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?
About the Author
Kelly McWilliams is a mixed-race writer. Agnes at the End of the World was a finalist for the Golden Kite Award, and Mirror Girls is a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection and Target Book Club Pick. She’s written for Time, Bustle, and Publishers Weekly among other outlets. She lives in Seattle with her family.
"McWilliams’ portrayal of grief is well written and appropriately nuanced; readers will feel angry and sad and will cheer for Harriet all at the same time. The book’s confrontation of the romanticization of plantations and present-day medical neglect of the Black community is not only important, but necessary. An emotional exploration of the continued impact America’s racist history has on contemporary society." —Kirkus
"A moving story about sisterhood and perseverance in the face of a society that tells Black girls they are worthless."—Booklist
"McWilliams stuns with this well-told, honest story that peels apart the legacy of slavery to examine the undeniable connection from past horrors and trauma to present oppression and violence, in obvious and less obvious forms."—BCCB, starred review
"McWilliams pens a touching story about grief, compassion for one’s ancestors, and one teen’s pursuit of justice in this thoughtfully rendered telling, which interrogates the romanticization of Black pain and the pros and cons of social media activism."—Publishers Weekly
"McWilliams is an expert at character building, and Harriet is a wonderful and welcome addition to YA."—Buzzfeed News