- Brittney Morris
- Debut, Stand Alone
- YA Contemporary
- Heritage/Background: Black (read black, black, bliggity black)
- IG: @brittneymmorris, www.authorbrittneymorris.com, www.slaythebook.com
- Release date: 9/24/2019
- Publisher: Simon Pulse
- Favorite character: Steph-she is no-nonsense, ride or die, knowledge dropping and isn’t here for anyone’s [hotep] antics…basically black girl magic!
- Favorite quote: For me, the dedication is EVERYTHING! “For everyone who has ever had to minimize who you are to be palatable to those who aren’t like you.” Dear GAWD, I wish I had someone to say this to me as a teen!
First of all, *claps* first *claps* of *claps* ALLLLLLLL… There are not enough words to describe how much I LOVED this book! Like, it was was EVERY.DAMN.THING! Hands Down, one of my top 5 reads of the year! From the moment I saw the cover, I knew I had to read it! Not only is there a nerdy Black Girl with natural hair on the cover (#NerdyBlackGirlsRock, #GlassesTribeForever) but the title and color scheme drew me in. I want to say that SLAY was mentioned to me but it doesn’t even matter now because I read it and it Rocked my Entire being! It was happenstance that I got a copy of this ARC as I missed them at bookcon but went to a book meet up and SLAY was one that was up for grabs. When I saw it, I instantly went for it and I only had eyes for SLAY. Everyone let me be great and take it home (thanks for that Book babes!).
Kiera is dope As F*ck, though she hid some of that dopeness from those around her. Being the creator so something so big internationally is like peak Black Girl Magic but hiding such as accomplishment from loved ones has been a trend amongst Black Women for centuries (though this is coming to an end). When Kiera spoke about having a space JUST for US, I felt that in my Spirit! Kiera (Brittney through her) put to words how so many people of color feel. The need to have a space for us, to express ourselves, to feel free and not fear having these expressions & feelings taken from us. She was seriously preaching throughout this book but Brittney hooked me with that!
Kiera/Brittney also spoke about the varying expressions of Blackness…from the shades of our skin (oh how I love the different hues of our skin), mannerisms, cultures, languages, fashion but our commonality IS OUR BLACKNESS! Another thing she touched on is when you are one of few or the only black person/POC in a space and being asked to speak on behalf of an entire race… I’m pretty sure that I screamed out “THAT’S NOT HOW THIS WORKS!” (I’ve been in this position, I hated it.) We already know/see when we are one of few or are the only POC present (which can be uncomfortable AF) but being asked to speak for ALL ANDDDDDD not even say what you want to…*Falls Out*!
Kiera has some amazing people in her life from her sister to her co game programmer and even people who play the game! Another brilliant thing about this book is how Brittney depicted what different support systems can look like as well as what Blackness could look like. I loved how there were multiple perspectives in the book which added even more to the experience of the book. I’m not a gamer but I could understand, wholeheartedly, how this cast felt throughout. There are also some not so great or rather annoying people in Kiera’s world as well. At times, I hated how she handled them but it shed light on how much we, as black people (I’m black too, in case you haven’t guessed), have to step back & not say what we want or need to out of fear of retribution or judgement (I’m ready for those days to end). Part of why I loved Kiera’s sister, Steph, is because she was not afraid to keep it real…we need more Stephs in the world (and they are emerging).
Not only does this book beautifully depict the levels and layers of blackness but it also drops so much knowledge. Deadass (I’m so New York), my geek side screamed out “YESSSS” so many times throughout this read both internally and externally, it wasn’t even funny! I loved the history gems, talks of historical Black figures and cultures as well as places that black people live/exist that one may not think. I was here for ALLLLLL of IT! I also loved the mention of things so many of us experience though the game cards such as Boo-Boo The Fool (we know who he ain’t), having MacDonald’s money (boy, if that didn’t bring up childhood discussions), Black Love (I think it is magnificent and beautiful) as well as AAVE (African American Vernacular English) & the arguments around it’s usage/validity (it’s totally valid, whether used or not by a black person) AND the need to Code-Switch!
Honestly, I can talk all day about this book and how important it is! It knocked me on my ass and picked me back up again before knocking me down again (in a good way)! Seriously, Brittney wrote a brilliant book that really paid homage to blackness and it’s many forms/textures. You need to pre-order SLAY or get it the day that it comes out! It is seriously amazing, well written and speaks to what so many black people encounter in this world. SLAY preached in a way that you want to hear/read! Get this book for everyone you know so you will have someone or a group of people to talk to about it. Also know, you will struggle to put it down so have time carved out to read (like hours), it is THAT engaging/great! SLAY is so unapologetically Black that it is Beautiful, Magnificent and Magical! Also #WakandaForever!