Friday, 19 May 2023

Blog tour: Your Plantation Prom is not Okay by Kelly McWilliams

This sharp-witted, timely novel explores cancel culture, anger, and grief, and challenges the romanticization of America’s racist past with humor and heart—for readers of Dear Martin by Nic Stone and Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson.

Harriet Douglass lives with her historian father on an old plantation in Louisiana, which they’ve transformed into one of the South’s few enslaved people’s museums. Together, while grieving the recent loss of Harriet’s mother, they run tours that help keep the memory of the past alive.

Harriet’s world is turned upside down by the arrival of mother and daughter Claudia and Layla Hartwell—who plan to turn the property next door into a wedding venue, and host the offensively antebellum-themed wedding of two Hollywood stars.

Harriet’s fully prepared to hate Layla Hartwell, but it seems that Layla might not be so bad after all—unlike many people, this California influencer is actually interested in Harriet’s point of view. Harriet’s sure she can change the hearts of Layla and her mother, but she underestimates the scale of the challenge…and when her school announces that prom will be held on the plantation, Harriet’s just about had it with this whole racist timeline! Overwhelmed by grief and anger, it’s fair to say she snaps.

Can Harriet use the power of social media to cancel the celebrity wedding and the plantation prom? Will she accept that she’s falling in love with her childhood best friend, who’s unexpectedly returned after years away? Can she deal with the frustrating reality that Americans seem to live in two completely different countries? And through it all, can she and Layla build a bridge between them?

Content Warning: racism, mentions of slavery, grief from death of a loved one

Ooof, this one is a tough read! Very worthwhile and I'll be pushing it on as many people as I possibly can, but tough to get through.

I'm not American, so I don't have any personal history with the specific type of slavery suffered over there. In some ways that made this an easier read; I've no hereditary guilt or anger, so I was able to process the story more clearly. I can see how this would be very tough otherwise!

Harriet is amazing and I only wish I felt as passionately about anything as she does about her museum. I love her friend group at school, too, and how they continued to worry and care and try to help her even in the face of her anger and apathy. Found family is wonderful, and she found one she didn't even know she had.

A difficult read, but a really worthwhile one, and one that I hope as many people as possible will read. I'd love to see this in schools and book clubs.

Book Info:

Your Plantation Prom is Not Okay by Kelly McWilliams

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Publishing Date: May 2, 2023

Book Links:

About the Author:

Kelly is the mixed-race author of AGNES AT THE END OF THE WORLD (2020), MIRROR GIRLS (2022), and YOUR PLANTATION PROM IS NOT OKAY (2023). AGNES was a finalist for the Golden Kite Award. She’s also written for Time, Publisher’s Weekly, and Bustle, among other outlets. She lives in Seattle with her family.

Find her here:

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