336 pages | Scholastic Press| Contemporary | 06/2/2020
17-year-old Liz Lighty is an unconventional candidate for Campbell County, Indiana’s prom queen–but she needs the scholarship money that comes with the crown if she wants to attend her dream college next fall. Lucky for Liz, she has a dream team of friends ready to help her rock the competition.
I think it’s fair to say this book is the YA contemporary darling of 2020. It’s a romantic, vibrant, hearfelt coming of age story starring a queer Black teen. Liz finds herself in a romance with an equally unconventional prom queen candidate.
I was a little nervous the high-stakes prom concept wouldn’t hold but Johsnson has created this borderline satire of a prom-obsessed town that validates the stakes.The story is moved along by Liz participating in reality-show like tasks while being filmed and discussed on a local social media app.
Audiobook narrator Alaska Jackson really takes on Liz’s scrappiness with her youthful and slightly raspy voice. I did this as a hybrid read and there are some visual interstitials involving a local social app that aren’t in the audiobook but I don’t think it takes away from the story. I’ve listened to so many amazing young Black audiobook narrators this year and I hope they get to do multiple books.
This is also a great YA for preteens and younger teens bridging the gap from middle grade . The characters are in their late teens but there isn’t a lot of talk about sex and only has a few PG-13 style well placed f-bombs.
2020 has been a great year for contemporary YA, can’t wait to check out Johnson’s next. It takes place at a music festival and I’ve always thought this would make a fun romance !
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.