You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson was an utter delight of a read. This coming-of-age novel tackles issues of a young woman who is poor, black, awkward, and queer in a rural town. And despite the deck seemingly stacked against her, she still prevails with heart as she finds her inner courage. While on the surface, Liz’s goal is to win prom queen, and thus gain a much-needed scholarship, what she gains in herself goes beyond that. One of things I loved about this book is that she did not conquer her challenges solely on her own, but worked with her family and friends, with all the support and complications those relationships provide. And those around her are not perfect people. Some of her friends are shown with their own flaws and bias. And this book examines those bias, giving the characters a chance to wrestle with them and decide if they want to change and grow.
Here is the official Goodreads Synopsis:
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?