Don't discredit it as just another YA romance meet-cute: this book has the ability to start conversations and help people feel seen no matter their age.
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson, Scholastic Press
I recently read You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson. I had first heard of this book on Twitter last summer and then it ended up being the first YA pick for Reese's Book Club. I snagged a copy and it sat on my shelf for months before I picked it up and then I read it all within a few days. I read little to no YA fiction with queer protagonists when I was in high school and I have spent the years since I came out making up for lost time.
Johnson wraps nostalgia, heartbreak, adventure, and laughter all into one as we follow the main character's unlikely journey in the race to win prom queen and the coveted scholarship the spot offers. You Should See Me in a Crown provides a humorous glimpse into a small Indiana town that is absolutely prom-obsessed.
This book expertly engages the reader in conversations about race, queerness, social status, and more as we see main character, Liz, conquer each hurdle toward the coveted crown. This is a book about confronting your fears, recognizing the pressure we put on ourselves, and letting it go. I went from laughing to clutching my heart with every page and can sincerely say this is a novel in which I saw myself.
Johnson beautifully portrayed Liz's arc of coming into her own and confronting her identity as it interacts with her classmates, close friendships, and close-minded small town. This book is full of heart and it is everything I would have needed at 17 and everything I didn't know I needed at 25. Don't discredit it as just another YA romance meet-cute: this book has the ability to start conversations and help people feel seen no matter their age.