Slay - Brittney Morris
I couldn't put this book down! Brittney Morris artfully weaves some very complex topics in to a story about regular suburban teens. A nuanced look at what it means to be Black in a primarily White community, to search for belonging, to grow apart from someone and closer to others, to create something that is both life-giving and controversial.
Kiera Johnson, a 17 year old honors student, is one of the few black students at a suburban, predominantly white high school. Sick of being the authority on all things "black", she creates a MMORPG game specifically for Black gamers. Played by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, it's her chance to just be her. When a teen is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, her creation is dubbed racist, exclusionary and violent. As Kiera's secret unravels she is forced to examine not only this world she has created but her place in the real world as well.
Even if you aren't a gamer (I'm not) this book is well worth the read. The descriptions of the game are so well done that you really don't need to "get it" to enjoy the game; I was almost more immersed in the sections that took place within the game because of how vividly Morris describes the characters and settings within it. I loved Kiera as a character but wanted some of the other characters to be a little bit better fleshed out as sometimes it felt like their sole role was to place Kiera in positions where she could ponder the meaning of being black in a primarily white suburb. That being said, I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
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