Thanks to Coloured Pages for having me on The Cost of Knowing tour.
The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris
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.
Publication Date: April 6th, 2021
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Links: Amazon/Book Depository/Goodreads
Disclaimer: I received an eARC via Netgalley for the blog tour. This does not affect my opinion. All thoughts are my own.
“Joy in the midst of oppression is its own kind of bravery.”
Ever since I read, SLAY-a book I deeply loved and just felt the love for Black culture. I was really curious on what Morris will write next. While The Cost of Knowing has probably disappointed me in some ways, but the brotherhood, the Black boy joy despite, and Black boys having a power that often times feels like a curse depending how you look at it.
I wished more people have talked about Morris’s book. It was something so underrated, and very interesting. You don’t see much of Black boy joy or even Black boys on covers too much-so it was really interesting to see Morris tackle that and I feel like it was well done.
The Cost of Knowing follows Alex, a Black man who’s just working at an ice-cream shot, who has a girlfriend but he has a gift- a gift where he could see the future with every touch of an object. HIs parents died when he was four and he is left trying to protect his little brother, Isaiah.
This book is blurbed as Dear Martin meets They Both Die at the End and it’s just so accurate, considering the situation. This book explored the disguised racism from neighbors such as, “trying to keep them out”, and “Rapper Shiv Skeptic’s past” and honestly it’s interesting. It’s still racism if you say those things and it’ll probably seem harmless. It’sstill be racism and it will get someone killed.
I think what’s interesting about this is that while the neighbors try to deny their racist. There are a few instances where I just wanted to smack the neighbors because seriously though, after all of last summer. Would you trust an ex-cop or a cop in general to protect the neighborhood not to kill someone who looks “suspicious”?
This book is about family and that what it makes it feel special. I have always clung to books that is focused on family because I come from a dysfunctional family, so I try to latch onto something I can’t have. The brotherhood between Alex and Isaiah was probably one of my favorite things. I loved how when Alex saw the vision of Isaiah’s funeral in a weeks’ time-he tried to spend all his time with him.
Alex even realized how similar he and his brother have in common especially when it comes Shiv Skeptic. The bonding over it was just something special and probably made me shed a tear in the process. Like here we have two brothers who have never spent time with each other, discovering that they have more in common they thought.
It isn’t just about brotherhood, ancestors and the intergenerational trauma plays a huge role in this book. I found it interesting that we were able to meet some of the ancestors and hear their stories especially because they share the same curse that both Isaiah and Alex has (different powers of course).
I think it was really cool going back through the family tree. It’s something that I can not do and I know many others have, but this made me have a craving with what Isiah have with his powers. Like I could actually know my ancestors and their stories. I just want to know some of their reasons on why my family is the way it is.
I think it’s important to mention in The Cost of Knowing, this book has a conversation about mental health. It’s super rare to find books that deals with mental health and even rare to find for young Black boys. The conversations about anxiety, grief and toxic masculinity was really well done. There are some spots that just felt really meaningful to me especially when it comes to the anxiety.
Alex suffers from anxiety and it’s mentioned quite a bit in the story. I felt oddly touched because here, Alex is describing what I go through in almost a daily basis. I literally can’t relax with some personal reasons and seeing that Alex also has the same reason was just perfect.
I feel like what made it enjoy it was the repetition. The “canceling” and “vision” are probably a few things that quickly got annoying because it’s everywhere.
Overall, The Cost of Knowing was one of those books where it was really good. It talked about quite a bit of things that were perfect and it made me enjoy some of those parts. This book deals with racism, grief, toxic masculinity, and anxiety and intergenerational trauma was something that explored really well and I enjoyed the way Morris handled the topics with care. This book is literally blurbed as They Both Die at the End and it was tragic.
CW: Grief, Anxiety, Death of Parents (mentioned), car accident, death of a friend (mentioned), death of a sibling (mentioned), shooting, self-harm, depression, poverty, anti-Black violence, mentions of slavery and police brutality
Rep: Latinx Prominent character, Anxiety Black MC, Black side characters
- Fans of They Both Die at the End
- Black Boy Joy
If I can be weirdly specific here, there’s a seasonal flavor at Molly Moon’s Ice Cream in Seattle called Cornbread and Honey. It’s everything.
About the Author:
Bio: Hi, my name is Brittney Morris. I’m the author of SLAY, The Cost of Knowing, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales – Wings of Fury, and I’ve written for video games including The Lost Legends of Redwall and Subnautica: Below Zero. I have an economics degree from Boston University and I spend my spare time reading, playing indie video games, and enjoying the rain from my home in Philly. I live with my husband Steven who would rather enjoy the rain from a campsite in the woods because he hasn’t played enough horror games, and our tiny bundle of love, Atlas.
Have you read anything by Brittney Morris? Have you read The Cost of Knowing? Is this book on your TBR? Tell me in the comments!