Title: You Should See Me in a Crown
Author: Leah Johnson
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Review Copy: Library
Availability: Available now
Summary: 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? [Image and summary via Goodreads]
Review: The cover of You Should See Me in a Crown really captures the spirit of the book: it’s joyful, triumphant, and just plain delightful. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not really a prom person — in high school, I skipped prom in favor of watching an action movie with my friends the next day. But I love a good YA prom story, and this is definitely one of them.
The premise is one that I was immediately on board with: Liz Lighty enters her school’s prom competition so she can win the scholarship and afford college, but along the way, she falls for one of her competitors, Mack. It’s just such a great set-up for a queer-as-hell romance, and I loved every minute of it.
Of course, the course of true love never did run smooth, or however the saying goes. Stepping into the spotlight for the prom competition means letting Campus Confidential, the school’s ubiquitous gossip/news/social media app, into her life. And for Liz, that’s the opposite of what she wants — not to mention her vicious, rich white girl competition. Winning won’t be easy, but Liz is determined.
If you’re looking for your next cute romance or swoonworthy prom story, you’ll want to read You Should See Me in a Crown. It’s all that, and so much more. You Should See Me in a Crown is definitely one of the highlights of the 2020 book year, and you won’t want to miss this one.
Recommendation: Buy it now!