You Should See Me in a Crown

You Should See Me in a Crown cover
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

by Leah Johnson

Scholastic Press, 2020
336 pages

Age 12 and older

Running for prom queen is way outside high school senior Liz Lighty’s comfort zone, but she’s motivated by the $10,000 scholarship for the winner, since she didn’t get the music scholarship she was counting on for college. The Prom Court competition is a huge, drawn out affair in their small town, with weeks of challenges in which candidates vie for points and popularity. Liz is one of a small number of Black students at her small-town Indiana high school and out only to her closest friends. One of them throws herself into managing Liz’s campaign, seeking to transform quiet, intentionally under-the-radar Liz into a serious contender. New student Mack (Amanda McCarthy) is also running. Mack, a legacy (her mother was prom queen) and Liz are soon falling for each other, and it’s both exciting and complicated: Mack doesn’t care about winning but doesn’t want a closeted relationship, and Liz is convinced a lesbian has no chance of being prom queen. A novel offering both humor and substance combines romance with friendship tension and family worries, including Liz’s brother illness: Robbie has sickle cell anemia, the same disease that killed their mom. This thoughtful and entertaining story also examines the high school’s failure to support LGBTQ students, and Liz’s love of music. Above all, it celebrates her growing confidence in asserting all aspects of her identity, for love, yes, but first and foremost for herself.  ©2020 Cooperative Children’s Book Center