You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson
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?
This was exactly the book I needed to read right now. It was sweet and fun, but it also had social issues that are so important. I’m a small town Midwesterner and I understand how there isn’t a lot of diversity. At all. I’m a white woman, married to a man, so I can’t completely understand how things are for the lgbtqia+ community or people of color. I have watched friends struggle through it. I needed a book that was happy. Where good things happen to good people and this was it.
Liz is a black girl living in small town Indiana. She has a small group of friends and dreams to go to Pennington. But she needs a scholarship to go and she doesn’t get it. Campbell County is obsessed with prom and offers a scholarship to the queen and king. Liz keeps her head down. She’s in band is and not popular. But she decides to give it a shot. It’s the only way she can pay for school. Prom is a huge thing and everyone trying to get on court has to do community service, bake sales, and more. Liz gets some help from her well meaning friends, but she’s still really low in the rankings. And now all she can think about is Mack (Amanda) that is new at school. Liz and Amanda go on a date, but Liz won’t come out at school. She’s super stressed and always worried about her brother, Robbie, who has sickle cell anemia. It’s what their mom had and she died from it. They live with their grandparents. Liz doesn’t tell them about prom because she doesn’t want them to stress or sell their house to pay for school. She’s always thinking about other people. Sadly, not all the kids at school are nice. Rachel, a super popular mean girl, is determined to become queen. Liz used to be best friends with Jordan, but that stopped when he got too cool for her. Everything’s a bit of a mess and Liz suffers from severe anxiety. She’s over worked and never gets enough rest. But she also never gives up, no matter how hard it is. It’s the Lighty Way.
I gave this book 5 stars.
Warnings for homophobia, anxiety, bullying, death of a parent, terminal illness.
Have you read this yet? Is it on your TBR?