Hello bookdragons!! You know it, almost every month, I tell you about the Chapters Indigo Teen Staff Pick of the Month. This month, I think it was one of my favorites yet with Slay by Brittney Morris!!
Today, I’m gonna share with you 5 good reasons why you should try it 😉
Staff Pick of the Month?
If you are wondering what this is about, each month, across all the Chapters stores, over 200 employees select a title to be the Staff Pick of the Month, in the Teen section! For the entirety of this month, the book is available for 20$ only! And each month, I am lucky enough to receive a copy of this SPOTM in order to share my honest opinion about it 🙂
October Teen Pick: Slay – Brittney Morris
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?
5 Good reasons to read Slay:
- It’s an own voice story: a black kickass woman talking about black people, their culture and having the main character being a teenage black girl. You can read great books written by white people and having black characters. BUT it can’t beat what someone who is what they write about can tell you. There is an authenticity, a realness to it. Brittney Morris tells us about what it is to be a black woman, and you have to be one to really know what it means! This gives her book a dimension I had not often seen before.
- Talking about the real stuff: aka racism. How it is still so present, in the little daily things, and the big ones. But also cultural appropriation, or references, and what it is to grow as a black person in the US today (and actually in other parts of the world too).
- And diversity: what I really found unique in that book is that the author addresses the fact that one black person does not talk for all black people. That you can’t expect to question a teen (or anyone) on what is ok or not for her entire culture. Because as with everybody, black people are people, diverse and different, with different ways to live in addition to their similarities, and different ways to see the world. I thought it was a super interesting point that the author brought there! This can go from how black people see white people, to is wearing dreadlocks cultural appropriation.
- An incredible Virtual Reality game: so, I know basically nothing about video games or VR games (I was not even sure if the headset and gloves to be in the virtual world already exist or are something from the future that tells you how bad it is haha), so I can’t tell if the building of this game was realistic or not. All I can tell you is that it was SO GOOD. It felt complex and fun and full of potential. I particularly loved the cards’ name, related to Michael Jordan, Armstrong, Black Jesus or That one auntie’s potato salad ( you can see examples of the cards here, strongly advise you to do so). They were all related to things that black people (mostly in the US but cards from other cultural backgrounds were also involved) can relate to. Which is the point. Because it’s true that most video games are created around old European myths. Again, it brought a very important point on the representation black persons can get in games, books, media and more!
- The cherry on top of the cake: it was also a feminist book. And a »’women solidarity » book. And we always need more of that. Being a girl is hard. Being black is hard. Being a black girl… I think you get it! I’m just a girl, I’m on the white spectrum, and I had to deal with sh*t. I know a lot of black women, incredible and so powerful women, who had to deal with so so much more. I can only imagine what it feels like. And Kiera deals with some of that in the book. I was so happy it was handled well by the author, and that all the female characters in the book were so supportive of each other and here to bring the best out of their friends.
Hope I convinced you to give this book a try! Or maybe you’ve read it already? Let me know!
See you for a cup,