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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; 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.


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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; 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.

30 review for The Cost of Knowing

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brittney Morris

    My love letter to all the Black men who had to grow up too early.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Lanz

    “To all the Black boys who had to grow up too early.” The dedication above encapsulates this story perfectly. It’s a love letter and a wake up call bundled together in a package both heartbreaking and beautiful. ~★~ What is this book about? ~★~ The Cost of Knowing follows Alex, a teenage boy who lost his parents in an accident years ago. He now lives with his aunt and little brother Isaiah, who are some of the few pieces of happiness left in his life. Alex has the strange ability to see the fut “To all the Black boys who had to grow up too early.” The dedication above encapsulates this story perfectly. It’s a love letter and a wake up call bundled together in a package both heartbreaking and beautiful. ~★~ What is this book about? ~★~ The Cost of Knowing follows Alex, a teenage boy who lost his parents in an accident years ago. He now lives with his aunt and little brother Isaiah, who are some of the few pieces of happiness left in his life. Alex has the strange ability to see the future with touch, and his world is turned upside down by a vision of his brother Isaiah in a casket sometime within the next week. Alex knows his visions can’t be prevented, but now is the time when he has to change that. Losing his little brother isn’t an option. ~★~ For what it set out to accomplish, this story was fantastic. It broke my heart and mended it time and time again, to the point were I started questioning everything. It’s been a while since a story took my breath away like The Cost of Knowing has. Brittney Morris does an impeccable job bringing anxiety and grief to life through Alex while also weaving a really unique story I couldn’t stop reading. Morris is clearly a talented author, making me feel a sincere attachment to both Alex and Isaiah from the start. It was hard not to connect with Alex especially; as the protagonist, his stream of consciousness was delivered so convincingly that I felt a deep connection to his character despite not being able to personally relate to him. This was a really, really great book. I can’t wait for its publication so others can experience what I just have. A brilliant story, and one that I’m so glad to have read! Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for the arc!

