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You Should See Me in a Crown
Cover of You Should See Me in a Crown
You Should See Me in a Crown
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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,...
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,...
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  • 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?
 

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  • Kirkus

    April 15, 2020
    A wallflower runs for prom queen. After being snubbed by her best friend, Jordan, in favor of his new football friends on the first day of high school, Liz Lighty felt acute shame about being herself and all the things that made her different: her height, being black and queer, and not having enough money. She began wearing her hair pulled back, chose less colorful clothing, and did her best to blend in so no one would notice her. But now, as a senior, Liz has to put herself in the spotlight to secure her future. Because despite doing everything right--excellent grades, solid extracurriculars, and playing first-chair clarinet--she doesn't win a much-needed scholarship at her dream school. When her brother convinces her that running for prom queen--with its $10,000 scholarship prize--is the answer, she enters the competition. The race for the crown gets complicated when Liz falls for one of the other competitors, Jordan tries to rekindle their friendship, and a friend urges her to change everything about herself in order to win. While the hullabaloo around prom seems far-fetched, the lead-up to the dance is pitch-perfect rom-com. Johnson does an excellent job of portraying the anxiety and internalized self-hatred from being different in a mostly white, affluent small town. Liz and Jordan are black; supporting characters appear white by default. The queer prom romance you didn't know you needed. (Fiction. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2020

    Gr 9 Up-Grabbing readers from the outset is the cover photo of a bronzed and radiant Liz Lighty, wearing a hand-drawn crown on her mass of natural curls, complete with a supermodel-style gap between her front teeth. And the story only gains momentum from there. Hair is not the only big thing in Liz's life. She has plans to study premed at Pennington College, but when she fails to get the partial music scholarship, she thinks all chances are gone. Her only hope for funding her education is the town's biggest event of the year, the prom, which comes with its own scholarships. In fact, the prom in Campbell County, IN, is "like football in Texas." As a music geek, Liz is out of her league in this world of dresses, makeup, posters with her face plastered everywhere, and the school's paparazzi. With help from her friends and a few tricks up her sleeve, Liz learns to play the game, including hiding her budding queer romance, sheltering her grandparents from her money woes, and stepping into the spotlight. Johnson's pacing is perfect as the story unwinds at dizzying speed, while attacking some tropes and celebrating others. Occasionally, life has fairy-tale endings. VERDICT Readers will fall in love with this refreshing book that celebrates the beauty of individuality.-Cicely Lewis, Meadowcreek High School, Norcross, GA

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 11, 2020
    Debut author Johnson easily channels the self-effacing coolness of 1990s teen comedies with a 2020 sensibility in this heartfelt and laugh-out-loud funny YA rom-com. Indiana high school senior Liz Lighty has two goals: attend prestigious Pennington College like her late mother, and become a doctor to study the disease that ended her mother’s life. When the music scholarship she’s counting on falls through, Liz’s brother persuades her to do the unthinkable as one of the only black girls at wealthy, majority-white, and sometimes racist Campbell County High—run for prom queen and win the $10,000 scholarship that accompanies the prom-obsessed town’s crown. An offbeat new girl’s arrival throws Liz’s carefully drawn plans for victory out the window: talented drummer Mack McCarthy is beautiful, and she’s running for prom queen as a legacy. With wit and grounded optimism, Liz answers the book’s burning fundamental question: can a poor, black, queer girl be prom queen? In Johnson’s emotionally resonant storytelling, the pragmatic, hopeful, awkward Liz Lighty comes alive, complete with fear, regrets, hopes, and dreams. So too do her cheer squad of devoted friends and the impressively drawn setting of Campbell High School. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sarah Landis, Sterling Lord Literistic.

  • Booklist

    May 1, 2020
    Grades 7-12 It's senior year and Liz Lighty is headed for her late mother's alma mater, Pennington University. At the top of her small-town Indiana class, Liz has the grades, the extracurriculars, and even the acceptance letter she needs to make her dreams a reality?never mind that she exists on the outskirts of her school's social hierarchy. But when the final piece of her puzzle, a scholarship from the university band, falls through, Liz knows she'll have to do whatever it takes to get to college, even if that means running for prom queen. With the help of friends and family, Liz finds herself fighting for more than a plastic tiara?she fights to be herself. Though elements of high-school clich�s are present, Johnson puts a fresh spin on this novel with an unlikely romance, heartwarming friendships, and the tension of being Black, poor, and queer in a small town. Readers will revel in the growth of the entire cast, as their high-school years come to an exciting and wildly unanticipated close. A feel-good title for sure.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

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