Title: You Should See Me In A Crown
Author: Leah Johnson
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: June 2 2020
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Contemporary Romance
Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.
But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.
The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?
TW: Homophobia, Racism, Anxiety Attacks, Outing.
I think my favourite thing about this book was that even though it was full of Black joy it didn’t shy away from showcasing some hardships and micro aggressions. I did wish that some of the negative experiences in the book lasted a bit longer or had bigger consequences but that’s something that I find pretty easy overlook.
I loved the different friendship dynamics in this book. We got to see different types of relationships, there were two versions of “second chance” friendships, friendships that fell somewhere between friends and best friends and friendships that were that didn’t seem possible (for the main character).
Speaking of friendship dynamics, I loved Liz’s friends. Each character was different and 3 dimensional, but I do wish the friends got a bit more “screen time”
The family dynamic. THE FAMILY DYNAMIC. The familial relationship between Liz, her brother and their grandparents was so believable and I don’t want to say cute but that’s the only word I can think of right now. It was so easy to fall in love with the Lighty family. I loved seeing the sibling relationship, the different ways Leah Johnson showed the siblings caring for each other. E.g. Robbie pushing Liz to run for prom queen and being her first supporter, then Liz willing to miss an important even in the race for prom queen because Robbie isn’t feeling well.
Robbie suffers from sickle-cell anemia and that is a pretty prominent fact in the book and I’m not sure how well the disease itself and it’s impact on Robbie was done as I do not have sickle-cell anemia. But as I mentioned before, it does a wonderful job at showcasing how much Liz cares for her brother.
Let’s talk about Liz for a second. I really loved Liz, as a character and I loved being I her head. Her voice was very real and easy to read. Another thing I enjoyed about reading Liz’s POV was being in her head while she is about to have an anxiety attack or feel an anxiety attack. The anxiety rep was so good (for me), I related to it so much. I was very similar to what experience and reading about her coping/calming mechanism was also very interesting.
The romance in this book was a f/f romance. And I loved it. Once again I cannot speak on the representation but it is a #ownvoices novel in almost every aspect of this novel so I imagine the rep is done well. Liz and Mack’s romance was so fun to watch and first their date and kiss gave me warm and fuzzies. Which doesn’t happen on a regular basis (outside of books, t.v shows and movies of course).
That’s All I Got, Danielle.