  3. 4 out of 5

    jenny✨

    i have mixed feelings, but one thing's for sure—the love between alex and isaiah hit me so. hard. first, though: can we just take a sec to appreciate this stunning cover art by alvin epps???? thank you netgalley and simon & schuster canada for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️ the cost of knowing is, above all, brittney morris' love letter to all the Black men who had to grow up too early. four years ago, alex rufus lost both his parents i i have mixed feelings, but one thing's for sure—the love between alex and isaiah hit me so. hard. first, though: can we just take a sec to appreciate this stunning cover art by alvin epps???? thank you netgalley and simon & schuster canada for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️ the cost of knowing is, above all, brittney morris' love letter to all the Black men who had to grow up too early. four years ago, alex rufus lost both his parents in a devastating accident. now, he's sixteen and doing his damnedest to keep it all together: working at the local ice cream shop, being a good boyfriend to beautiful talia, and trying his best to protect his younger brother, isaiah, who has retreated wholly into himself. on top of all this, alex has a secret. ever since the accident that took his parents, he's been able to see the future—any time his fingers brush a person or object, he has visions of what will happen to that person/object. it's less superpower and far more curse; his abilities mean that alex can never relax. every minute of every day he is on edge, terrified he will see something he shouldn't. his anxiety, bad enough without these supernatural happenings, is overwhelming. when alex sees a vision of isaiah's death, everything about the last four years comes into sharp focus. events are set into motion that alex can't stop, but he will do everything he can to save his brother—and, somehow, himself, too. ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️ thematically, this novel is so strong, so poignant. it is a celebration of Black boy joy (especially through isaiah and alex's brotherhood, and their fierce love for rapper shiv skeptic) while recognizing the heart-rending—life-or-death—injustices faced by Black boys and their loved ones. the execution, however, was a little scattered. alex's powers play a central role in the story, but i wouldn't hinge your expectations solely on the SFF aspect of the cost of knowing. the worldbuilding isn't particularly fleshed out; as a reader, you'll just have to accept things as they are told to you. when alex and isaiah discover the root of the curse and how to "fix" it, there isn't much lead-up or complexity. this might bother some readers, but for the most part i was fine with it—i was here to read about the love between the brothers, and in that regard, the cost of knowing more than delivered. another gripe i have has been mentioned by other reviewers: every time alex touches an object, he has to "cancel" the vision that emerges. this is explicitly described *every* time alex touches something or someone, and it bogged down my reading experience, even as it very effectively conveyed the pervasiveness of alex's predicament. such repetition definitely contributed to alex's—and my—mounting anxiety and frustration. moreover, i wish that alex and talia's relationship had been more equitably represented, with as much love & joy as there was strife & hurt. i felt that i was often told, by alex, how much he loved talia—but i didn't get to see as much of this effusive aspect of their relationship shown through his actions or the book's events. rather, the book depicts alex and talia going through several rough patches as alex grapples with his powers and his guilt at deceiving talia. it's clear that talia is so important to alex and that they love each other, but for most of the novel their relationship evoked more sadness, hurt, and frustration in me than other emotions. lastly—the ending of this book gave me whiplash!!!! the conclusion left me a little dazed. the pacing of the last 15% was so fast, i didn't initially believe it had happened. i didn't realize that a crucial plot point (i.e., (view spoiler)[isaiah's death; god i hate even typing that OUT (hide spoiler)] ) had just occurred until several pages later—and i had to go back to reread it to make sure it had actually happened. ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️ i want to end by talking about my absolute favourite part of the cost of knowing: alex & isaiah & their love for each other, especially as it plays out in the shiv skeptic storyline. shiv skeptic is a rapper beloved by alex, isaiah, and many people around them. he is an immensely talented lyricist and artist, and an emblem of resistance, joy, and pride for Black boys like the rufus brothers. the book's climax takes place at a shiv skeptic concert that alex and isaiah attend—and it was so phenomenally written. the last time i read such visceral writing about music was in kelly loy gilbert's when we were infinite, and brittney morris captures that same euphoria, that sense of music being bigger than me or any other individual. never is alex's love for isaiah clearer than when they are bonded through shiv skeptic's music. BOTTOM LINE: i can't wait to read Slay and anything else brittney morris writes. the cost of knowing wasn't perfect, but its themes of love and loss, Black boy joy and hurt, are undeniably important and impactful.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    TW for death of a loved one, racism, and anxiety This one is definitely a lot to read and so hard to rate. Ever since his parents died, Alex has been able to see the immediate future of anything he touches. He's learned to live with it, but it's affecting his relationships with his girlfriend and his brother, especially when he has visions off is girlfriend angry with him and his brother dying. Every single vision of his comes true, so Alex must race to spend time with his brother and protect him TW for death of a loved one, racism, and anxiety This one is definitely a lot to read and so hard to rate. Ever since his parents died, Alex has been able to see the immediate future of anything he touches. He's learned to live with it, but it's affecting his relationships with his girlfriend and his brother, especially when he has visions off is girlfriend angry with him and his brother dying. Every single vision of his comes true, so Alex must race to spend time with his brother and protect him from a world and a future that may be impossible to avoid. What was so hard about reading this book is that Alex is extremely anxious that his brother, Isaiah, it going to die at any second. It is A LOT to feel that sort of anxiety for a 300+ page book. And it continuously happened. Alex would lose sight of Isaiah for a second and he was convinced he was going to die then. I get that was the point of this book, but it was a lot to handle for the entirety of the book. I really loved, though, how close Alex and Isaiah grew throughout this book and how Alex was pushed out of his comfort zone and forced to face his fears. This was such a unique book with the special powers aspect and I even started tearing up at the end because of how emotional and emotionally exhausting this book was. I definitely recommend picking this book up if you can.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Maddie (Inking & Thinking)

