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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
Sixteen-year-old Hannah Zandana is not a conventional good looker. She has a spotty complexion and wild hair. Her parents also make her feel ugly and constantly criticize her looks. Her father calls her a dirty harlot and her mother always turns her back on Hannah. I Like You Like This: A Novel by Heather Cumiskey is set in 1984 in Connecticut. Hannah wants to change herself and her life. Hannah wants to be appreciated, she wants to have friends, and she tries to be accepted by covering her face with makeup and wearing nice clothes. Things take a turn when she catches the attention of the rich and handsome Deacon Giroux who sells drugs in the school. Deacon is a neglected child and drugs give him power. Hannah gets caught up in Deacon’s dark world when she buys drugs from him.
The story is about rejection, addiction, acceptance, bullying, and attention seeking. It is also about the struggle of a teen and what she undergoes in her quest to be noticed and accepted by everyone around her. Cumiskey takes readers into a world of drugs, addiction, and self harm. What stands out in the story is the physical and mental abuse the two main characters endure in their lives. Hannah and Deacon are well portrayed and they come across as real, and the problems they face are relatable. It is heartrending to see them both go through angst, pain, and rejection in their lives, and how they find comfort and solace together. The romance between Hannah and Deacon, the unexpected ending, and Hannah's transformation make this book a compelling read.