Books, Reactions

You Should See Me In a Crown by Leah Johnson (Week 6, Ch 35-39)

Today, I will be analyzing and reacting to chapters 35-39 of You Should See Me in A Crown, a young adult romance by Leah Johnson. This is the first lesbian romance I have ever read, and I loved it.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

The beginning of Week 6, when the prom queen and king will be announced, has finally arrived! The snippet at the beginning of this section is “All the world’s a game; all the wannabe kings and queens merely players,” which is definitely a reference to Shakespeare’s “all the world’s a stage.” Life definitely feels like a game sometimes, and it often feels like those who are most popular or wealthy end out on top.

The first part of this section reassures us that Robbie is now stable, thank god. I really don’t want this book to be a tragedy. I am in the mood for light fluffy romance at the moment.

Granny has a heart-to-heart with Liz that ends with Liz crying. Her mom wanted, basically as her dying wish, that Robbie and Liz stay together and take care of each other. When someone makes a request upon their deathbed, it is really poignant and vital. Especially with a loved one, keeping that promise becomes a way of honoring the dead. There is a lot of pressure on Liz to take care of Robbie, and knowing that she will not be able to always look after him breaks her heart.

Granny found out about Liz running for prom queen by reading Robbie’s phone when it was not locked. Now, in general I like Granny, but I can’t condone this. Teenagers should at least have some privacy. She shouldn’t be looking through his phone without asking him. It annoys me when one of my parents reads my texts off the lock screen, but I would be far angrier if they looked through my phone while it was unlocked.

What I love about Granny is that she tells Liz that it is ok to rest, which was some advice that Liz seemed to sorely need.

The last week before prom has arrived. Liz laments that she has just a platonic relationship with Mack, but is mostly willing to accept it. But what follows is the most epic promposal of the whole book. Teela Conrad is playing acoustic guitar and singing a song Liz loves called “My Life, My Story.” Mack skateboards into the room, flips the skateboard up, and shows the message on the board that asks Liz to go to prom with her. It is so freaking adorable. I love it, especially since they have such wonderful chemistry.

In the next chapter, we find out Granny has altered Liz’s mother’s prom dress for Liz to wear, which is super sweet. I kind of wish I had something passed down like that, like a piece of jewelry. Not a dress because I don’t really wear dresses.

The dress is compared to a Winona Ryder outfit, and since I haven’t seen Stranger Things regrettably, I can’t really picture it.

Granny and Grandad meet Mack, and I really hope my parents react the same way when they meet my girlfriend for the first time. They are sweet, supportive, and just happy for Liz. They are excited to meet Mack and it’s cute.

Robbie is so happy for her he wipes away a tear. My siblings and I are as close as Robbie and Liz I believe. It’s so good to have siblings who truly care.

It’s interesting to live vicariously through Liz as she attends her first prom. The décor, the drama, the atmosphere…. I still don’t wish I had gone to prom, but maybe I understand the hype a little more.

Mr. K tells Liz that the college Pennington is willing to hear her audition again after seeing her newest musical arrangement. What a relief that must be, after initially being rejected. Second chances mean a lot for most people.

Emme comes back for the prom, which has Jordan ecstatic and relieved beyond belief. I was worried this book would wrap up without us ever hearing of Emme again, so this is a happy surprise. Emme thanks Liz for being there for Jordan. I feel like the fact that we don’t really get Emme’s story is very reminiscient of real life, because you don’t always get life’s loose ends tied up. Some things are private and people deserve to have secrets if they want to.

Then Rachel is an asshole to Emme for disappearing without warning or explanation. I really hate Rachel, but I guess that’s the point. Rachel thinks that Emme disappeared to rehab, which is a possibility but was never specifically confirmed. And so what if she did? Honestly, people these days.

All of Rachel’s sort-of friends are finally turning against her, shocked by her behavior. It’s about time. Principal Wilson gets her the heck out of there, doing the right thing for once in his life. The applause afterward definitely seems warranted.

I love that Liz and Jordan win prom queen and king. They are definitely the most deserving out of all the competitors, the best that Campbell County has to offer. When Jordan gives Mack his crown, and the two girls dance and kiss, it’s just the best possible ending. I am completely satisfied. Even though I usually don’t like kissing scenes, this one was a good one. They deserve all the best.

This is my last reaction post to You Should See Me in a Crown. Leave a comment with what I should read next!


