Teenage boys don’t often show up in YA literature as good guys struggling to just do the right thing. Morris adds in a good dash of racism to make it that much harder, and we end up with a brave, vulnerable superhero—and even though he can see the future, it’s not his superpower. This novel lets us ask questions and guides us to some important insights.
Spring 2021 Kids Indie Next List
“Love, grief, power, and family all come together in The Cost of Knowing as Alex struggles to live his life as a young Black man grieving the loss of his parents and best friend. His grief must also contend with his anxiety and a mysterious power that allows him to see the future of anything he touches. When learning of an event that he would do anything to prevent, he must come to terms with the origins of his power and the consequences of his actions as a brother, boyfriend, and Black teenager. Morris dives deep into an emotionally nuanced story, layering grief, masculinity, and generational trauma that will leave readers with a powerful message about regret, choice, and knowledge. A book to support with full hearts, unashamed tears, and powerful voices.”
— Jessica Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA
Four starred reviews!
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.
About the Author
Brittney Morris is the author of SLAY and The Cost of Knowing. She is also the founder and former president of the Boston University Creative Writing Club. She holds a BA in economics. You can find her online at AuthorBrittneyMorris.com and on Twitter or Instagram @BrittneyMMorris.
A Spring 2021 Indie Next Pick!
“Heartbreaking yet so powerful, The Cost of Knowing will sit with you long after the last page.” —B&N.com
“Morris’s writing is crisp and clear, her characters and story undeniably memorable.” —The Nerd Daily
* “This portrait of Black boys as sensitive, vulnerable, and complex is refreshing, unfolding within a powerful and provocative narrative about brotherly love and the insidiousness of racism. Morris seamlessly and beautifully weaves together multiple plotlines (including frank talk about sex) with crisp and sometimes humorous dialogue that always rings true. A timely, poignant page-turner about grief, love, and facing your fears.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred
* “Morris succeeds in blending moments of ‘Black boy joy,’ superhuman abilities, intergenerational trauma, mental health (including a description of self-harm), and loss into a resonant story of fraternal love that first compels, then devastates, and will be remembered for a long time.” —Publishers Weekly, starred
* “The story is important, timely, and gives representation in a novel that is about both Black joy and pain…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.” —School Library Journal, starred
* “In The Cost of Knowing, author Brittney Morris (Slay) gives Black boys power in a world that considers them powerless…Emotional and gripping.” —BookPage, starred
“This thoughtful, character-rich novel is alternatingly joyous and heartbreaking…A great pick for fans of Nic Stone's Dear Martin (2017) or Kim Johnson's This Is My America (2020).”—Booklist
“Morris stealthily transforms a story about a teen with a nerve-wracking supernatural ability into an exploration of African and African-American history and the challenges of being Black in America.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Morris (SLAY) deftly weaves in themes of contemporary racism and the adultification that Black children often experience, with the tension between the past and uncertain future resulting in hypervigilance… But amid the gripping, suspenseful plot, the joy in the unfolding relationship between the siblings provides respite and bridges the ancestral past to a hopeful future.” —The Horn Book
“The Cost of Knowing is a tense and timely portrayal of powerful Black boys growing up too soon with knowledge that the past and future are aligned against them. Morris writes the best kind of speculative fiction, the kind where reality is close enough to touch.” —Lamar Giles, author of Not So Pure and Simple and Spin
“Emotional. Tense. And full of teen boy angst, Morris offers redemption and a fresh start for two brothers crushed by the world around them and at odds with each other. Pick it up for the super powers. Stay for the brotherly love and unsolved mysteries.” —Gabby Rivera, author of Juliet Takes a Breath and Marvel’s America
“The Cost of Knowing is taut and powerful, with a beautifully rendered sibling relationship at its heart. I was deeply moved.” —Rory Power, New York Times bestselling author of Wilder Girls and Burn Our Bodies Down