Chlorine Sky by Mahogany L. Brown felt very much like reading a young girl’s diary. This riveting experience transported me into a phase I had long forgotten I went through. I admire how Brown takes us through Skyy’s maturation process: losing friends, finding self-love, sibling rivalry, and encountering first love. Brown narrates it as a series of poems that we can all relate to, especially young Black girls.
Skyy’s story begins with her being portrayed as a quiet, reserved girl who lives to avoid confrontation and be the side character to her best friend, Lay Li. However, this changes when Lay Li gets a boyfriend and stops talking to her. She no longer knows who she is, how she is supposed to act, or what she should do. The only place where she feels like she can be her loud and big self is on the basketball court.
She realizes that Lay Li and her may have been destined for different paths since the start of their friendship. As she notes, Lay Li always shone brightly like a sun, and Skyy was hidden under her shadow. Now that she is no longer under that shadow, Skyy gets a chance to shine and be her sun, finding her true self and embarking on the journey toward self-love. Chlorine Sky is told in the confines of Skyy and Lay Li’s friendship. Still, it also touches on subjects like how women are treated in modern society, familial relationships and dynamics, and finding your place within society.
“So when Tyrone pushed me into the closet last year
& Coach Willie let him
I realized a girl’s mouth is a weapon
I realized the game is fixed”Excerpt From: Mahogany L. Browne. “Chlorine Sky”. Apple Books. Pg124
Chlorine Sky raises the issue all girls have to realize, almost as a rite of passage: we are treated differently than men, especially if you are a woman of color. This story is told through the eyes of Skyy, a young girl, making it more personal. We got to see many of these cathartic moments on the basketball court how she is belittled for being a girl despite her evident talent. She went from trying not to stand out to being her sun.
Written by: Monica Alfaro
Book Club Assistant