Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Published August 30, 2022
About That’s Debatable
That’s Debatable is a witty, smart, and feminist romantic comedy, author Jen Doll explores what it means to set boundaries while breaking down barriers.
Millicent Chalmers isn’t here to make friends.
She’s here to win, and she’s on track to set a record if–no, when–she wins the state debate tournament for the fourth year in a row. Calm, cool, and always in control, Millie doesn’t care what anyone else thinks of her, least of all the sexist bullies bent on destroying her reputation.
Taggart Strong couldn’t care less about winning debate, much to the consternation of his teammates, school and parents. In fact, he might even enjoy losing, as long as the side he believes in wins.
But when a tournament takes a scary turn, Millie and Tag find themselves unexpectedly working together. Maybe Millie can teach Tag a thing or two about using his head, and Tag can teach Millie a little bit about following her heart.
I think the format of this book is going to be one of its underrated virtues. It’s got short chapters that alternate between Millie and Tag’s points of view. The book is divided into parts that begin with a famous quote and then a resolution statement. I liked the way both of those things set the stage for the chapters in that part of the book. Pretty clever, if you ask me!
I also liked both Tag and Millie’s characters. Tag is quirky and intense, but he’s guided by pretty easily understood beliefs, so he doesn’t have the chaos of a manic pixie dream boy type character, which I appreciated.
Millie is driven and smart. She picks her battles carefully, and her focus remains laser-sharp. I liked the dynamics between her and Tag– the way he challenged her to think about things differently not on purpose, but just kind of by being himself. And I liked that she was the one in the teacher/mentor role. I feel like I’ve seen a lot of books where even though there’s a feminist theme running through the story, if you look at the character roles, a boy still stands in the role as teacher or mentor. So I liked the way THAT’S DEBATABLE changed that up a bit!
The romance is sweet, and I loved the progression of their relationship and the way it impacted their relationships with other characters in the book. I loved that, and the way that those other relationships then played a role in how the story concluded.
All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book. I think fans of rivals to lovers rom-com like THIS MAY END BADLY by Samantha Markum and THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU by Lily Anderson will love this one.
Content Notes for That’s Debatable
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
Major characters are white.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used infrequently.
Kissing between boy and girl.
References to prayer and God.
Millie and Tag hide in a storage closet during what at first appears to be a shooting. They later learn that there was no shooter, just a motorcycle backfiring. A male judge makes inappropriate comments about Millie’s body and dress. Millie endures rumors about her sex life. Previously, one of her competitors shared nude images claiming they were of Millie and that he “let her win” because she sent him the photos. Someone posts a video of one of her competitions and dubs sound over it with sexual comments.
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