Fall 2019 Kids Indie Next List
“SLAY is so much more than just another book about video games: it’s about a girl who carves a space in the world for herself and completely owns it, and it’s about the microaggressions and the can-I-touch-your-hairs and all the things that come with being one of a handful of black kids in a school. It isn’t afraid to pull punches where it counts; sometimes you see them coming, sometimes you don’t.”
— Avery Peregrine, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019!
“Gripping and timely.” —People
“The YA debut we’re most excited for this year.” —Entertainment Weekly
“A book that knocks you off your feet while dropping the kind of knowledge that’ll keep you down for the count. Prepare to BE slain.” —Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out
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 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 boyfriend, Malcolm, 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 infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.”
Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?
About the Author
Brittney Morris is the author of SLAY. She is also the founder and former president of the Boston University Creative Writing Club. She holds a BA in economics. Brittney spends her spare time playing video games, slaying at DDR, 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 because he hasn’t played enough horror games. You can find her online at AuthorBrittneyMorris.com and on Twitter or Instagram @BrittneyMMorris.
"The YA debut we're most excited for this year." —Entertainment Weekly
"If you enjoyed Black Panther and Ready Player One, you're going to love this new YA novel." —Bustle
“A book that knocks you off your feet while dropping the kind of knowledge that'll keep you down for the count. Prepare to BE slain.” —Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out
“More than a novel, SLAY is a conversation about safe spaces, why they’re necessary for minorities, and why we should champion their right to exist without being branded exclusionary or racist.” —Booklist, starred review
“[A] not-to-be-missed YA debut.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Morris does a fantastic job of showing diversity within the black community. . . . Gamers and black activists alike will be ready to SLAY all day.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Readers are invited to learn about the black experience in game culture through a compelling new lens. Exploring different versions of the African American experience, this is an important title for public and school libraries.” —School Library Journal
“Offers a richly global perspective on the Black diaspora.” —BCCB
“Wildly entertaining and impressively insightful. Morris is absolutely an author to watch.” —Sara Grochowski, McLean and Eakin Booksellers (Petoskey, MI)
“I was captivated from the very first page and found myself quickly falling in love with Kiera but even more for what Kiera stood for. I cannot wait for more from Brittany Morris!” —Teresa Steele, Old Firehouse Books (Fort Collins, CO)
This book is SO amazing! A beautifully written scientific and personal memoir that is informative, touching, heart-breaking, and inspiring. Jahren’s descriptions of her life and scientific research into the intricacies of the plant world are as poetic and poignant as it gets. The story weaves through her early upbringing in Minnesota, her education, starting her lab with her lovable and eccentric lab partner Bill. It then follows her finding love, motherhood, and her ground-breaking geobiology research. Reading this is like taking a walk through the forest with a friend. Every word is filled with authenticity and a fervent passion for science and this book makes me proud to be studying to become a scientist. It’s a must read for those interested in the natural world or any human who has ever had feelings. - Linnea