Chlorine Sky

Mahogany L. Browne

“Everybody wants to be a hero, but most of us/ are just misunderstood villains.”

I don’t know why I don’t read more novels in verse, or just more poetry in general, honestly. I know I am sorely missing out, and I’m looking to remedy that, especially after reading Chlorine Sky.

At the center of the story is Sky and her relationship with her best friend, Lay Li. But it’s also about self discovery and society’s expectations of what you should and shouldn’t be. This is especially challenging for young Black girls, who have to fight against racist AND sexist stereotypes at every corner. But this book is a celebration of Sky, and her journey to being authentic to who she is, whether that means taking no mercy when exhibiting her amazing basketball skills, or standing up to those that bully her. The exploration of how there is no such thing as binary good or bad also added so much depth to this amazing story. After reading, I looked up some interviews with the author Mahogany L. Browne, and it just made me fall more in love with this captivating story.

“This book was informed by the kind of people I met while figuring out who I was in the world as a young Black girl growing up in California, specifically the people I let stay around me. And I started thinking, when did that happen? Because it was a little weird — I went from loving everything to middle school where I started second-guessing everything, including my friend circle and who I was in that friend circle. I showed up for people emotionally, but also found myself being bullied. This was a pivotal moment for how I saw myself and loved myself. And if I could rewrite that history, that’s how Chlorine Sky was born.” (

She goes on to say part of her creative process was immersing herself in Sula, because it asks, “What does it mean to look at friendship with your eyes, what does it mean to look at friendship with your hands? Toni Morrison does that beautifully in Sula.” Sula is the next book we are reading in the #Toni21readathon, so I’m even more excited to make those text connections.

I read this because of @thatgoodgoodbook review. Thanks for the rec, I loved it.

chlorine sky by Mahogany L. Browne
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