricacies when it comes to being a feminist, some of which we see Eliza face. I loved the discussions around the male gaze, double standards of behaviour, and even cultural and generational divides when it comes to beliefs around feminism and the role of women. I thought Eliza was a great character and just as the title says, she is not here to be liked. She is part of the school paper team, she does her job and does it well. Sometimes this means being harsh and critical. I actually really admire her for not caring what others think, wish I could be more like that! I did feel sorry for her though, she is the best candidate for editor-in-chief, so justifibly believes she should get the job. Throughout her story we see the challenges she faces at school, the history of the patriarchy there, and how she tries to fight back against it. The romance building with Len was lovely, they should hate each other but realise their views and beliefs aren’t so different. It added an extra layer of angst as well as areas for discussion, around hook-ups, relationships, even flirting, how men and women are viewed differently for the same actions. I admire how this was written, the imperfections that were shown, the human nature, and the unsureness and uncertainty at times that Eliza displayed. I think this will help some teens understand feminism a little better and provoke them into discovering more about themselves and what their own views are. The discussion questions at the end are brilliant! I will be adding Not Here to Be Liked to our book club list at school to read and discuss. Many thanks to Netgalley and Usborne Publishing for the e-arc to review.

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Not here to be Liked was a fun fresh feminist read that I absolutely adored! The plot in itself was extremely enjoyable and it kept me wanting to read! Eliza was feisty, bold and everything a main character should be! The writing was brilliant and quite engaging! Overall this was an amazing read and I would definitely recommend it!

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I believe this is very important book out there. Because if you're a girl with an opinion, and "backbone" you're not liked by many, and in this kind of world we need to find our voice with our truths. Great YA, written by BIPOC author.

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If you liked Moxie, you'll like Not Here to Be Liked. We follow Eliza, a Chinese-Vietnamese-American teen who is the managing editor of her high school newspaper. She's not here to be liked and doesn't need to (spoiler: we like her anyway or maybe because of it). She knows she will be voted as next year's editor in chief, not only because there's no one better for the job, but there's also no one running against her. Until there is. When the rest of the newspaper team vote for the guy who joined less than a year ago and who doesn't talk much but came up with a decent speech, Eliza can't wrap her head around it. To let the feelings out, she writes all her thoughts down... which somehow get published in the front page of the newspaper the next day. This starts a conversation about sexism, feminism and supporting each other instead of judging each other. It's a great story that perfectly reflects the struggle to understand what you should stand for and what behavior you should call out, especially as a teenager. What does it mean to be a good feminist? Does falling for the guy who made you start this movement make you a bad feminist? Michelle Quan handles such an important topic beautifully and rises all the right questions. Also, the rep in this is great. Bottomline: add this to your TBR and thank me later! A huge thank you to NetGalley and Usborne Publishing for the e-ARC in exchange of an honest and voluntary review.

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Wow! This was such a fantastic and remarkable read! If you didn’t know already, this books follows the story of Eliza Quan, a Chinese- Vietnamese girl who’s been part of her school magazine’s team for a long time but ends up losing the position of editor-in-chief to a very new, less than qualified boy, Len DiMartile just because he’s more easy- going and ‘likeable’. For obvious reasons, she’s appalled by this and after an essay of hers talking about this goes viral, she surprisingly ends up inspiring a feminist movement in her school. But, as she starts working together with Len and getting to know him, she realises she’s also starting to fall for him. Not here to be liked has your classic enemies-to-lovers romance with a high school setting but with a huge sub plot of feminism and all it entails. This book really made me think about how embedded sexism is in all our minds. I LOVED the author’s writing style and how easily she managed to discuss SO many prejudices against women that are happening everyday but aren’t given much of a thought by us. Though, according to the title, Eliza is ‘not here to be liked’ but she is in fact, a very likeable character. I loved how brave she was to stand up for what she felt was wrong. I could really understand Eliza’s frustration and struggle with misogyny and sexism existing in the society and I was also able to relate to her when she had conflicting thoughts about what is it to be a good or a bad feminist. I also loved Eliza’s friends Winnona and Serena. Unlikely friendship is one of my favourite things to witness in a book and seeing these three together, who’re actually so different from one another was amazing! The romance was utterly adorable! Len was such a sweetheart *heart eyes* and he definitely charmed me from the beginning! We also got a good variety of Asian rep: Korean, Japanese, Cantonese and Chinese-Vietnamese. It was nice to know more about Asian ways of things like their culture, their beliefs, what things are like in an Asian household, the family dynamics, etc. I not only loved that we got to know more about an Asian family, it also felt like a realistic portrayal because no family is actually perfect. We usually get dead parents trope (no offence meant here) to show a dysfunctional family in YA but a complete family also has it’s fair share of arguments and fights. There were also so many discussions on very important things like:- - How women are held upto certain beauty standards. They’re told what is beautiful and what’s not and how they’re taught from the beginning that beauty is what matters the most, which is extremely sexist so I appreciated that being discussed. - Slut-shaming and how misogyny is internalized and so deeply embedded in everyone’s minds that automatically everyone assumes the worst of a woman. - How misogyny exists in the most mundane of things, like song lyrics that barely anyone pays attention to but when you think about it, actually shows what some people still think about women. It also focused on showing what feminism actually is compared to what people think it is. If you’re a feminist, it doesn’t mean you can’t be with a boy. Seeing Eliza’s struggles with having feelings for a boy AND being a feminist but then slowly coming to understand that both can exist was a nice addition to the story. I’d say this book was definitely one of my favourite reads of the year. It was such an important read while also having light moments and a cute romance! I’ll 100% recommend it to everyone! A huge thanks to Usborne and Netgalley for the e-arc!

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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. I absolutely loved the main character, Eliza. Referencing the Bechdel Test at one point, this book passes it 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.

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