cover image You Should See Me in a Crown

You Should See Me in a Crown

Leah Johnson. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-338-50326-5

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)