Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Slay” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.30  ·  Rating details ·  6,913 ratings  ·  1,819 reviews
Ready Player One meets The Hate U Give in this dynamite debut novel that follows a fierce teen game developer as she battles a real-life troll intent on ruining the Black Panther–inspired video game she created and the safe community it represents for black gamers

By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only black kids at
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Simon Pulse
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Slay, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Leighellen Landskov While there are no detailed sex scenes in the book, the lead female talks about meeting up with her boyfriend to have sex, texting him about sex, and …moreWhile there are no detailed sex scenes in the book, the lead female talks about meeting up with her boyfriend to have sex, texting him about sex, and discusses making a playlist for when they have sex. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,913 ratings  ·  1,819 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Slay
Brittney Morris
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I mean, I think it's pretty cool.
I had no idea what this was about going in, but it. was. so. good!
may ➹
— you can find this review and others on my blog!

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 user
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.
Cristina Monica
This isn’t the type of story that I would typically read. Mainly because I prefer to actually play games than to read about them. But SLAY is such a unique and thematic MMORPG that I couldn’t help but get curious about it. I also loved the fact that it was created by a teenage girl with a normal life many people can relate to. Keira Johnson’s voice is equally strong and gentle. She is kind, patient, loving, smart … but not one to let disrespect slide.

Half of the story is spent in the ‘‘real wor
Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ 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. Bu
C.G. Drews
This whole book was so deeply fantastic. It's one of those ones where you have to remind yourself to like, unclench your JAW, because you're reading and stressing and loving the whole thing. I admit not not being knowledgeable about video games, but this actually made me wish I played something. (I mean I did Sims at 14 but WHO DIDN'T.) I also thoroughly respected the heart and love and care that came with reading an #ownvoices book about Blackness. The book is a love letter to black teens and r ...more
Jananie (thisstoryaintover)
SO FREAKIN GOOD. can't believe i was sleeping on this book for a year!! read this via the audiobook and absolutely LOVED the narrators. this book is filled with compelling and multi-faceted characters, incredible game descriptions, and just a fast-paced plot with INCREDIBLE TWISTS. loved all of the discussions of race and the many parts of black experience that it touches on. GO READ THIS BOOK NOW BECAUSE IT'S FREAKIN AWESOME. another fave of the year hands down.
if you can think of anything that sounds more interesting than this book, a) tell me immediately and b) you're wrong in advance.
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
Sep 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now, before we start and you go mouthing off at me, I am a firm believer in equality. I hold everyone to the same standards no matter their race, religion. sex, sexuality, whatever. I'm a plot-driven reader and honestly don't give a fuck about a characters skin colour. The only thing I care about in a (main) character is a lack of an annoying personality. That being said, I went into this book with a completely open mind, hell, I shouldn't even have to be writing this disclaimer, but as I'm whit ...more
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So I cried four? five? times reading this book, which might be a personal record! Great job, Slay!

In all seriousness, this is a fantastic book about the importance of community, safe spaces, and inclusivity amongst marginalised people. While I understand the criticisms some other people have of the Slay game itself - and I do agree that it's highly unrealistic for a broke teenager to have programmed a VR game of this calibre - that's not really what the story is about, is it? The Slay game isn't
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
'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.'

Damn, this book! My favorite part of the whole book is easily the MMORPG, SLAY, itself but I'm also highly appreciative of how much about being proud of Black culture it is about as well as some very kickass and well-developed Black characters while being super relevant to issues that are faced by Black people by other Bla
Ashley Daviau
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was absolutely impossible to put down and I loved every single page of it! Gaming is a big part of the book but by no means do you need to be a gamer to enjoy it, the last gaming system I owned was a Nintendo 64 and I still enjoyed the hell out of this book. Because it’s about SO much more than gaming. It discusses race and racism and identity a and relationships in such an important and yet accessible way. Despite the heavy topics that are covered it doesn’t feel like a heavy read, it ...more
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 p
Update! Here's my full review: https://bookishrealmreviews.blogspot....

4.5 Stars. It took me forever to read this book because I was giving birth to my daughter while in the process of trying to complete it haha. Let me start by saying that this book isn’t for everyone. A lot of people will pick up this book and feel disconnected because they don’t understand the cultural and social importance of this book for black readers. I’ve seen this book get low ratings under the guise of “I don’t underst
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 bated
This book is getting a lot of hype and, honestly, it deserves every single bit of it. I don’t remember exactly what it was, or who, inspired me to request this one but I’m so glad I did. So here I am paying it forward : watch out for this one.

