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4.32  ·  Rating details ·  367 ratings  ·  176 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: September 24th 2019 by Simon Pulse
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  • SLAY by Brittney Morris
    Release date: Sep 24, 2019
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    “The YA debut we’re most excited for this year.” —Entertainment Weekly

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    Giveaway dates: Sep 10 - Sep 24, 2019

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    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    4.32  · 
    Rating details
     ·  367 ratings  ·  176 reviews

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    Brittney Morris
    Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
    I mean, I think it's pretty cool.
    may ➹
    SLAY is a book that I think should be in everyone’s hands. It’s such an important read, and I think it’ll be an eye-opening experience for many, while Black people will find comfort in this story so openly celebratory of Blackness.

    The book follows high school student Kiera, who developed the game SLAY in an effort to carve out a space for Black gamers, after having to deal with the racism prevalent in the gaming world. With half a million users, it’s a community for and of Black gamers coming to
    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
    I need more books about gamer girls in my life and a badass black gamer girl who creates her own video game and takes some racist POS to task? YES. PLEASE.
    Nenia ✨ Literary Garbage Can ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

    SLAY, on the surface, is everything I want to read about in a book. STEM heroine, science-fictiony elements, video games, diverse rep, real world issues, and political/feminist dialogues. Below the surface, however, are several Issue Sharks™ swimming and circling and waiting for me to dive down below and check it out so they can chew up my expectations to ribbons.

    Did my expectations become sad, tattered ribbons of disappointment? No. But
    Sep 18, 2018 marked it as to-read-so-bad-it-hurts


    This is inspired by Black Panther and sounds so awesome that I'm just a bunch of exclamation points right now re: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    More info about it here
    Lauren (The Novel Lush)
    I'm going to really work on this review so I'll probably edit it several times, but MY GOD this book is so fucking GOOD! So much of our culture packed in 300 some odd pages. Generations of Black nuances and expression everywhere I looked. UPLIFTING Black people of all shades, all genders, all sexualities, all personalities.

    Aside from that, this book is just a piece of art! The thought and world building in the game alone. THOSE CARDS FRIGGING SENT ME! Can we actually have this game please? PLEAS
    Do you believe in love at first sight?

    I do now. I was lusting over the cover of this book when I saw it advertised for #Bookcon2019. But now that I have finally gotten my hands on it and gotten a chance to read it I know that this is the book that I wanted to read as a little girl. As a Black woman I appreciate the depth of this novel and I'm sitting here reeling as it is Brittney Morris's first novel. I will certainly be buying copies of this book for the Kieras in my circle. Waiting with baite
    May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    This book was not made for me, but that's okay--that's kind of the point. As a white person, I'm so very rarely the person on the outside looking in, and so it's good and important and wonderful that I felt that way while reading this. I'm meant to be aware that I'm in a space not built specifically for me. So when I say, yeah, I absolutely adored this book...I can only begin to imagine how this book feels for black readers.

    SLAY digs into some incredibly difficult topics, but does so with poise
    Claire ✨
    In this mixed bag of novel, where the video game logistics don't make sense and the characters are boring, SLAY falls far short of slaying.

    Oh boy. Here's an accurate depiction of my reaction from the start of this book to the end:

    The biggest problem with SLAY is that the video game itself just isn't plausible.

    The protagonist, Kiera, is a hard-working student with high grades who created and now maintains SLAY without her parents or anyone else knowing. I had so many questions that made it imposs
    Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: read-in-2019
    I've been wavering between 3.5 and 4 stars since completing SLAY. It's basically a 4 star book but I have a HUGE gripe with the 'twist'. Not only do I have a gripe, it only gets addressed within the span of 2-3 pages. Even after a month, I still feel unsatisfied. I don't even know how to talk about it without spoiling it, so I'll mark the spoiler below.

