Book Review: You Should See Me In A Crown {Leah Johnson}

I started reading Leah Johnson’s You Should See Me In A Crown while on our most recent trip to Michigan (you can read about our previous trips HERE and HERE). Having heard GREAT things about this book, I was excited to read and review it!

One of the best mornings of our trip was when we had a lazy morning. My husband drove to pick up our favorite breakfast and I slowly sipped coffee, read my book, and cuddled my kids in bed while we waited for him to return. Absolute vacation relaxation perfection.

Village Baker breakfast was ON POINT.

Take me baaaaaaaaack.

Goodreads Synopsis of You Should See Me In A Crown {Leah Johnson}:

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?

My Review of You Should See Me In A Crown {Leah Johnson}:

Reading in front of the electric fireplace in our cottage. Heaven.

So…I loved this book. I did. There’s not much NOT to love. Liz is such a lovable, wonderful character with a heartbreaking family history. Her journey to live life as her true self is filled with determination, drive, and so much more. I laughed, I cried, I smiled, I loved it. I truly did. BUT…

What I DIDN’T love were all of the overly cliched high school personas. The jock? Check. The mean girl? Check. Plus so many more. While I DO agree that every high school has these types of people, their cliched personas aren’t quite as drawn as this book tells. It was even mentioned IN THE BOOK that when drawing these lines, that the lines aren’t so straight….and yet….so many cliches throughout this entire book completely disputed that statement.

I also wasn’t a big fan of the MULTIPLE hugely dramatic VERY public scenes where Liz found herself smack in the center. One scene like this? Awesome. Two? Ok fine. But SO MANY? Unrealistic.

I love YA books but I don’t love when authors make high schools sound like absolute battlegrounds. And yes, I understand to many that is exactly how high school feels…but…it would be so nice to read a YA book where high school is portrayed in a positive light. I’m VERY fortunate that I absolutely loved my high school experience! I can’t help but feel sad when authors make high schools sound like war zones with everyone out to get everyone else all the time.

And I’ll just say it. I didn’t like the ending.


The actual story told was AWESOME. I loved it! It was deep and beautiful and tragic and heartwarming and happy and sad and wonderful.

So….that’s quite the mixed review, huh???

Bottom Line

Would I recommend this book? ALL DAY LONG. It’s a wonderful story filled with love, acceptance, and being true to your authentic self. However, as much as I loved the story…this clearly wasn’t a totally perfect read for me.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: You Should See Me In A Crown {Leah Johnson}

  1. A lovable character with a heartbreaking family history … already you have my attention.

    A book I’ve seen featured on many blogs now and they all seem to agree that this is one great read. So pleased you enjoyed it curled up in bed on vacation.


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