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 SimonĂ© 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 SimonĂ©’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.”

Jordan

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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