You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Liz Lighty is a quiet high school student with a dream. After losing her mom and watching her brother suffer from sickle cell anemia, she wants to become a doctor. She’s got her path all planned out until her financial aid for Pennington College falls through. Liz’s brother and friends swoop in with an idea to get her the money she needs without giving their grandparents financial stress. Liz Lighty must become prom queen.
Her town in Campbell, Indiana is obsessed with prom. Not only does the town take decorating and venue to the next level, they also provide scholarships to the king and queen. Folks running for king and queen are required to do community service work and be an all-round wholesome representative of the school and town. Liz finds herself up against plenty of other girls, including the funny and pretty new girl named Mack. With hearts in her eyes for Mack, can Liz stay focused on her goal?
You Should See Me In A Crown is the sweet and thoughtful book I wish I had when I was in high school. Liz Lighty is relatable and Johnson was able to capture the essence of being a teen today, avoiding the common mistake of packing the novel with “hip” slang. The characters are fairly diverse and the plot is pretty original. I was pleasantly surprised by the way Johnson handled Liz’s queerness without turning the book into a coming out story. This is a book with a Black girl who gets to feel joy, show ambition, find love, and grow in her relationships with friends and family without focusing on Black trauma.
I recommend this book to everyone. It’s uplifting while still being fairly realistic. The only thing I will say that I didn’t like was that the character with my name did not represent it well! I kept thinking, “nooooooooo! Why me?” Aside from that, I hope you enjoy it!