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You Should See Me in a Crown

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You Should See Me in a Crown

By Leah Johnson
Narrated by Alaska Jackson / 7 hours 18 minutes

Becky Albertalli meets Jenny Han in a smart, hilarious, black girl magic, own-voices rom-com by a staggeringly talented new writer.

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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“You know when a book is like the ideal friend? You Should See Me in a Crown is that kind of book. Juicy, sharp, romantic, big-hearted, real. I loved it.”

Anna Godbersen, author of the New York Times bestselling Luxe series

“Filled with humor, heart, and swoon-worthy romance.”

Kristina Forest, author of I Wanna Be Where You Are

“With characters I adore and a romance that brought tears to my eyes, You Should See Me in a Crown absolutely stole my heart.”

Kacen Callender, author of This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story and Felix Ever After

About the Author

Leah Johnson is a bestselling writer, editor and eternal Midwesterner, currently moonlighting as a New Yorker. She is a graduate of the fiction writing MFA program at Sarah Lawrence College and currently teaches in their undergraduate writing program. Leah is a 2021 Lambda Literary Emerging Writers Fellow whose work has been published in BuzzFeed, Autostraddle, Catapult, and Electric Literature among others. Her bestselling debut YA novel, You Should See Me in a Crown was an Indies Introduce and Junior Library Guild selection. Her sophomore novel, Rise to the Sun is forthcoming from Scholastic in 2021. Visit her at byleahjohnson.com.


“[A] smart, delightful, and inspiring debut.”


“We're already counting down until we see the movie adaptation of this YA novel.”

E! News

“[A] rare treasure.”


“Debut author Johnson easily channels the self-effacing coolness of 1990s teen comedies with a 2020 sensibility in this heartfelt and laugh-out-loud funny YA rom-com…With wit and grounded optimism, Liz answers the book’s burning fundamental question: can a poor, black, queer girl be prom queen? In Johnson’s emotionally resonant storytelling, the pragmatic, hopeful, awkward Liz Lighty comes alive, complete with fear, regrets, hopes, and dreams. So too do her cheer squad of devoted friends and the impressively drawn setting of Campbell High School.”

Publishers Weekly, starred review

“…pitch-perfect rom-com. Johnson does an excellent job of portraying the anxiety and internalized self-hatred from being different in a mostly white, affluent small town…The queer prom romance you didn’t know you needed.”

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“[A] quietly radical novel about a queer black prom queen in small-town Indiana… You Should See Me in a Crown shows queer black girls that they deserve joy. It is honest about systems that need to be dismantled but shows how magic can still happen despite. I read You Should See Me in a Crown and remembered what it was like to grow up in a mostly-white town. I rejoiced in the fact that there’s a love story here, and at the end, the black girl wins.”

Electric Literature

You Should See Me in a Crown is the perfect own voices romance read.”

Related Reading

Check out our author interview with Leah Johnson on the Libro.fm blog!

Leah Johnson's Website

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