Review: The Cost of Knowing

Title: The Cost of Knowing
Author: Brittney Morris
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Magical Realism
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Dear Martin meets They Both Die at the End in this gripping, evocative novel about a Black teen who has the power to see into the future, whose life turns upside down when he foresees his younger brother’s imminent death, from the acclaimed author of SLAY.

Sixteen-year-old Alex Rufus is trying his best. He tries to be the best employee he can be at the local ice cream shop; the best boyfriend he can be to his amazing girlfriend, Talia; the best protector he can be over his little brother, Isaiah. But as much as Alex tries, he often comes up short.

It’s hard to for him to be present when every time he touches an object or person, Alex sees into its future. When he touches a scoop, he has a vision of him using it to scoop ice cream. When he touches his car, he sees it years from now, totaled and underwater. When he touches Talia, he sees them at the precipice of breaking up, and that terrifies him. Alex feels these visions are a curse, distracting him, making him anxious and unable to live an ordinary life.

And when Alex touches a photo that gives him a vision of his brother’s imminent death, everything changes.

With Alex now in a race against time, death, and circumstances, he and Isaiah must grapple with their past, their future, and what it means to be a young Black man in America in the present.

Review:

Sixteen-year-old Alex and his younger brother Isaiah live in a gated community outside of Chicago with their aunt. Since their parents died in a car accident, Alex has had the ability to see the future of any item he touches. He calls this his curse because he can’t touch anything without seeing the future. This includes when he touches his car and sees it sinking underwater, and his girlfriend who he sees breaking up with him when he touches her. These visions make it difficult for Alex to live his life, so he avoids touching things. Even though he has attempted to change these visions, they always come true. One day when he picks up a photo of his family, he sees that his brother is going to die soon. Alex doesn’t have much time to try and save his brother in the few days he has left.

Alex’s power of seeing the future sounds like it could be an interesting power to have, but I could feel his helplessness in this story. He tried to make the visions not happen, but they always came true. Despite him seeing that his brother was going to die, I kept hoping that the vision wouldn’t come true. This feeling reminded me of how I felt reading They Both Die at the End. In that book, despite the title, I kept hoping for a different ending. I had that same feeling while reading this book.

Alex and Isaiah were both Black boys living in a predominantly white neighbourhood. I won’t give away any spoilers, but they had to face racial injustice multiple times in this story. It’s so disturbing to keep reading stories like this and see them reflected on the news. I found this one especially hard to read because it was such an emotional story. Even if you know what’s coming, it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. I really hope these racial injustice stories will one day no longer be relatable, but for now, it’s so important they are told to give people a glimpse of what it’s like to be Black in this world.

This was such a powerful story. I think everyone should read it!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Have you read The Cost of Knowing? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Tigers, Not Daughters

Title: Tigers, Not Daughters
Author: Samantha Mabry
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Magical Realism
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 24, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window. A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say. 

In a stunning follow-up to her National Book Award–longlisted novel All the Wind in the World, Samantha Mabry weaves an aching, magical novel that is one part family drama, one part ghost story, and one part love story.

Review:

A year ago, Ana Torres fell out of her bedroom window to her death. Her younger three sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are dealing with their grief in different ways. Jessica acts out and has a dangerous relationship with her boyfriend. Iridian finds comfort in books and writing. Rosa tries to help animals. Strange things begin to happen in their house, and the girls decide that it must be Ana’s spirit communicating with them. They have to figure out what Ana is trying to tell them.

This was an intense story. The sisters were grieving for their sister, but their dad had other ways of dealing with the pain. He checked out of their lives, so they had to look after themselves. They had to grow up quickly, but they each had their own ways of coping.

I really liked the magical realism aspects of this story. Ana’s ghost appeared to her sisters and to the neighbors next door. She didn’t always appear as a person, but she would do things around the house to let them know she was there. There were also some storms that happened around her appearances, which added to the spooky atmosphere.

This was such a beautiful story!

Thank you Algonquin Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

All the Wind in the World by Samantha Mabry

The Marrow Thieves by Cheri Dimaline

Have you read Tigers, Not Daughters? What did you think of it?