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The Cost of Knowing



by
Brittney Morris

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Simon & Schuster
Imprint
Simon & Schuster BFYR
ISBN
9781534445451
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Strong Language , Racism , Violence: Gun Violence , Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Underage Use , Violence: Self-Harm , Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Reference or Discussion , Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes
$21.42   $17.85
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JLG Category

City High School

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.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Strong Language , Racism , Violence: Gun Violence , Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Underage Use , Violence: Self-Harm , Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Reference or Discussion , Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

336

Trim Size

8 3/10" x 5 1/2"

Dewey

F

AR

0: points 0

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Jun 2021

Book Genres

Supernatural

Topics

Clairvoyance. African Americans. Black people. Brothers. Dating (social customs). Racism. Orphans.

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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up–After a tragic accident that left him and his brother orphaned, Alex Rufus sees visions of the future connected to items that he touches—from a mundane object being used over and over to the tragic preview of his best friend’s death. Alex avoids physical contact as often as possible but knows that once he sees a vision it can’t be changed no matter what he does. He has developed methods of coping, but when he sees the death of his younger brother, Isaiah, in a vision, he knows he must do something to try to break this curse of knowledge. As Alex gets to know his brother better in his last days, he learns that Isaiah also carries a curse: being able to relive the past of their ancestors. Passed down from father to son, over hundreds of years, this is their family’s long-held secret. Alex and Isaiah must face who they are and what they fear most in order to break their curses. The story is rich with magical elements in the form of generational trauma that Black families carry with them, and the real danger of existing while being Black in America. The brothers face racism from their white neighbors despite “good intentions.” The story is important, timely, and gives representation in a novel that is about both Black joy and pain. VERDICT Readers who are looking for books like Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give and Nic Stone’s Dear Martin will gravitate towards this book. An important addition to every young adult collection.–Erica Coonelly, Monroe Township M.S., NJ

Horn Book

When sixteen-year-old Alex lays his hands on an object, he gets a glimpse of the future related to what he’s touching. These visions are a great source of anxiety for the teen, who is also dealing with the grief of losing his parents in a car accident several years earlier and with the emotional chasm between himself and his younger brother, Isaiah. When Alex touches a photograph and sees his brother’s impending death, he is devastate—particularly because he is unable to change Isaiah’s fate. However, he is determined to do whatever he can to reconnect with his sibling the time they have remaining. That effort leads to surprising revelations, including how deep these supernatural roots run in the family’s ancestral line. Morris (SLAY, rev. 11/19) deftly weaves in themes of contemporary racism and the adultification that Black children often experience, with the tension between the past and an uncertain future resulting in hypervigilance. For Alex—and, we learn, for Isaiah—this manifests in a difficulty to focus on the present. But amid the gripping, suspenseful plot, the joy in the unfolding relationship between the siblings provides respite and bridges the ancestral past to a hopefully future. MONIQUE HARRIS

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up–After a tragic accident that left him and his brother orphaned, Alex Rufus sees visions of the future connected to items that he touches—from a mundane object being used over and over to the tragic preview of his best friend’s death. Alex avoids physical contact as often as possible but knows that once he sees a vision it can’t be changed no matter what he does. He has developed methods of coping, but when he sees the death of his younger brother, Isaiah, in a vision, he knows he must do something to try to break this curse of knowledge. As Alex gets to know his brother better in his last days, he learns that Isaiah also carries a curse: being able to relive the past of their ancestors. Passed down from father to son, over hundreds of years, this is their family’s long-held secret. Alex and Isaiah must face who they are and what they fear most in order to break their curses. The story is rich with magical elements in the form of generational trauma that Black families carry with them, and the real danger of existing while being Black in America. The brothers face racism from their white neighbors despite “good intentions.” The story is important, timely, and gives representation in a novel that is about both Black joy and pain. VERDICT Readers who are looking for books like Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give and Nic Stone’s Dear Martin will gravitate towards this book. An important addition to every young adult collection.–Erica Coonelly, Monroe Township M.S., NJ

Horn Book

When sixteen-year-old Alex lays his hands on an object, he gets a glimpse of the future related to what he’s touching. These visions are a great source of anxiety for the teen, who is also dealing with the grief of losing his parents in a car accident several years earlier and with the emotional chasm between himself and his younger brother, Isaiah. When Alex touches a photograph and sees his brother’s impending death, he is devastate—particularly because he is unable to change Isaiah’s fate. However, he is determined to do whatever he can to reconnect with his sibling the time they have remaining. That effort leads to surprising revelations, including how deep these supernatural roots run in the family’s ancestral line. Morris (SLAY, rev. 11/19) deftly weaves in themes of contemporary racism and the adultification that Black children often experience, with the tension between the past and an uncertain future resulting in hypervigilance. For Alex—and, we learn, for Isaiah—this manifests in a difficulty to focus on the present. But amid the gripping, suspenseful plot, the joy in the unfolding relationship between the siblings provides respite and bridges the ancestral past to a hopefully future. MONIQUE HARRIS

Grades 10 & Up
City High School
For Grades 10 & Up

Teen readers looking for realistic city settings and urban themes will enjoy these often-gritty titles that deal with contemporary situations and feature ethnically and culturally diverse characters. These titles will have special appeal for urban teens who want to see their own lives reflected in the books they read. Readers interested in the excitement and challenges of a city setting will also be drawn to the 12 books that comprise this category.

12 books per Year
$214.20 per Year
Interests
Diversity,Fiction,Mature Readers,LGBTQ+,Novels,Realistic Fiction
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