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Books, Reactions

You Should See Me in A Crown by Leah Johnson (Week 5, Ch 30-34)

Today, I will be analyzing and reacting to chapters 30-34 of You Should See Me in A Crown, a young adult romance by Leah Johnson. This is the first lesbian romance I have ever read, and I greatly enjoyed it.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

Liz sees Mack in the parking lot outside the music shop and takes her break early to see her. I have hope that they will get things resolved between them. Mack looks tired, is wearing her hair differently and wearing glasses instead of contacts. Clearly the breakup was just as hard on Mack as it was on Liz.

Mack congratulates Liz for her success in the prom campaign lately, and honestly, based on the fact she believes Liz to be obsessed with winning, that’s kind of sad.

Liz is finally willing to admit she’s in it for the money, though. Wow, that sounds even worse. But it’s not, because she needs that scholarship for prom queen to make it to her dream college. Mack wishes she had known earlier. They do not get back together. But it’s a start.

They start texting each other again, which seems like a good sign. Because of that, Liz is glued to her phone screen like a stereotypical teenager. They went back to just friendship, but at least that’s something.

Then utter chaos is unleashed. A huge rainbow flag with the message that “Liz Lighty is Only the Queen of the Queers” is hung up in the Commons. And the break up scene between Mack and Liz is posted on Campbell Confidential. To be forcefully outed is dangerous and cruel, and I can’t help but be mad at whoever had the twisted mind to pull this off.

Liz and Mack are back in Principal Wilson’s office, and he is a homophobic pain-in-the-ass. He blames them for the hate crime for whatever reason and doesn’t even bother to ask if Liz is doing alright. Principal Wilson calls it a charade and wants to remove Liz from the prom race. This is so blatantly homophobic that it is puke-worthy.

Shockingly, Gabi comes to the rescue with the idea that the school will come under scrutiny for its homophobic policies. Madame Simoné is backup and makes threats and is angry that the girls have the potential to be punished for doing nothing. Principal Wilson caves. Thank goodness! I still don’t like parts of Gabi or Madame Simoné’s characters, but I am able to appreciate that they at least did the right thing here.

Gabi walks off without speaking to Liz afterward, but Liz reaches out. I both admire her for her ability to forgive and question her choice to reconnect with a toxic friend. Gabi admits she was wrong, or at least that Liz was right. So maybe they have a chance to rekindle their friendship but Gabi has a long way to go.

The next chapter it is Friday, the day they found out who is a part of prom court. Robbie says that Liz always takes care of everyone, and she realizes with shock he is still in his pajamas and not ready for school. Liz wants to stay home when she finds out Robbie is not doing well, but he insists she goes to school. I am starting to worry about Robbie, but I am hoping this book turns out to be a light fluffy romance without anything extremely bad happening to younger siblings.

The people who are not jerks at the school show their sympathy to Liz. Being publicly outed against your will is nasty though. I know my brother was outed to some people before he was officially out and it did not end well. I was lucky enough only to be out as asexual and biromantic when I chose to be.

Liz mentions the stereotype that all black people can dance really well, which I hadn’t realized was a thing people actually thought until I was in college. She can’t dance however, and seems bothered by the fact that people know the stereotype and expect her to be able to.

The lights go out suddenly right after the dance, and I’m expecting the worst. I internally panic when the power goes out when I am anywhere but home, and she is mostly worried some new humiliation will come to light. When the lights turn back on, tons of people are wearing shirts with Liz’s trademark crown on them.

I love this. It really is like a fairy tale, but one that is happening to an actually good person this time. Go Liz!

Right after this emotional high, Liz’s granny calls. Disaster has struck. Robbie is in the hospital. My eyes actually tear up a little at this part. In part, it’s because I like Robbie and I am sad that he is so young and dealing with something as serious as sickle cell disease. It’s also because things had just started going well for Liz and now her worst fears have suddenly seemed to come true.

Jordan drives Liz to the hospital without question. I really like him. He should really be Liz’s best friend, because Gabi really screwed up bigtime and ruined Jordan and Liz’s relationship on purpose in the past. I honestly maybe could have forgave Gabi but she would have been delegated to the role of acquaintance or distant friend. No more BFFs.

Robbie hasn’t been taking his meds, apparently. I get it. I don’t get cocky and choose not to take them, but I do sometimes forget some of my meds. I take them four different times a day, so it is easy to forget. And when I do forget, there is a cost. Not a cost as high as with Robbie, but still there are consequences. I forgot my fourth set of medicines for 5 days when I was sick, and after that I had a serious relapse in symptoms. It sucked. But Robbie has it much worse. At least I wasn’t hospitalized.

Robbie is hooked up to machines and getting a blood transfusion and what he is worried about is whether his sister is mad at him. Granny and Grandad leave temporarily to give Liz alone time with her brother.

