Liz has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed town. But Liz has an escape plan to attend an uber-elite 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 college. 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?
This is one of those books I just knew I was going to adore. I heard about this book earlier in the year and picked it up pretty much as soon as it came out. A couple of my friends have read it and loved it too, so I was reassured that this one would be for me!
And I wasn’t wrong – I ended up adoring this book. I listened to it half on audiobook and half read the physical version depending on what I was doing. I’ve never actually read an audiobook before but I loved the experience and narrator, and it was a great thing to have on while I was driving!
I never needed this race, or a hashtag, or the king to be a queen.
This book was so full of emotion. It made me actually laugh out loud in places and almost cry in others. I loved Liz as a main character and so many elements of the story made me feel for her in various ways. There is a big focus on friendship groups and family, which I loved. Liz lives with her grandparents and her little brother, and I adored the scenes that included them. Their relationships were portrayed beautifully.
The friendships were so well portrayed too. I felt up and down about Liz’s main friendship group and the high school drama in general, but by the end of the book I made peace with any annoyances I’d had and I felt like the issues between friends had been handled well. I also loved the friendship between Liz and Jordan because, yes to platonic male/female friendships! The relationship was also so lovely and I really enjoyed reading about it but it not being the main plot worked well.
The discussions of race and lgbtqia+ issues were also so brilliantly written. It introduced and handled these complicated social issues so well and was so readable (that feels like the wrong word, but I can’t find the one I’m looking for!), especially for an audience of young people who may be only just learning of these issues.
I was born royalty. All I had to do was pick up my crown.
Overall, this book was fun and entertaining but also tackled important issues and made me so emotional. It was diverse and beautiful and I really loved it!
4.5 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