Review of Your Plantation Prom Is Not Okay

Your Plantation Prom Is Not Okay Your Plantation Prom Is Not Okay
by Kelly McWilliams
High School    Little, Brown    320 pp.
5/23    9780316449939    $18.99
e-book ed.  9780316450133    $10.99

Seventeen-year-old Harriet Douglass and her father live on modern-day Westwood Plantation, a Louisiana sugar plantation where enslaved Africans once lived, which is now one of the few plantation museums run by Black people. Since her mother’s death from cancer, Harriet runs tours with her historian father that keep the legacy of those who were captive on the land alive. But when new owners take over the plantation next door, Harriet is appalled to find out that they plan to turn it into a wedding venue. Even worse, her high school decides to host the prom there as well. Harriet campaigns via social media against the erasure and commodifying of the enslaved. Though burdened with grief over her mother’s death and righteous anger for the people whose memories she keeps alive through the museum, Harriet is a full, well-rounded character and an often amusing narrator. Themes of community, grief, mental health, activism, allyship, and racism are explored in the pursuit of reconciling and healing a difficult history.

From the July/August 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Monique Harris

Monique Harris is a public educator, reading specialist and independent educational consultant. She holds a Master of Science degree in Education from Simmons University, and is enrolled in a PhD program at Florida State University.

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