I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris
Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers on April 6, 2021
Genres: YA Contemporary, YA Science Fiction
Source: the publisher
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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.
There was a lot to like about this story. It had some great issues that it took a look at. For instance with Alex and his brother living in a nice neighborhood, a white woman that lived near them would talk about people who she didn’t think belonged in their neighborhood. And when it came to people who were going to be staying there, sounds like Airbnb type of things for a concert, she got really serious about it. Not realizing that the musician playing there was someone that both Alex and his brother were fans of.
Then there was the storyline of Alex deciding to spend more time with his little brother when he saw a vision. But the thing was that Alex knew he couldn’t change what he saw. He’d tried, but it still always happened. So he wondered what the use was in having the vision. Spending time with his brother Isaiah he learns a lot. Things about not only his brother, but even about their family history. And when it seems that maybe, just maybe there is a cure, things still don’t go the way they hope they can change it.
Unfortunately this book wasn’t perfect for me though other than how great the story was. Because it was everything that he touched, and it was every single thing that was going to happen with that thing, the beginning of the story got a little bogged down for me quickly. Yeah, I get that the author was trying to show just how repetitive and annoying the fact that when he picked up his cell phone he immediately saw a vision of himself unlocking it and then dialing the number, etc. But I feel like it went on a little too long and made me zone out. I wonder if that would be the same for a teen who has trouble keeping their attention when reading anyway. So that would be the one thing that I think is a big enough issue to mention.
Other than that, I loved the musician and the concert at the end, and how people don’t listen to what lyrics might mean sometimes. They just assume, hey, he’s rapping, he’s talking about weapons, I’m sure he means literally, not at all figuratively. And the lyrics in this were really so good, when you actually read them and took them for what they were saying. This is still a book I want to get for my students to read though, so I do definitely recommend it.