BOOK REVIEW: YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN BY LEAH JOHNSON

Liz has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed town. But Liz has an escape plan to attend an uber-elite 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 college. 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?

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CROWN has definitely been one of my most anticipated books of 2020 and oh my goodness, it did not in any single way disappoint. It was the most cute and light-hearted read, which also delivered on important topics that could be quite heavy. In this coming-of-age novel, Liz Lighty is completely taken out of her comfort zone to explore and realise that taking risks and getting yourself out there isn’t all that bad and even better, it gave her the opportunity to shine as a Black girl, around many privileged students. Sure, she may be less privileged than the others and her dreams are going to be harder to fight for because of who she is, but that doesn’t mean she should ever be neglected of the chance. 

I was so obsessed with Liz and Mack’s blossom friendship/relationship – it was every type of cutesy, adorable, awkwardness a teen romance should be. Not only that, but every relationship woven in to this story were beautifully wrote about; from the close one she has with her younger brother and her Grandparents who have practically raised the two as their own, due to heartbreaking circumstances. I have to also quickly talk about an old friend of Lizzie’s, Jordan, because he had me wrapped around his little finger! He is literally the best friend I wish I could have in a guy – he was always there for Liz (past experiences not counted), he hyped her up when most needed, he had her back through everything and I can’t tell who was a bigger shipper of Liz and Mack… me or him!

The female support all round (minus one) was extremely inspiring and heart-warming. It’s definitely what we need more of, because girls and women of all ages still have a tendency to tear each other down and I think it’s time we get past that in the real world and within books. Whilst Leah uses classic YA tropes, she also put her own unique twist on them, especially when it came to the hierarchy of school popularity. Speaking of, when it came to Liz going ahead with becoming Prom Queen, majority of the other participants were part of the ‘popular clique’ and the Prom rules were just all kinds of SO WRONG. I know the story-line of a lesser known girl coming in to break school expectations and beating the Populars is a little over done but I LOVE IT. Especially for Liz, as a black, queer teenager, she has to work 10x harder than the other students to get what she wants and deserves, so it was extremely empowering to see her dismiss all of the school’s previous Prom expectations and make her own. 

Shelby x

 

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