    Before I get to that, I will address all the positives :)


    Kiera Johnson or "Emerald" - a teen game developer of an online game called
    Rachel Strolle
    Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Melanie (TBR and Beyond)
    “As we duel, as we chat, there's an understanding that "your black is not my black" and "your weird is not my weird" and "your beautiful is not my beautiful," and that's okay. It' brings tears to my eyes if I think about it too long.” 

    I knew when I saw this that I wanted to get my hands on this, so I actually requested this in two different places - just incase! I mean it was marketed as Warcross meets Black Panther - yes please! Thankfully Simon and Schuster was lovely enough to send me a phy
    Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    I was privileged enough to beta-read this novel as is was getting sent to publishers. I was delighted to learn that it found a home with Simon Pulse and that more readers will have the opportunity to read this wonderful book!

    Slay is fresh, exciting, and perfectly placed in time when the discussion of what safe spaces are and who deserves them is taking place nationally and internationally. Hundreds of thousands of people have found a safe place in the video game Slay, and the feeling of that spa
    Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    tl;dr: I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS BOOK! My inner gamer nerd is over the moon.

    cw: a Black teenager - not one of the central protagonists - is murdered; the violence is not described.

    I've been gaming since Atari and Sierra games on the Apple IIgs. One of the magical things Morris has done with this glorious gamer nerd book is make me repeatedly nostalgic for so many of my favourite games over the years: my first LPMud, Asheron's Call, Aion, some of the truly excellent releases of World of War
    Jun 11, 2019 rated it liked it
    We are a diaspora. We span hundreds of shades, religions, traditions, and cultural nuances. If you don't understand what some of these cards mean, blame the slave trade.

    I had a lot of feelings about this book, almost all of them mixed, but I came to the conclusion that although this book is for me in some ways, in many ways it is not. I'm a black, queer woman and over time I have come to terms with each of those identities separately and as a whole. It took a while, all of high school and coll
    Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: coming-soon-19, arcs
    This book is a powerful debut that makes me extremely excited to see what Brittney Morris does next. The ending was the best part, the climax and conclusion equal parts action-packed, subversive and heartfelt. SLAY is a short and smart novel about the importance of freedom, pride and safe spaces where people can be their kickass selves in today’s frustratingly unjust society. Rating: five YASS cards/five

    For fans of: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, Warcross by Marie Lu, Black Panther: World of Wa
    Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    How do I give this book more than 5 stars? Thank you Queen Brittney Morris.
    Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I had the highest hopes for Slay as it is one of my most anticipated reads for Fall. And I was not disappointed! Talk about a book that deals with cyber bullying, safe spaces, racism, and assimilation. From page one I fell in love with Slay. Kiera's difficulties fitting in with her peers at school, forced to be the POC representative, all while feeling the pressure to represent her identity. Feeling always like it's hard to find a space to just exist - without needing to worry about what our act ...more
    Mar 07, 2019 marked it as to-read
    oh my god i need this
    Carla (Carla's Book Bits)
    A quick disclaimer on how I got this book: I actually didn't know about it, until the publisher sent it to me in the mail. Although I'm thankful to the publisher, it doesn't change my opinions expressed here. :)

    This should be prefaced with the fact that: This book was not written for me. But with that said, I enjoyed this a fair bit!

    Some things I loved:
    + Brittney Morris's writing is easy to get into! Very well-paced, and the words read smooth.
    + I love the nuanced discussion on how different peop
    Max Baker
    Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Thank you Edelweiss for providing me a free review copy in exchange for an honest review

    Slay is one of those books that is unapologetically black. It's not afraid to showcase different aspects of black culture and black excellence, but isn't afraid to bite into a variety of issues and nuances that exist within the black community. This book is undoubtedly going to be compared to The Hate U Give by virtue of being a book about a black girl and black culture. However, where The Hate U Give focuses
    Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    White people have an obligation to bear witness to this story. This book explores levels of complexity in code-switching, racism, sexism, classism, sexism within racism, classism within racism, racism within racism, and what it means to be an ally that, as a white person, we can never understand—and being able to see them (as best we can) through Kiera’s VR headset is a gift. This is the reality of the world we have created, and this gives a glimpse of how complicated that world is to navigate f ...more
    *I received an arc from Book Con.

    Yes yes yes! Slay is everything I needed and SO MUCH MORe.

    Being black doesn't refer to one single type of person. We are a diverse group of people with different backgrounds, languages, hair types, triumphs and dreams. This book captures that in such a beautiful way. I literally want to shove this book into the hands of everyone I run into.

    Kiera is a BAD. ASS. WOMAN that I absolutely stan. She is so casually successful. There aren't any questions raised as to
    Liselle Sambury
    Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I was lucky to get an advance copy at BookCon and this book is wonderful. It’s an amazing combination of entertainment and heartfelt moments. I love seeing black girls in STEM celebrated and this book also touched on how connected with social justice teens today are even as they keep learned. It also got into the individual challenges of learning what it means to you to be black while growing up as a teen and discovering your identity beyond how people think you should be. A MUST read ❤ ...more
    May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    You are a queen, and this is your game.

    SLAY is fun, poignant, wicked smart, and absolutely ferocious.

    Kiera is, frankly, Girl Genius. At 17, she's created the MMORPG "SLAY", as a place to have fun, feel safe, and express herself online. SLAY is a VR game that combines the best parts of World of Warcraft, Yu Gi Oh, and black culture, and has gained thousands of fans from New Orleans to Egypt. But she hasn't told her friends, family, or boyfriend - they all have such strong opinions on how Africa
    Sara (A Gingerly Review)
    2.5 stars from me (rounded up)

    This was tough for me to get through. I have so many thoughts and emotions about this one. There was just SO MUCH going on that it was hard to figure out what to focus on. I found myself skimming a good portion towards the end because it was either far too descriptive and had nothing to do with the overall story, or it was simply repetitive (as most of this story was).

    Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    The Warcross/Black Panther mash-up I didn't know I needed. SLAY hits so many marks of a great YA book: it's thoughtful, brilliant, funny, and emotional. The dichotomy between Kiera's two lives and her relationships with her white friends and her black boyfriend is complex and nuanced but still feels very much from a teen perspective. I loved this book!
    Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Thank you to Simon Pulse for providing me with an e-ARC of SLAY by Brittney Morris in exchange for an honest review!

    It’s rare for me to hear about a book way before publication & want to read it so badly that I actually contact the publisher for an ARC, but alas, I needed SLAY & am so thankful for Simon Pulse for letting me review this book! I had a few issues with it, but they’re so extremely minor; I’d say this book definitely met my expectations.

    SLAY, as can be expected, raises a lot
    Karen Barber
    Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Thank you NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read something way out of my comfort zone.
    Kiera is an honours student and seems pretty certain where things are going. But she has a secret that she doesn’t feel comfortable sharing. She has designed and co-created a digital world where members can form a community...a game called SLAY.
    In this world, black game players don’t have to worry about online trolling and racist abuse. The moves they can use are part of black culture, and Kiera sees t
    Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
    This is a super quick read with snappy writing that made things breeze by, in a very pleasant way. Kiera's a geeky girl hero who is very charming and a great role model for any young girl reading this, especially a young black girl. She's super smart and into STEM and has created a video game world for black people where they can feel a sense of community without having to 'fit in' to the mostly white world of online gaming. Cicada is also a REALLY great character, and I actually wish that the s ...more
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    Brittney Morris is the author of SLAY. She holds a BA in Economics from Boston University because back then, she wanted to be a financial analyst. (She's now thankful that didn't happen). She spends her spare time reading, playing indie video games, and enjoying the Seattle rain from her apartment. She lives with her husband Steven who would rather enjoy the rain from a campsite in the woods becau ...more
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    “As we duel, as we chat, there's an understanding that "your black is not my black" and "your weird is not my weird" and "your beautiful is not my beautiful," and that's okay. It' brings tears to my eyes if I think about it too long.” 1 likes
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