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.

BUT…

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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Book Review: If I Was Your Girl {Meredith Russo}

My cousin texted me asking if I had yet read If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo because she LOVED it (side note…follow my cousin on Instagram HERE! She’s beautiful and wonderful and awesome). After reading the book synopsis, I immediately went to put it on hold at my library and was pleasantly surprised that they had a copy in stock! Perfect.

Goodreads Synopsis of If I Was Your Girl {Meredith Russo}:

Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret, and she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.

But when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant, Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she realizes just how much she is losing by guarding her heart. She finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself, including her past. But Amanda’s terrified that once she tells him the truth, he won’t be able to see past it.

Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that at her old school, she used to be Andrew. Will the truth cost Amanda her new life, and her new love?

My Review of If I Was Your Girl {Meredith Russo}:

I absolutely love the plot idea of this YA book. Such an important topic and as I’ve mentioned before, I’m automatically a fan of ANY book which brings awareness to important topics.

(Throwback to the beautiful weather when I was reading this book a few weeks ago. Today it’s cold, raining, and I had the heat running in my car.)

However, as much as I loved the IDEA of this book, I didn’t love it’s execution…

This story goes back and forth between the present and the past which I normally love but this time it just made the story feel so disjointed. I understand that it wasn’t supposed to follow a sequential order but it was a bit too “bouncy” for me. Present day to 11 years ago to 3 years ago to 5 years ago, etc.

I also wish there was more character development. Other than Grant, I felt that each character was given such a small amount of any kind of development and as a result I kept interchanging them as I was reading (especially Amanda’s friends).

Without giving away spoilers, I will say that there was one MAJOR story line that I completely disagreed with throughout the entire book which clouded my thoughts on just about everything else…??

Random positive side note: This is one of the only books where I actually appreciated having the photo of a real person on the cover! I usually HATE when books have that as my imagination NEVER matches the photo on the front. This time, however, I appreciated having the beautiful picture on the cover as it gave me reference as to how Amanda looked. I think this gorgeous model was the perfect representation. I also appreciated how she was given a shout out in the author’s note at the end!

Bottom Line:

Loved the story, loved the beautiful cover, didn’t love the writing.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link. When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

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