A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Two characters, brothers, suffer from debilitating anxiety and post-traumatic stress, which manifests in one as hypervigilance about the future and in the other as preoccupation with regrets about the past. A subplot illustrates about how White people's fears about Black people endangers Black boys and young men.
You are not alone. Be there for the people you love. You can't redo the past or control the future.
Positive Role Models
The main characters are African American. An aunt steps up as legal guardian for two children when her sibling dies. A store owner serves as mentor and protector to an orphaned teen. There's a healthy relationship between teens who contemplate having and whether they're ready for sex.
Violence & Scariness
There's a mass shooting. A young man dies from a racist attack by a vigilante.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A boy masturbates. A teen couple contemplate losing their virginity together.
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"F--k," "s--t," "nigga," "damn," "bitch," and "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A teen drinks champagne and feels nauseated.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that in The Cost of Knowing, by Brittney Morris (SLAY), Alex, a 16-year-old African American teen, copes with the power to see the future of any object that touches his palms. This power gives him the unwanted knowledge that his young brother, Isaiah, is going to die, and he resolves to make Isaiah's life meaningful. Violence includes a mass shooting, and a young man dies from a racist attack by a vigilante. Strong language includes "f--," "s--t," "nigga," "damn," "bitch," and "hell." A boy masturbates, and a teen couple contemplate losing their virginity together. A teen drinks champagne and feels nauseated.
Is It Any Good?
This moving and ambitious fantasy is a love letter to Black boys. In The Cost of Knowing, Brittney Morris (SLAY, a New York Times bestseller) uses the idea of being able to see the future as a metaphor for the anxiety that exists for children (particularly Black boys) forced to confront the worst realities of the adult world. The author is successful in making the main character's unusual power (seeing visions of the future about anything that touches his palms) consistent and rational throughout the story. She also covers a lot of subject matter that can benefit from more coverage: mental health in Black boys and men; a mass shooting (she explores the motivations of the shooter as well as the experiences of the victims); and how "good people" can become violent vigilantes.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
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Thrilling Books for Teens Who Love Fantasy
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