You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson
Published by: Scholastic Press
Pub Date: June 2, 2020
Format: hardcover | Source: purchased
Genres: young adult, contemporary, romance, LGBTQ+
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?
(CW: parent death (off-page), chronic illness, *highlight for SPOILER* forced outing)
I loved this from the opening chapter. It was SO CUTE! And super funny while still sounding like current teens. Jordan Jennings is a king among men, I adooored his friendship with Liz. Multifacted and rare to see on-page. Liz was an easy character to root for- her ambitions, her love of her family and friends, grappling with her anxiety and sense of self. I love her and I honestly loved everything about this book; it was emotional but also really adorable. Her and Mack were *heart eyes*. The concert!! This was quintessentially high school with a little more Black Girl Magic and LGBT inclusion. Even the mean girls had depth, as did the best friends (Gabi, at least). The book felt super real with a shiny veneer of “high school movie”. Lots of all those fun coincidences and tropes you always want. If you love YA contemporary, this is your new favorite book. I hope Netflix makes a movie!!
(art by @layahimalaya– full-length version at the link!)
Have you read You Should See Me In A Crown? What are some of your favorite YA contemps? And do you love fanart as much as I do?! Let me know!