Liz doesn’t know if she made court. She was too busy worrying about her little brother, which is super sweet. I can definitely say I would feel the same if one of my younger siblings was in the hospital.

Robbie calls Liz “Campbell’s FloJo,” and I have no idea what that reference is about because FloJo is an American sprinter. Not exactly sure where the comparison is.

Anyway, Liz made it onto prom court! She had just been ready to quit, but getting on prom court reminded her why she was doing it. And honestly, this prom race seems to have been good for her.

And you know what? That monster Rachel is not on the list! I’m kind of surprised since she is the main rival for Liz, but I am also very pleased she’s not even in the running for prom queen anymore.

“Just because it could be worse doesn’t mean you don’t get to acknowledge how much it sucks, you know.”


This quote hits home. I do this all the time. When I’m not doing well, I think of how other people have it worse and feel guilty for not being happy. It’s not a healthy mentality. I think it’s worse when people tell someone who is mourning or struggling that hey, it could be worse. That does not mean things are fine! That’s one of the worst things you can say to someone. It invalidates their struggles and their concerns.

Okay, rant over.

Liz is becoming very popular, and Rachel inadvertently caused it by her attack. People are rallying to her defense on Campbell Confidential.

Gabi and Liz make up. I can’t decide how I feel about that. Yes, things have been hard for Gabi too, but she’s been a real asshole. Honestly. Part of me thinks Liz would be better off moving on, and Gabi may have learned a valuable lesson from that. Since I am no longer a Christian, I do not necessarily believe you HAVE to forgive everyone no matter what they do. Sometimes it’s necessary to cut a toxic person off, and that’s ok.

Anyway, this is the end of the second to last analysis for this book. I’m going to miss doing this. Let me know what I should read next in the comments!


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Books, Reactions

You Should See Me in A Crown by Leah Johnson (Week 4, Ch 28-29)

Today, I will be analyzing and reacting to chapters 28-29 of You Should See Me in A Crown, a young adult romance by Leah Johnson. This is the first lesbian romance I have ever read, and I loved it.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

This chapter begins with “She who hesitates is lost” which is a change from the proverb “He who hesitates is lost.” In general, it means the opposite of “good things come to those who wait.” Hesitation here has a negative result, which likely means that Liz is going to be proactive in the next couple of chapters.

Everything has changed when Liz walks into school on Monday. I don’t blame her for feeling that way. After a break-up, patching things up with an old friend, and betrayal from her best friend, it’s no surprise she feels different.

We find out what Liz had planned that was supposed to shake up the prom campaign, and why she needed Jordan’s help to do it. Jordan had the key that allowed him to get into the school after it was closed for the night, and Britt had the artistic skills to pull off Liz’s plan. A giant painted castle with Liz’s signature crown, and the words “Fuck Your Fairy Tale” written across it.

Bold move. Bolder than I am used to so far from Liz, but I guess she didn’t have much to lose. I don’t think I would have the guts, since I rarely use such strong language–unless I am quoting someone else.

Liz wanted students to connect this to her, which is why she used the crown, but she was hoping the principal and Madame Simoné would not notice the connection. I don’t know what it is with teenagers and kids assuming adults are idiots. When I was a camp counselor, kids thought they could get away with stuff and acted like they thought adults were just plain stupid. It didn’t really work out for them.

I was born royalty. All I had to do was pick up my crown.”


I love this quote because Liz is finally figuring out who she is and where she fits in. She has the support of several good friends and the awe of the entire school is now directed toward her.

The principal and Madame Simoné are obviously upset, especially when the mural is paired with a post about the power structure at Campbell and how the same kind of people win prom queen and king every year. #effyourfairytale is trending on Campbell Confidential. Honestly, I can’t really say I blame them for being upset. Profanity in murals is not going to be received well in a high school, even if the message is reasonable and respectable.

Liz knows the prom rules like a lawyer, and there is not even fine print about using profanity in posters. They are allowed to hang it wherever they want. Jordan was permitted to use the key. Technically, they haven’t broken any rules. I think it would be fair to let them off with a warning and then change the prom rules to prevent profanity from appearing in prom advertising in the future.

Up until this point I liked Madame Simoné, but after her next words that changes. “Did you know you have the chance to be the first black queen in Campbell history?” That may be true, but it’s almost like she’s using it against her. It sounds racist–and Liz agrees. Follow our rules and you could be a credit to your race. Not good, Madame Simoné.

They get off with a warning, thank god, or that would have been a short prom campaign for Liz.

