In "American Heart," a young adult novel by Laura Moriarty, the United States government is rounding up Muslims and relocating them to internment camps in Nevada.

Fifteen-year-old Sarah Mary, a white girl from Missouri, meets an Iranian immigrant named Sadaf and – in a deliberate nod to "Huckleberry Finn" – travels north with the woman in an attempt to help her escape to Canada.


But when advance copies of Moriarty's novel began circulating last year, much of the chatter on social media and in online reviews was brutal.

"(Expletive) your white savior narratives," wrote one reviewer on GoodReads.com, referencing a literary motif in which a white character rescues people of color from their plight.

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