Your Plantation Prom Is Not Okay

Little, Brown. May 2023. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316449939.
Gr 8 Up–A white soap opera star purchases a Louisiana planation with plans to turn it into an event venue, spurring a neighboring Black teen out of her grief shell and into righteous indignation and action. Harriet Douglass is heading into senior year and reeling from her mother’s death from cancer. She lives with her depressed father, a historian, and busies herself working at her family’s museum, which honors and centers the narratives of the enslaved. Though she’s been working on grounding techniques and coping skills through talk therapy to help with her complex PTSD, Harriet’s anger and sadness overwhelm her, sometimes giving her amnesiac events fueled by what she thinks of as her “rage monster.” The plantation next door becoming a place to hold weddings and proms (where guests can enjoy the romanticized “antebellum aesthetic”) is the last straw. Harriet teams up with Layla, an influencer and neighboring soap star Claudia’s rather fickle daughter, for sabotage through social media activism. Layla and Harriet, with the allyship of classmates and childhood-friend-turned-maybe-boyfriend, Dawn, hope to get Claudia and her plantation canceled. As she works with her community, Harriet realizes she’s not nearly as alone as she has felt. Though secondary characters are not nearly as richly developed as the impassioned Harriet, this is a well-written, insightful, and emotional look at healing, stewardship, action, shame, and traumatic grief.
VERDICT A powerful, unflinching look at the hard truths of the legacy of slavery, mental health issues, and the connection between medical neglect and racism.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing