Decided to go full-res on the cover, because I love it.
I’ve already talked a couple of times about my plan to read 52 books by women of color this year– no link, because it’s not complicated, that’s the entire plan— and I decided to start with Brittney Morris’ Slay, which had been on my unread shelf for a minute waiting for me to be in a YA mood.
The premise has been described as Ready Player One meets The Hate U Give, which … isn’t half-bad, actually, as these things go; it’s about a seventeen-year-old named Kiera Johnson, an honors student and coding prodigy who has created a Black-themed MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, for those of you who don’t speak fluent geek) called SLAY. And then one of the players is killed in the real world over a dispute connected to the game, and, well, all sorts of merry hell breaks loose.
Here’s the interesting thing about this book: having read it, and having had various and sundry opinions about how certain things were handled this way as opposed to that way, or how this aspect of the plot might align with my understanding of how the world works vs that aspect … I have come to the conclusion that a fair portion of My Opinions on this book don’t matter. At all. Which is … kind of a weird thing to say in a book review?
Y’all, this is the Blackest goddamned book I have ever read in my life, and any young Black women you may happen to know should have this book put into their hands as quickly as possible, particularly if those young Black women have any preexisting interests in science or technology or video games, and once you’re done making sure all the young Black women you know have read the book, you need to start making sure everybody else reads it too.
When stood up against that fact of the book, my lil’ white-dudeley quibbles about whatever goofy-ass thing I might want to nitpick are just not that goddamn important. Evangelizing for the book is.
So, yeah: read it. And buy some copies for your local schools. And then buy some more copies, and give those away. But, uh, buy it at a bookstore, because for no clear reason Amazon doesn’t think it’s out until this summer. I assure you, it’s available.