When I say this book was an utter joy to read, I mean that with every fibre of my being. From the smiles from first receiving a copy – huge thanks to Scholastic – to the swelling feeling of joy in my chest at Chapter 21, this book was a delight from start to finish. It made me cry in the bath – no book has made me do that. I usually just cry at sad books, so for me to shed tears of joy just shows how special this book is.
Liz has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine. She’s planned an escape route from her small town via an uber-elite college, but has no money to get there…until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. Liz fears the spotlight, but must face the gauntlet of social media trolls and catty competitors.
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?
Let me break down a little list of what I adored in this book:
- Liz and her growth in confidence
- Excellent anxiety representation
- A supportive group of friends
- Rekindling of old friendships
- Delightful sapphic romance
- Black joy
I want to talk about the last bullet point for a minute here, and why it’s so vital that people are reading books that are about Black joy. Black authors shouldn’t have to constantly write books about their pain for people to read their books. They should be able to write whatever they want, and to read a book so full of joy and happiness is something the world needs more of.
You Should See My In A Crown has got to be, without a doubt, one of my favourites of 2020. Alongside it being crammed full of amazing stuff, it also touches on other topics like grief, sickle cell, and also anxiety. I don’t think I’ve read a book that so accurately depicts anxiety – the chest pains, the overwhelming thoughts that you’re going to vomit, the restlessness and fidgeting. It’s all painfully accurate, but so necessary to be included in a book. It’s really good to see more anxiety rep in books, so that teens reading will be able to see that they’re not alone.
I adored the relationships that Liz had – with her brother and grandparents, with her group of friends, with her old friend Jordan and, finally, her blossoming relationship with Mack. Each one was written with so much care, such utter realness, and each interaction was so plausible for real life people – these characters burst from the pages so easily. I adored the relationship with Liz and Jordan, and the journey they went on through the book. I also found the friendship between Liz and Gabi to be really interesting, and know that friendships like that can definitely be relatable. No spoilers here, but the GROWTH in this book is amazing!
Okay, I wanted to talk about the romance in this book without just squealing about how lovely it was, which has proven rather tricky. But allow me to squeal for a second…
LIZ AND MACK ARE ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL AND I ADORE THEM AND WISH NOTHING BUT HAPPINESS FOR THEM BOTH AND THE LAST CHAPTER WAS ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL
I’ve struggled for about 15 minutes wondering what to write here about Liz and Mack without just saying their relationship is an utter delight. I think it’s so incredibly important for teens to read these positive stories of joy, where relationships between girls have happy endings and aren’t full of angst and pain. I would have been overjoyed to read this as a teenager, so I’m really happy that You Should See Me In A Crown exists for teenagers today. Plus, we need to talk about how absolutely iconic Mack is. Those outfits, her energy, and she skateboards too! True icon.
To sum up, You Should See Me In A Crown is a book full of Black, sapphic joy, and you need to read it immediately. It’s one of those perfect reads that’ll have you smiling all the way through to the very last page, and have you desperate for more. It deserves all the awards, all of the hype and I hope that everyone picks up a copy. My only questions…will there be a book two? And will there be a movie? Because I hope the answer to both of those is yes.
Final Thoughts: A joyous, beautiful experience from start to finish. 5/5