You should see me in a crown

Leah Johnson

Book - 2020

Liz Lighty has always done her best to avoid the spotlight in her small, wealthy, and prom-obsessed midwestern high school, after all, her family is black and rather poor, especially since her mother died; instead she has concentrated on her grades and her musical ability in the hopes that it will win her a scholarship to elite Pennington College and their famous orchestra where she plans to study medicine--but when that scholarship falls through she is forced to turn to her school's schola...rship for prom king and queen, which plunges her into the gauntlet of social media which she hates and leads her to discoveries about her own identity and the value of true friendships.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Scholastic Press 2020.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
324 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781338503265
133850326X
9780702304323
0702304328
Main Author
Leah Johnson (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

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 clichés 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. Grades 7-12. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

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. (June) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

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.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A Black, underprivileged misfit from a wealthy, prom-obsessed midwestern community carefully plans to attend a prestigious medical college before the unexpected loss of her financial aid forces her to compete for her school’s prom-queen scholarship. A first novel. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Liz Lighty has always done her best to avoid the spotlight in her small, wealthy, and prom-obsessed midwestern high school, after all, her family is black and rather poor, especially since her mother died; instead she has concentrated on her grades and her musical ability in the hopes that it will win her a scholarship to elite Pennington College and their famous orchestra where she plans to study medicine--but when that scholarship falls through she is forced to turn to her school's scholarship for promking and queen, which plunges her into the gauntlet of social media which she hates and leads her to discoveries about her own identity and the value of true friendships.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A TIME Magazine Best YA Book of All TimeA Stonewall Honor BookA Reese's Book Club YA PickLiz 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?