This book was seriously exactly what I needed. Reading diversely is important, and reading more than just trauma porn when you read diversely is even more important imo. And this book is exactly that. You Should See Me in a Crown is a YA book with a Black lesbian MC and it’s not traumatic or painful, it’s a typical YA. And truly the book was a joy to read.
Liz Lighty is such a relatable character as the girl who doesn’t want to stick out too much – with anxiety when people stare too much at her, and with second-hand embarrassment at the prom-posals that are basically everywhere in her high school right now. I was basically reading them cringing right along with her. But added on top of that is the complexities of being Black in a small town where no one else is. She knows she sticks out, even though no one exactly points it out.
I adored how the author handles the nuances of female friendships, and really all the shades of gray that girls and women exist in. Liz and her BFF have some major issues – as does she and her ex-BFF, but instead of leaving it clear cut the author allows Liz to have some forgiveness there. And maybe I’ve read too many YA *and* adult romance that don’t handle this well but wow did it feel refreshing. She even manages to pull off some maneuvering with the mean girls that I was like okay, YES, thank you!
And then there is the romance…which phew, was so sweet and made me actually think fondly of high school for once. Mack doesn’t understand why Liz doesn’t want to be out in this small town, and she can’t understand what it feels like to be Black, but what got me is that she tries so hard to understand both. And she gets that she will never truly understand the latter. It left me in tears at one point. Not because of anything overly sad, but because it truly made me so emotional to see Liz getting the HFN she deserved. This romance is seriously sweet and funny and truly delightful. I hope everyone I know reads this because of the fluff. Everyone needs the fluff.