Book of the Week – December 9: Slay

Amelia Semple, Contributor

Book: Slay

Author: Brittney Morris

  1. Summary: “By day, seventeen year old Kiera Johnson is an honor student, math tutor, and one of the only black students in 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 game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her family, not her friends, not even her boyfriend, Malcom, 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 infiltrating the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “Anti-White Discrimination.”
    Driven to save the world in which she could be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically black in a world intimidated by blacknesses?” (from Amazon).
    Review: This novel perfectly blended serious issues and fun. Morris did an excellent job turning the issue of racism into something meaningful for YA readers. The characters, plot, and setting were overall fine, and the VR game of SLAY seemed very real. The sights, the sounds, and the characters of SLAY were all incredibly life-like. It was almost as if it was a different world than the one we live in. The Pokemon aspect added into the game was very unique!
    Book Club Starter Questions:

1. In the game, SLAY, Kiera designs cards with her friend, Emerald, that describe the different elements of black culture. What does this reveal about the purpose of the cards?

2. After Kiera has dealt with the SLAY murder and disclosed her secret as the game’s creator, she slowly receives support from her friends, family, and sister. What does this theme of strength reveal about Kiera’s character?