Bang Bang Books's Reviews > Slay

Slay by Brittney Morris
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really liked it


As I have stated in other reviews, I mostly read YA fantasy and when I read a YA contemporary I expect to be moved. I expect to learn something new; to laugh out loud; to cry; or to be inspired. If I don't get any of that from a contemporary, I'm not going to rate it high. I also judge books based on their contemporaries. Was Slay better than The Hate U Give or Poet X? No, therefore I can't give it as high a rating than those books.

Slay was a good book and I will definitely recommend it to all teens but it wasn't a critical read.

Issues with the book:
*Ebonics-This is only speculation but I think Morris grew up in the 90's when Ebonics was an issue and it affected her. I think she wanted to write her experiences in her novel, however; Ebonics is no longer a relevant word. I live/work in an urban library and I have never heard teens use that word. I grew up in the 90's during the Ebonics debate but that's a dated term. I think Morris should have used a more contemporary term to make her very valid point. All teens use slang, including Black teens, but it can be a form of oppression in the Black community. I know that's her point but the term is dated.

Second, the Ebonics or AAVE topic seemed separate from the main theme. It's like Morris really had something to say about switching the way you speak and she really wanted to make that point but it wasn't cohesive and it should have been left out.

*Malcolm-Malcolm was a new voice in YA but he wasn't explored/developed as much as he could have been. Malcolm represents the "angry Black man" and there are men like that out there but Morris didn't make him a sympathetic character; she just made him a controlling/manipulating man-too on-the-nose. Why is Malcolm so angry? Was there an event in his life that shaped his extreme views? We don't know. I strongly believe that a good villain needs to be sympathetic to make him human. Malcolm's character development could have been a moment of critical exposition but it wasn't.

Kiera and Malcolm's relationship was also flat. Her reasons for defending him were not nuanced and this is were the critical writing would have been beneficial-missed opportunity. An example of a critical toxic relationship was in American Street by Zoboi.

*Nit-Picks-Not sure of the point of Steph and Harper's sorority club. I also didn't like those little vignettes of the other players. That could have been weaved into Kiera's chapters. I think Cicada should have received more pages and more backstory. I thought her experience as a Black woman was interesting and something I didn't know but she was under-developed.

*NOT-TELLING-YOUR-PARENTS-OMG, I can't stand when teens do not talk to their parents when they get in legal trouble. This is so unrealistic. Authors, please stop making your teens too smart to ask for help. Yes, I know eventually she asked for help but it was way too late.

The Good:
*The Video Game-I liked the video game and the reason for creating it. I don't like gaming books but this book didn't over do it and I liked that.

*Steph-I really liked her sister; I thought she contributed to the story well.

*The Ending-I won't say anything but I did like how most of it ended-not the Malcolm stuff tho.
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Reading Progress

June 10, 2019 – Shelved
June 10, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
July 4, 2019 – Started Reading
July 4, 2019 –
18.0% "The author is really laying it on think with the boyfriend. We get it, girl."
July 4, 2019 –
19.0% "Do teens today use the word Ebonics? That’s a 90’s thing."
July 4, 2019 –
42.0% "How long do we think it’s gonna take for this girl to tell her parents? 🤔 It’s a YA novel so, never."
July 4, 2019 –
56.0% "There’s some gaping holes in this game logic."
July 5, 2019 –
93.0% "Annnddd...we still haven’t told an adult yet. COME ON, THIS IS SO TROPEY AND UNREALISTIC. TELL YOUR PARENTS."
July 5, 2019 – Finished Reading

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