This is the book my soul never knew it needed.
In an attempt to be more active during quarantine, I downloaded several books via Audible, figuring I would walk and get through some of my TBR pile. Two birds, one stone.
I never expected to be excited to exercise, because that was when I allowed myself to listen to this book. I anticipated the evenings where I could escape onto the sidewalk, and into the world Johnson created, and fall in love with her honest, quirky, perfectly queer Liz Lighty.
Before I gush any further, here is the blurb (courtesy of GOODREADS):
Liz Lighty has always believed she's too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it's okay -- Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington 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 Pennington.
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 has the perfect combination of coming of age and stepping out of the margins, with a slice of humor that had me snorting in public. Liz has drive, determination, and is so honestly awkward in all the ways that some YA novels seem to forget. She doesn't lose sight of her goals when love interest Mac comes into the picture, nor does she let circumstance and road blocks stop her. She is exactly the MC you want to see in YA: unapologetically her.
If you are looking for a book to pull to the top of your TBR pile as summer winds down, this is that book.