You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
English | 2020 | Children/Young Adult | ePUB | 11.1 MB
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?
“G, that is so far from relevant,” I start, linking my arm through hers as we all head toward our next classes. “It’s not like any of us are next in line for the throne.”
“I’d say we’re a lot closer than some people,” Gabi says, voice laced with faux sadness. “Closer than Freddy, at least.”
I’ve been good, careful, not to ever have any cafeteria mishaps, but other people haven’t been so lucky. Last week, Freddy Brinkley tripped over his own shoelaces (rookie mistake, you always double-knot before you start the trek into the battle zone) on his way to his seat and face-planted into a plate of spasagna, Campbell County’s lasagna-spaghetti hybrid dish.
At least thirty people captured it on Campbell Confidential, and it’s been remixed, remastered, and retooled so many times and in so many ways that I don’t think poor Freddy is ever going to get past #SpasagnaGate.
Freddy got cocky, thought he could make The Walk without the proper precautions, and he paid the ultimate price: a public meme-ification. You hate to see it.
Britt and Stone leave us at the band room to head to their next class. Band passes quickly, too quickly for my taste. Between my anxiety about waiting for the scholarship email, which I know is supposed to come today, and the general buzzing energy of prom season kicking everything into overdrive, I’m not ready for class to be over when it is.
Gabi gathers her things quickly once the final bell rings, not taking nearly the same care as I do to tuck her clarinet back into the soft velvet of the hard case. She’s going to miss her favorite Campbell Confidential livestream—the Prom Projectioners, a group of girls who make predictions every Monday afternoon about who does and doesn’t stand a chance at making prom court—if she doesn’t leave right now.
The rest of our classmates are pouring out the side doors into the parking lot, but I’m staying behind like I do most afternoons. There’s always something more to get done before going home.
“I still can’t believe that Emme went ghost like that.” She pulls her sleek black sunglasses from her bag and adjusts them over her eyes. She pauses for a second. “You think Jordan is okay?”
Emme Chandler: Jordan’s girlfriend of three years, the sweetest person alive, and mysteriously disappeared shoo-in for prom queen. We weren’t friends with her—we were barely in the same area code, socially—but since she’s practically Campbell County royalty, it’s hard not to wonder where she went.
But the question still catches me off guard. Back when the three of us were friends, G and Jordan fought constantly. I wonder if a part of her cares about him still, even if she doesn’t want to, the same way that I do.
Jordan, G, and I were closer than close in middle school. For years, the three of us did everything together. We all met in band in sixth grade, when me and Jordan were battling (auditioning, technically) for first-chair clarinet. And whenever he landed first chair, his smile smug and shining with his braces, he’d say, “Don’t be embarrassed, Lighty. A first is nothing without a good second!”