Review of Harvest House

Harvest House Harvest House
by Cynthia Leitich Smith
High School    Candlewick    320 pp.
4/23    9781536218602    $19.99
e-book ed.  9781536227284    $19.99

Theater kid Hughie Wolfe, one of the few Indigenous students at his high school, is disappointed when the fall play is cancelled. He sets his sights on a new project: a haunted house fundraiser at the rural crossroads, a location plagued by rumors of an Indigenous ghost. Hughie is excited to volunteer until he learns that the organizer wants to feature Indigenous stereotypes, including an “Indian Maiden” and an “Indian burial ground” as the main attractions. To make matters worse, there are reports of a creepy figure terrorizing brown girls at the crossroads, scaring them as they walk to their vehicles at night. As Hughie considers how to speak up about bigotry against Indigenous people, he and his friends investigate the stalker and discover that some rumors are based in truth. The story (set in the same universe as the realistic Rain Is Not My Indian Name and Hearts Unbroken, rev. 11/18) adeptly centers important conversations about the racism Indigenous youth face; the plight of missing Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people; and the lack of police, media, and governmental support in searching for them. This eerie cross-genre novel will entice readers in search of spooky and truthful storytelling.

Pubissue-From the May/June 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

S. R. Toliver

S. R. Toliver is an assistant professor of literacy and secondary humanities at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her public and academic scholarship can be found on her website Follow her on Twitter @SR_Toliver.

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