You Should See Me in a Crown (Book Review)

Hey y’all! It seems like everyone’s been talking about this book and for good reason. My library had over a month long waitlist for the audiobook and I’m really happy I stuck it out. I listened to this through the CloudLibrary app, as I do for most audiobooks.

Trigger warnings: death of a parent, microaggressions, forced outing, panic attacks

StoryGraph Synopsis

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? 

The Good

The anxiety rep is just *chefs kiss, Liz and I even have the same twitch. The descriptions of panic attacks were really accurate. As someone who’s been battling with anxiety since middle school, I could really relate to those aspects of the story. It was really nice to see that in YA.

The plot was so good! That’s what initially drew me in but the execution of it was absolutely wonderful. I’ve read a lot of books recently where the idea is great but the execution isn’t. You Should See Me in a Crown doesn’t have that problem.

There was a nice balance of conflict. Sometimes it can be difficult to get a good balance going between the characters living their lived and the conflicts that arise in response. This story does an excellent job of maintaining that balance.

I didn’t want to put this down. I found myself using every free minute I had to listen to the audiobook. It was just so good.

The character’s were so nuanced. Yes, I do love the word nuanced but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. These characters all had distinct personalities but they weren’t really set into one box. They all had reasons for their actions. Even the supporting characters had more to them than what they first seemed.

The character development was just beautiful. If you’ve read my post where I psychoanalyze my book tastes, you already know how much I love character development. It’s an extremely important element of the story for me and this one did it wonderfully. We get to follow Liz as she starts to become the person she wants to be, the person she secretly knows herself to be, and it’s wonderful.

Other things I loved in this story: platonic friendships, the family dynamics, the romance, mention of KEY Club (I was president in high school so every time I see it come up in books I get really happy)

Representation: LGBTQ+, interracial relationship, anxiety, chronic illness (sickle cell anemia)

The Not So Good

I’m really high off emotions right now and can’t think of anything…

I came back a couple weeks later and I still can’t think of anything to put here. I absolutely loved You Should See Me in a Crown.

All in All

You Should See Me in a Crown is a great story with nuance and amazing representation. I feel like even if you can’t relate to every element of Liz, you’re going to find at least one part you relate to. I personally related to the anxiety rep so much. This was just an overall wonderfully written novel.

5/5 Stars

Have you read You Should See Me in a Crown?

Do you have a favorite sapphic romance?

What are you currently reading?

Let me know in the comments below, let’s chat!


Author: Rachelle Saint Louis

Rachelle Saint Louis is a Haitian-American writer, born and raised in South Florida. She received a 2018 Silver Medal in the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition for her poem “Red Blood Cell.” She is currently a Psychology and English double major at Florida Atlantic University. Her poetry has been published in Rigorous Magazine. Rachelle has been writing poetry since the 7th grade and you can often find her performing Spoken Word at local open mics.

11 thoughts on “You Should See Me in a Crown (Book Review)”

    1. I really want to read Hood Feminism but I’m just not in the right mental state for it right now. It definitely helps to mix in those lighter reads, which is why I’m focusing on those for right now. Make sure to take a break from the hard stuff if it gets too heavy


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