by Ashley Dickson-Ellison (@teachingtheapocalypse)
I've been looking forward to reading Leah Johnson's You Should See Me in a Crown (Amazon | Bookshop.org) since it first released. In this young adult lit novel, we meet Liz Lighty, a remarkable teenager who is navigating her way through high school with big plans to study music in college. As the story opens, Liz learns that she has not received a scholarship to the college of her choice, which will make it impossible for her to go there. She's an outstanding student and a passionate musician, but she has spent her high school career avoiding the spotlight.
But as the reality that she must find a way to earn a lot of money becomes clear in her mind, she makes a decision to run for Prom Queen, a title that comes with a $10,000 check in the small town where she lives. The prom hoopla and all of the accompanying attention is counter to everything Liz typically enjoys, but she finds her way through it as she remains determined not to close the door to her dreams for the future.
Liz runs into some major hurdles along the way, and she both experiences and inflicts some pain as she navigates friendships and young love along her journey to win the scholarship. She also learns a lot about herself and who she truly is rather than who she perceived herself to be as she makes her way through her senior year.
"Loyalty between lifelong friends is complicated and runs deep. More deeply, even, than I think you realize, until just how different you and your friends have become is practically unavoidable."
This book tackles so many important issues from chronic illness and living with anxiety to small town stereotypes and closed-minded thinking, and yet Johnson leaves the reader feeling happy and hopeful all along the way, celebrating just how beautiful and amazing Liz's character truly is. I loved this one and would highly recommend it!
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