Today’s book blew me away!
The book Slay by Brittney Morris was fantastic and it has been getting a lot of good reviews…and rightfully so! Here are just a few:
By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the Black man.”
But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.”
Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?
I grew up playing video games and one of my best friends, who is a woman, is a game developer, so Slay intrigued me from the start. Especially having the main character a girl gamer! More please.
It was a wonderfully diverse book that takes the reader into the black community of gamers. Kiera is a strong heroine that any teen or reader could connect to. She’s intelligent and kind and doesn’t hold back when making a world for herself and her community to feel safe. She’s tired of living in a white world where no one understands so she creates Slay. She’s kept her identity a secret until one day it’s no longer because of a murder and Slay is out in the open and the world cries racism. Kiera fights for her game and the community. Which seems to emulate the real world ongoing struggles of people of color.
Morris did a wonderful job at bringing the reader into the gaming world. Her vivid detail and description made it feel as if the reader was right there alongside Kiera. The gaming scenes were adventurous and intense, like a movie. Morris also does a fantastic job at bringing difficult topics to the surface regarding race, especially with Kiera’s boyfriend Malcom. He wants her to be her and not switch to a different personality in front of her white friends. He wants the black culture to stay black. Morris brings great in-depth conversations between the two characters that helps the reader understand their world.
This book is an eye opener to those readers that don’t understand the hardship the African American community goes through as a young black teen…or any child or adult of color. It is a must read and knowledge is power so the more people read things outside their knowledge the more they can understand.
Should you read it? Yes, a wonderful book that takes a reader on a rollercoaster of emotions and feels as Kiera navigates through the harsh world to save her game and community.
About the Author:
Brittney Morris is the author of SLAY. She holds a BA in economics from Boston University because back then, she wanted to be a financial analyst. (She’s now thankful that didn’t happen). She spends her spare time reading, playing indie video games, and enjoying the rain from her house in Philadelphia. She lives with her husband Steven who would rather enjoy the rain from a campsite in the woods because he hasn’t played enough horror games.
Brittney is the founder and former president of the Boston University Creative Writing Club, and she’s a four-time NaNoWriMo winner.