You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

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This book… this book!! Join me through a journey of bullets points, AAVE, and general gushing as I share with you the marvel with that is Leah Johnson’s debut novel: You Should See Me In A Crown.

• “I’m clutching my lunch tray with both hands, hoping that Beyoncé grants me the strength to make it to my usual lunch table without any incidents.”
Is that not the single greatest opening line you read?

• Black main character (pockets!! of confetti for representation). Black “weirdo” as the main character. Black weirdo who is also a band geek as the main character. Black weirdo who is also a band geek and suffers from anxiety (pockets!!) as the main character. Black weirdo who is also a band geek and suffers from anxiety and is Queer (pockets!!) as the main character. Black weirdo who is also a band geek and suffers from anxiety and is Queer with dreams of bettering the world as the main character.
This paragraph alone hit so many notes for me, another black weirdo with anxiety who loves music. Liz states in the first few pages that shes always felt like “too” much: too black, too poor, too weird, too queer, too caring….I felt that in my soul.

• Amanda “Mack” comes in H O T her very first day at Campbell High. She tells off the reigning Queen Witch of the West by informing her that, contrary to popular belief, affirmative action is more beneficial to “white women like herself”.
It was such a sick burn, a great entrance for a new character, and generally felt good.

• Britt is the type of friend you want in your corner! She’s got a level head and is honestly that b*tch. Plus, she considers putting sugar in someone’s gas tank or cutting their brakes “nothing drastic”.

• Despite her shortcomings, Gabi is a good friend too. She never backs down from a challenge and (usually) can be reigned in when she’s gone off the deep end. She’s a pitbull with a bone when it comes to an idea she has: it don’t stop until its done.

• There’s an Avatar: The Last Airbender reference on page 73. ‘Nuff said.
(ps, I’m definitely Katara. I wanna be a Toph, but we all know I’m a Katara.)

• My new favorite insult comes from a character called Lucas. He is engaged in a heated argument with another guy (a baseball player, actually) via food fight and refers to him as “sentient bellybutton crust”. I just —

• Aside from having some pretty decent burns in this book, there are two lines that stuck out to me so hard that cry just thinking about them. The first is the excerpt text: “I was born royalty. All I had to do was pick up my crown.” That line….it shook something in me. There are days that I feel less than, that I forget that I am a Queen (as are all of you, my royal siblings!). No one gives us permission to be amazing; we just are.
The second line that stuck with me is the final line in the book: “…here, always, we deserve this good thing.” Always. You, me, they, he, she, we, always deserve every good thing, no questions asked.

Though this book features a black, queer MC, I feel like there’s something here for everyone. A few issues arise that force Liz to decide if she’s okay with the way she’s being treated by her friends, teachers, and other people. Peer pressure. Bullying. Caring for your family. Homophobia. Finding your voice and then shouting it out until your throat burns. Finding love. Rekindling old relationships and making new ones.

You Should See Me In a Crown is set for release on June 2nd from Scholastic Press, a division of Scholastic Publishing. This is Ms. Johnson’s first novel. You can find her on the web @byleahjohnson. Thank you so much to Ms. Leah Johnson (and her publisher, Scholastic) for sending me this ARC, free of charge, to read and review. All opinions are my own and are honest. Me receiving a free copy of this book in no way impacts my thoughts.

Published by stacialovestoread

I’m a firsttime blogger and a lifelong reader. Join my journey here, and on my bookstagram @stacialovestoread!

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