I am so excited to get a chance to be a part of this book tour hosted by Hear Our Voices Book Tours . Make sure you check out the rest of the posts that are a part of this tour by looking at the schedule for the tour found here.
Leah Johnson (she/her) is an editor, educator, and author of books for young adults. Leah is a 2021 Lambda Literary Emerging Writers Fellow whose work has been published in BuzzFeed, Teen Vogue, Refinery29, and Autostraddle among others. Her bestselling debut YA novel, You Should See Me in a Crown was the inaugural Reese’s Book Club YA pick, and was named one of Cosmo‘s 15 Best Young Adult Books of 2020. Her sophomore novel, Rise to the Sun is forthcoming from Scholastic in 2021.
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Release Date: June 2, 2020
Genre: Y/A Fiction
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?
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Thoughts and Themes: I read this book leading up to the election and finished it on election night instead of staying posted on those results because sometimes you just need some joy in your life. This book was such a cute, joyful story full of love and friendship. I really enjoyed how this story took me back to my high school day and a few years after as well. It let me look back on those moments as joyful moments rather than as something I no longer have. Books that make me look back on those moments of my life fondly will always get a special place in my heart because looking back on those moments usually hurts.
There were so many moments that I was laughing because of something that someone said or did. I also loved how I could be in the moments that Liz was in, I could feel the way that she was feeling through every word in this story.
Characters: I really loved all of the characters that are included throughout this whole story. How could you not root for Liz through this whole book. I loved the depiction of her anxiety throughout this book and the physical manifestations that you saw because I was able to see my anxiety on the page. There are so many times that I see anxiety presented in media but never with these physical manifestations so it was nice to see this and be able to feel like my response to anxiety wasn’t so strange.
I really liked watching Liz as she developed her relationship with Mack, re-establish a relationship with Jordon, and determine what type of friendship her and Gabi have. I really liked what each of these characters added to this story and how they each played a keep role in Liz’s character development.
I also really liked seeing Liz’s relationship with her family because that was another piece that was important to who she is. Everything that Liz does was done with her family in mind and I loved watching as the dynamic switched and they want to care for her. I liked seeing how this story points out how care goes two ways, you can’t just care about others without allowing them to care about you.
Writing Style: The story is told through the perspective of Liz and you get to see everything through her eyes. I liked not having the other’s perspectives included especially when something did not go according to plan.