The summary perfectly sums up (hah) what this is about, there’s no need for me to rehash anything in my review, and honestly the less I say about this, the better, I think. Not only because it isn’t my place to talk about representation (which I never would
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 co
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the world. I loved the characters. I loved the story. Overall - fantastic. Video Games in books is already *chef kiss* but this took it to another level. Kiera is such an incredible MC - I could N E V E R do what she does in this book, even if it was easier in our current world than it is now. I also feel like I learned so much from this book - not that it was meant to teach me anything specifically, but we can all still learn.
p.s. I also listened
Happy Book Birthday!

Reviewed on July 7, 2019:

I've been wavering between 3. and 4 stars since completing SLAY, so I'm settling on 3.5 stars because 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" -
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-authors
*****2020 Reread: This is just as good as the first time! Definitely recommend. *****

Slay is "...a double entendre, meaning both 'to greatly impress' and 'to annihilate'." and this debut YA by Brittney Morris does indeed slay! This is a book about Black culture, identity politics, toxic masculinity, microagressions, racism and sexism in gaming, the importance of safe spaces, and the complexities of being Black in a majority white environment. It is deeply rooted in Black cultural touchstones and
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-the-book
This is a beautiful written book about being a Black teen that touches topics like racism and cultural appropriation. The setting is a high school with mostly White teens. And it is such a wholesome tale about friendship and trust. And learning how to listen to eachother.

Kiera is our MC, she lives with her sis (who goes to the same High school) and her parents. Kiera who btw kicks ass! Builds her own online game called SLAY for Black people only where everyone can be theirselves. It has become a
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The audiobook was fantastic! I loved the multiple narrators and it added even more depth to an already great story. This book kept me up well past my bedtime because I was so invested. I personally am not really a gamer type so I wasn’t sure if I would like this but I was so surprised how much I loved it and all the gaming aspects ~~
Wow another great dubet that I read this month. My reading streak is high rn. Onto my next read for the month! 4/5 stars!(:
Ms. Woc Reader
I was excited to read this story because the premise seemed different. It was described as Ready Player One meets The Hate You Give which after reading I find a very accurate comparison.

When I first saw the battle cards associated with the game online during promotion I was under the impression Slay was some kind of online card game. Not knowing it was this complex virtual reality world. And while a truly well thought out world it was a hard sell. Sorry but this story read too much like a conte
The Artisan Geek
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcase

Finished this book yesterday, absolutely loved it! Review to come! :)

You can find me on
Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website
Kate (GirlReading)
A phenomenal book with a beautifully produced and performed audio narration.
I thoroughly enjoyed every minute listening to this. It truly deserves to be in the hands of all teens and adults alike. Brittney Morris is definitely one to watch, I can't wait to read more from her in the future. Loved it.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • You Should See Me in a Crown
  • Clap When You Land
  • The Black Flamingo
  • All Boys Aren't Blue
  • Felix Ever After
  • Pet
  • A Song Below Water (A Song Below Water, #1)
  • Jackpot
  • Not So Pure and Simple
  • The Voting Booth
  • Technically, You Started It
  • Punching the Air
  • Let Me Hear a Rhyme
  • The Deathless Girls
  • The Crossover
  • The Black Kids
  • Full Disclosure
  • Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass
See similar books…
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

Articles featuring this book

While books about anti-racism are trending on Goodreads and dominating the bestseller lists right now, some of our favorite Black authors are...
261 likes · 39 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“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.” 15 likes
“I want you to imagine for a minute,” she begins. “I know it’s going to be hard for both of you, but just imagine—that literally nothing was made for you. Your parents were denied a house because of their skin color, your grandparents were sprayed with fire hoses and ripped apart by dogs in the streets, your great-grandparents were housemaids and mammies and barely paid entertainers, and your great-great-grandparents were slaves. Every movie in your life is majority Black, all the characters in your favorite books have been cast darker in the movie adaptation for no reason, and every mistake you make is because of your skin color and because of “your background” and because of the music you listen to. You are the only white kids at a school of five hundred Blacks, and every Black person at that school asks you to weigh in on what it’s like to be white, or what white people think about this or that. It’s not fun.” 6 likes
More quotes…