Let me not be the one who steals all the fun though, please go check out the other amazing bloggers who are not only writing amazing reviews, but also giving some dope creative content to showcase just how the book made them feel the feels. Check them out:
A very special thank you to Hear Our Voices Blog Tours, Leah Johnson and Scholastic Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my open and honest review. Believe me, as with all B+S Book Reviews, there will be no BS here.
Release Date: June 2, 2020
Publisher: Scholastic Press
“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?”
The perfect cover doesn’t exiiiii….
Yeah, you thought so, until you laid those peepers on the cover of You Should See Me…
This cover comes fully loaded with: A gorgeous black girl wearing the brightest smile on this side of the Mississippi, thick, curly hair that’s big and marvelous and worn like a lion’s mane, and a Basquiat crown to top her royal-ness off.
If this cover doesn’t make you want to grab this book immediately to see what it has to say about this beautiful goddess, then you’ve obviously never seen it before because, I mean…
Everything about the synopsis connects with a lot of black teens (and former teens) in America: growing up in a predominately white area/neighborhood, being one of the only black kids in a school, and feeling like there’s a big target on your back that reminds you everyday that you’re different.
When I read the synopsis, I knew this would be a book that I related to in more ways than one. My memories aren’t as prom-oriented, but the message and experiences are still there.
I absolutely adored this book! I really, really did. First of all, I hardly ever read YA Contemporary books because I’m always nose-deep in some fantasy, but You Should See Me In A Crown has completely redefined my outlook on this genre, and it left me thirsty for more.
The different dynamics between the friends are so on point, it’s like Leah literally took a slice out of some teen’s life and made a book out of it.
You have your nerdy friend, and your band geek friend, and your super-holistic, woke friend, and your bougie friend. They’re all so unique and different from one another, yet so important to the genetic make-up of the friendship. They challenge each other, yet remain extremely loyal. They understand what’s being said without a word being exchanged. They’re that core group of friends that you always remember when you look back at your high-school days and reminisce about a time when things were much more simple.
With that being said, the reality of being black and having virtually all white friends is also displayed in the book, and I loved that this viewpoint was expressed because there is a lot to be said and to learn when you are a part of friendship with those demographics. Leah Johnson wrote these interactions and thoughts perfectly into the story, and it was something I didn’t realize I needed to see more in a storyline.
The Student Body
The entire setting of the school and its students was so well written, it could easily be adapted into a movie/TV series. I literally felt like I was back in high-school. In the cafeteria, or the theatre, or the chorus room, hanging out with my friends and watching the pupil politics unfurl.
The snobbiness of the richest, most popular kids, and the desperateness of the geeks are right on point to exactly what I remember my high-school experience to be like. I could easily see where I would fit in if I was attending Campbell High, and I could easily see who I would definitely have a run in (or two) with as well.
It was actually pretty awesome to put my mind back in those days, and laugh at the ridiculousness of that age.
The Big Crush
My favorite part of this book was Lizzie and Mack. Ugh! I just loved their entire cute blossoming relationship. Anyone who’s anyone can remember that “big one”. The crush that trumps all crushes. That crush that makes your heart speed up and slow down at the same time. Who makes all normal words disappear from your train of thought, leaving you with nothing but mumbling nothings to throw at them when they speak to you. That crush that makes the everyday bearable, and when they’re not there, you’re left at a lost.
Yeah… that was Lizzie and Mack. They made me smile so much, and remember all those times I had with my “Mack”. Lizzie’s and Mack’s chemistry was crazy from the start, and watching them made me a little nostalgic for that teenage lovey feeling. It’s honestly unmatched.
My Only Gripe…
I’m not a really big pop-reference girl, and this book had more than a few. I mean, I get it, when you’re dealing with a bunch of teens, you have to say things that are relatable for them to get it. Let’s just say that this point was driven into the book many times.
That being said… even though there were plenty of those references being thrown around, they weren’t forced. The references were organically placed in the storyline. I can appreciate that.
I would say that this book was a winner in my B+S Book Review Archives.
You Should See Me In A Crown was the perfect teenage-love story, wrapped up in a coming of age and coming out story. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better book to expose me to the YA Contemporary genre. I was left feeling happy that I got to relive my high-school experience again, even if it wasn’t exactly the same.
Leah Johnson (she/her) is an editor, educator, and author of books for young adults. Leah is a 2021 Lambda Literary Emerging Writers Fellow whose work has been published in BuzzFeed, Teen Vogue, Refinery29, and Autostraddle among others. Her bestselling debut YA novel, You Should See Me in a Crown was the inaugural Reese’s Book Club YA pick, and was named one of Cosmo‘s 15 Best Young Adult Books of 2020. Her sophomore novel, Rise to the Sun is forthcoming from Scholastic in 2021.