The next chapter contains a scene I never would have expected in a public school. Probably because I didn’t attend what cyber and homeschoolers tend to call a “brick-and-mortar school.” They do a drunk driving simulation with bloody prom clothes. They even block off the street and have firefighters come and pretend they are responding to the disaster. That sounds pretty dark to me. And hard to deal with, if you happen to know someone who was in a car crash.

It sounds like the sort of thing I would hate. Seeing a bunch of people covered in blood after a supposed wreck would be uncomfortable for me to say the least.

I would never get drunk and drive. Partially due to my meds, which prevent me from having alcohol safely, and also because I don’t particularly like alcohol. Partially since I don’t drive due to my hallucinations.

Liz puts about as much effort into makeup as I would, smearing some fake blood on and calling it a day. Quinn and Lucy don’t accept that though, and do her makeup for her. They do this even though Rachel would be furious if she knew. They don’t seem like bad people, despite being friends with Rachel. They apparently remember how Liz stood up to a bully who was bothering them when they were in elementary school.

I kind of hate how they turn a fake car wreck into a spectacle that seems more humorous then educational or cautionary.

I don’t know why Week 4 is only 2 chapters compared to the much longer other weeks, but I wanted to stick to the same format so here we are. Week 5 is upcoming so keep an eye out.


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You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson (Week 3, Ch 22-27)

Today, I will be analyzing and reacting to chapters 22-27 of You Should See Me in A Crown, a young adult romance by Leah Johnson. This is the first lesbian romance I have ever read, and I greatly enjoyed it.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

This section includes Week 3 of the prom campaign. The chapter starts with “Necessity is the mother of resistance.” I think that is interesting since the well-known saying is “Necessity is the mother of invention.” I wonder if the resistance is because Liz and Mack are a queer couple in the largely conservative Campbell County, or if because less popular girls like Liz rarely run for prom queen.

Rachel is trying to smooth over her misstep from hurting Liz in the powder-puff by passing out hot pink footballs with the words CONSENT IS SEXY on them. Um, this coming from the total jerk, racist Rachel doesn’t mean much. It is obviously just meant to grab attention. And why is it written on footballs, anyway? As far as I know, footballs have nothing to do with consent.

Rachel also replaced her giant poster in the Commons with one of her holding puppies. That’s laughable. Look, these puppies are cute, so vote for me!

Gabi wants Liz to be seen with Jordan more often, which is uncomfortable because of their complicated past but also because Liz has a girlfriend now so it’s weird to make everyone think she and Jordan have some sort of budding relationship.

Jordan has discovered that Liz is dating Mack and Liz freaks out and literally punches him. Well, my reaction to things that startle me is to punch too, so I guess I can’t judge.

Rachel warns Jordan not to hang out with Liz anymore, and he is understandably annoyed. Rachel has literally no redeeming qualities that are shown in this book so far, but some people in life do seem that way.

Liz admits that the whole prom is meant to evoke a fairy tale. The ones who become king and queen are supposed to be the best Campbell has to offer, but instead it is a popularity contest where the wealthy and well-established are given a massive leg up.

This kind of reminds me of something that happened at my college. One of my friends once entered a baking contest, and was frustrated to discover that the whole competition was basically a popularity contest. They were judged based on how much of the dessert they sold, but the competitors who were in a sorority had their entire sorority buy tons of it. I was pissed because my friend was great at baking and would have had a good chance of winning if it was not merely based on the size of one’s social circle.

Liz has an idea to win despite the skewed fairy tale, though. But because Leah Johnson wants to up the suspense, we don’t get to hear about it yet.

Mack wishes they could be alone more often since Liz cannot be out as lesbian in public–at least not without endangering her chance at prom queen. I came out recently and I know people can be weird or downright rude about it. And not everyone would be supportive for sure if Liz made it publicly known that she had a girlfriend. I have a girlfriend myself now, and many people I’ve told prefer to think she is just a normal friend, or try to avoid talking about the situation entirely. It feels like everyone is disappointed in me just for being myself and dating a girl. Most of them don’t even want to get to know her, and they don’t seem to care how happy she is making me. I can’t help but feel that the whole situation would be treated differently if I was dating a guy.

Soon they get another cute scene, this time in Mack’s car out of sight from prying eyes. They ask each other questions and hold hands and kiss. Mack always makes sure there is consent and she is not just forcing unwanted contact on Liz, and I have to admit that Rachel was right about one thing–consent is sexy.

Liz makes her move and invites Mack to go to prom with her. I never went to prom and never wanted to, honestly. But it’s cute, really cute.

