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By Leah Johnson
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Liz Lighty is your valedictorian, good, poster girl (or so it seems), who always does the right thing, is never the center of attention, and is counting down the days till she can leave Campbell, Indiana. See Campbell has a different idea of what their “poster girl” should look like, involving a bit more blonde hair, blue eyed, wealthy, beauty queen. Definitely not the full natural fro, grunge style, poor, queer, Liz Lighty. Liz has always had to work twice as hard as her peers to get to where she is and music has always been her solace. That’s why she is counting down the days till she can go to Pennington College, where all her music career dreams can come true, where she can finally find where she belongs in this world. Going to Pennington rests on her nailing her audition for a scholarship, but when this falls through Liz must find another way to get to Pennington. Campbell is known for its prom season, the entire town lives for it, girls grow up with dreams of being queen. The last thing Liz Lighty wants is to enter the contest for prom queen, requiring all eyes of Campbell high to scrutinize your every move. But, Liz has no choice, the queen receives a very large sum of scholarship money for being the “best of Campbell high school.” Everyone knows this contest is just a matter of popularity and for those who have been bred to become queen. Liz knows it’s going to take a miracle for her to win. Not only will she have to be the center of everyone’s attention, make every single volunteer activity, and work with her worst enemies, but she will also have to completely change Campbell’s racist, homophobic, elitist fairy tale world. Just to make matters even more complicated, enter the most gorgeous girl with green eyes that Liz has ever seen. How in the world is she going to pull this all off? “We work hard, harder than the people around us, and we make it work. We succeed in spite of, or maybe even because of, the odds against us. That’s just the Lighty Way.” A fun read for those who have enjoyed books such as Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Dumplin by Julie Murphy, Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu, and Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson. For a great list of newer LGBTQ+ YA books, check out this list on Buzzfeed.
More NEW realistic fiction books September 2020 to try: