Title: Chlorine Sky
Author: Mahogany L. Browne
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: January 12th 2021
Age Category & Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Synopsis: A novel-in-verse about a young girl coming-of-age and stepping out of the shadow of her former best friend.
She looks me hard in my eyes
& my knees lock into tree trunks
My eyes don’t dance like my heartbeat racing
They stare straight back hot daggers.
I remember things will never be the same.
I remember things.
Mahogany L. Browne delivers a novel-in-verse about broken promises, fast rumors, and when growing up means growing apart from your best friend.
**Thank you Netgalley and OwlCrown Books for Young Readers for providing me an eARC in exchange of an honest review. This, by any means, did not affect nor influence my review.**
T/CW: bullying, racism, sexism, sexual assault, microaggression
Chlorine Sky is a novel-in-verse that follows the story of a teenage girl as she navigates life while she is in high school. It primarily talks about friendship, family, and self-acceptance. I was excited for this book especially because it is a novel in verse. I did like it, but not as much as I expected.
What I loved most was the writing. It was almost like I can hear the main character’s voice. It felt as if she was talking to me. I also liked the main character. I appreciate seeing her vulnerability. How she feels different and tries to hide those things that make her feel so, how she feels invisible as she does not have many friends even at school, and how she makes herself small for others. I loved how that feeling, as if you need to make yourself small, was captured. I also like her relationship with Inga. As well as seeing how basketball makes her feel and its importance in her life. I loved seeing her learn to embrace herself more and more.
It gives emphasis on friendship and shows how it plays a big part in a person’s life, especially when we are young and still growing up. Navigating friendships—or any other relationships—especially at a young age can be tough. It also shows just how people grow apart. You learn about each other more. Sometimes they disappoint you, sometimes you disappoint them, and then your relationship change. Further, it also touches on family and shows how parents’ addiction can affect their children, and other problems one deals with in a family with low income.
Plotwise, there was not much as we focus more on the main character and her thoughts. It was a character-driven story. It was a quick read. I felt like I needed more time and needed more from the other characters and just from the story as a whole. I was also a kind of confused with the timeline. There were times when I was unsure if I was reading a flashback or a scene in the present. I would also appreciate if we got to see more from the basketball side and its role in the main character’s life.
Overall, Chlorine Sky explores what it is like to navigate life and relationships while you are young. I liked some aspects of it including how it explores certain topics, but I was still not that satisfied at the end and wished there was more from it.
Mahogany L. Browne is the Executive Director of JustMedia, a media literacy initiative designed to support the groundwork of criminal justice leaders and community members. This position is informed by her career as a writer, organizer, & educator. Browne has received fellowships from Agnes Gund, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, Mellon Research & Rauschenberg. She is the author of recent works: Chlorine Sky, Woke: A Young Poets Call to Justice, Woke Baby, & Black Girl Magic. Browne is the founder of the diverse lit initiative, Woke Baby Book Fair; and is excited about her latest poetry collection. I Remember Death By Its Proximity to What I Love is a book-length poem responding to the impact of mass incarceration on women and children). She is based in Brooklyn and is the first-ever Poet-in-Residence at the Lincoln Center.