Gabi makes it even more clear that she wants it to look like Liz and Jordan are dating–she even tells Liz to rekindle the crush Jordan felt toward her. I don’t even have to tell you how wrong that is. Liz is dating someone else. Jordan and Liz are friends at best. Jordan has an estranged girlfriend he is hoping will come back. Gabi’s whole idea reeks of attention-seeking behavior.

I don’t like Gabi. I really don’t. And her next actions make it worse, when she demands what Mack’s intentions are with Liz and is incredibly rude. She doesn’t apologize, and Liz uses their past friendship as an excuse not to judge Gabi.

Liz goes to Mack’s house to apologize for not telling her friends about their relationship, and Mack’s dad is enthusiastic when meeting her. I wish my dad would be that enthusiastic if I brought over my girlfriend. They make up and Mack says she dropped out of the prom campaign because she got what she came for. Liz. Omg that’s cute.

And then Liz doesn’t tell her about the scholarship or anything and why she must stay in the race, and I am like…this is foreboding. I see, the miscommunication/lack of communication trope.

The next night she attends Jordan’s party. Jordan opens the door and is apparently shirtless. Personally, I don’t really understand attractiveness and why abs are “sexy”, but Liz says he is really attractive and I guess I’ll take her word for it.

Liz enjoys her newfound popularity despite her anxieties, but is distracted when she sees Mack talking to another girl. Even though Mack is pretending not to be Liz’s girlfriend, it still bothers Liz. She voices her annoyance and things go south quickly. From a reader’s point of view, Liz is definitely in the wrong. She told Mack not to interact much with her, then gets mad when Mack doesn’t interact with her at a party. Liz gets jealous of Mack for talking to Kam, while Liz is talking to Jordan, the guy everyone at Campbell seems to ship her with.

Then Liz screws up big time. She admits that if they were seen together as girlfriends, she’d have no chance at winning prom queen. Crap. That looks really bad Liz, especially since you didn’t tell her about the scholarship. It just seems like you value your popularity over your relationships with people.

Liz starts to have a panic attack after Mack flat-out says she knows who Liz is now and is no longer interested in her. When Jordan checks on her, she pukes on his hoodie. This would be social suicide at Campbell if anyone else saw, but it seems like no one else is anywhere near. And then she literally passes out.

When she wakes up, she’s in clean clothes and in Jordan’s bedroom. I think I would panic if I was brought to a guy’s room while unconscious and woke up in different clothes. Yikes. Not the best of situations. Maybe that’s because most of my guy friends I either haven’t known very long or aren’t very close with.

Jordan takes Liz to a Steak ‘n Shake. I think it is safe to say that he is coming closer to the good friend zone after their long separation. Liz explains what happened with Mack and asks about Emme, Jordan’s missing girlfriend. He says that her secrets aren’t his to tell. And that makes me really, really appreciate him. When I had a boyfriend, he promised not to tell anyone about my schizophrenia without my permission. Then he told his mother about it without asking. I wasn’t mad, but I certainly trusted him a whole lot less after that. I’m more open about my mental illness now, but back then I had been trying to hide it from all but close friends and immediate family. Jordan knows when it is none of his business to share secrets, even with a close childhood friend.

Liz says she will miss Jordan when he goes back to his people and she goes back to hers after prom. He says it doesn’t have to be that way and mentions that she never responded to his apology letter.

His letter.

Liz didn’t get his letter, because Gabi, who gave off bad vibes from almost the very beginning, never passed it on to her. To make matters worse, Gabi started a hashtag calling Liz “Replacement Emme” and making Jordan and Liz’s relationship seem romantic. If it were me, this would have been the point of no return for Gabi. I may have forgiven her, but I never would have trusted her again, and she would have been relegated to the same status as a casual acquaintance. No more best friend privileges for her. She’s like a surprise villain. We thought Rachel was the main antagonist, but Gabi broke a childhood friendship, mistreated Liz’s partner, and tried to force Jordan and Liz into a relationship to increase Liz’s popularity.

Liz confronts Gabi and puts her in her place pretty well. She has learned to say enough is enough. And that’s good. If only she hadn’t screwed up so abysmally with Mack, things would have better and maybe she could have gotten over her best friend’s betrayal and moved on. Not forgiven her right away, because Gabi needs to give Liz some space, but if Mack was still around Liz maybe could’ve let Gabi go without as much heartbreak. Poor Liz.

This section was a rollercoaster of emotions, of elation and heartbreak and pain. It is well-written, showing how Liz dug her own grave and so did Gabi. Looking forward to analyzing the rest of the book.


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