Book Review: You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson

Book: You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson

Published June 2020 by Scholastic Press|336 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

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?

I really liked You Should See Me In A Crown!  It’s really cute and Liz is really, really cool.

Liz is such a great character.  I can relate to not wanting to be in the spotlight, but I also admire her determination to get the scholarship so she can go to Pennington.  Even if it means going through the public events and dealing absolutely terrible competitors.  She has a really good group of friends, though she has some issues with one of friends throughout the book.  It wasn’t surprising but also understandable, and I get why her friend acted the way she did.  It doesn’t make it okay, of course, but I get why she acted the way she did.

I really liked her family too.  I really do love when grandparents show up, and I’m glad they were there for Liz and her brother.  Especially after losing her mom years earlier.  She’s really lucky to have them, and they seem great.

I also liked her relationship with Mack.  I don’t completely get why she wasn’t upfront about the scholarship with Mack.  And of course, Liz not sharing that and not being open about them dating leads to some issues between them.  It all works out in the end, but I’m still frustrated and angry that Liz had to keep her relationship with Mack hidden because it goes against the rules for going for not just prom court but also prom queen.

I’m angry that, if she were straight, it would totally cool for her to go to prom with, say, Jordan, but going with her girlfriend isn’t.  It’s not surprising that some places aren’t okay with anyone who’s not straight, and clearly, Liz lives in one of those areas.  But it’s also sad she has to hide a part of herself just so she can go for a scholarship that will help her go to the college of her dreams.  Still, it all works out for Liz, and I’m glad it does.

4 stars.  I’m really glad I finally read this book, and I definitely recommend it!

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