    ⭐️ 3.5 Stars ⭐️ Alex Rufus is trying to do the best he can in his life. He tries to be the best employee, he tries to be the best boyfriend for Talia, and he tries to be the best brother for Isiah. But Alex always manages to come up short. For Alex, it’s hard for him to stay in the present when every object he touches shows him the future. When he touches his car, he sees it totaled and underwater. When he touches Talia, he sees them at the edge of breaking up. When Alex touches a photo of his f ⭐️ 3.5 Stars ⭐️ Alex Rufus is trying to do the best he can in his life. He tries to be the best employee, he tries to be the best boyfriend for Talia, and he tries to be the best brother for Isiah. But Alex always manages to come up short. For Alex, it’s hard for him to stay in the present when every object he touches shows him the future. When he touches his car, he sees it totaled and underwater. When he touches Talia, he sees them at the edge of breaking up. When Alex touches a photo of his family, he sees Isiah’s incoming death and everything changes. Everything about this novel was so authentic. In this book, we see issues addressed that are currently going on in our world. We see the realities of not only being black but what it’s like to be a black man. We see how African Americans get profiled and how many assumptions are being made about them off the bat. I love how the author isn’t afraid to put this issue on blast and show people what it is like for African Americans. Going off what I said in the previous paragraph, we also see this book emphasized toxic masculinity that is placed onto black men. In this book, Morris allows the boys to act like kids instead of having them grow up so fast. We see Alex struggle with this feeling like he needs to work to be a provider for his family and that if he did not, he wouldn’t be a man. By the end, Alex realizes that he doesn’t need a paycheck to provide for his family, but he can do it in other ways. He learns that the family doesn’t just need financial support, but also emotional support and that is what makes him a true man One of the things that bothered me while reading was that every time Alex had a vision; he had to cancel it. After a while thus became annoying because each time he cancelled it. And every time he cancelled it, we got the details on how it worked. Like for example, whenever Alex was working at his scoop’s visions popped up. It did bring down my reading experience, but It also helped me to understand what Alex was going through. My favourite thing about this novel has to be the relationship between Alex and Isaiah. Throughout the story, we see that at the beginning of the book that they really don’t know each other. Isaiah stays in his room all day while Alex is out at work and hanging out with Talia. Once Alex finds out about Isaiah’s imminent death, he tries to make his relationship better before Isaiah is gone. We see them bond over a rapper called Shiv and see them hang out together. It is such a sweet relationship, and you can see how much they care for each other. I love Alex as a character, and the author did such an accurate job portraying his anxiety. A great example of this is when Alex worries every second of ways Isaiah could die. Based on this, you can tell his anxiety is focusing on Isaiah’s death, and it’s hard for him to take his mind off the subject. You could tell that Alex cared so much for his loved ones and was willing to do anything for them. He had so many regrets about the things he could have done. As time passes, he learns to make peace with past regrets. Isaiah was so young but had such a burden on his back. He was a twelve-year-old kid, that has to deal with many problems that no kid that age should have to deal with. I loved how he would eat pizza bits and fruit loops. I loved how he wanted to be a rapper and when it came down to his death, it made it even harder to deal with. The last act of the book feels rushed. The entire story makes it clear what is coming next. When I was reading it, I got confused about what happened. It went by super fast, and it quickly became misleading on what was happening. When it really shouldn’t because we know what happens. In the last act, there is so much that has to happen that everything feels cramped within the few pages. But there is a scene at the end of the book dealing with past ancestors that is so beautiful, so it made the ending somewhat better. Overall, this was a good book with a few problems here and there. I would recommend you to check it out if you think this will be up your alley! TW: Blood, Mass Shooting, Gun Violence, Racism. Thank you, NetGallery for providing me with an ARC of The Cost of Knowing in exchange for an honest review! Check out my review on my blog: https://inkingandthinking.wordpress.c...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    DNF at 48% Let me just say that this is not a bad book by any means. I think it is very successful in what it's trying to do, but I wasn't expecting some things that made it difficult for me to continue reading. And maybe I should have known as it has been comped to They Both Die at the End, which I had similar feelings about. The Cost of Knowing is a love letter to Black boys, following a teen boy who has been "cursed" with the ability to see visions of the future when he touches things, ever si DNF at 48% Let me just say that this is not a bad book by any means. I think it is very successful in what it's trying to do, but I wasn't expecting some things that made it difficult for me to continue reading. And maybe I should have known as it has been comped to They Both Die at the End, which I had similar feelings about. The Cost of Knowing is a love letter to Black boys, following a teen boy who has been "cursed" with the ability to see visions of the future when he touches things, ever since his parents died in an accident. When he sees his younger brother die in a vision, he decides to make the most of the time they have left. We see them trying to navigate life through microagressions, racist profiling, and the pressures of grief and anxiety. The brothers have been really disconnected since the death of their parents and this vision pushes Alex to reach out and reforge a bond with his younger brother. Meanwhile, there is a white neighbor trying to stop a concert with a famous rapper bring "those people" into the neighborhood. There's a lot that is great about this book and I think it's going to be very valuable for people. So why am I DNFing? We are entirely in Alex's head and he is dealing with severe anxiety. Due to the vision thing, he is constantly on edge, dealing intrusive thoughts, spiraling and trying to externally keep it together. Brittney Morris does a wonderful job of viscerally depicting the experience of that kind of anxiety. And as someone who also has to manage anxiety, it was just becoming too much for me to read. So going in, do be aware that's what this book is like. It's very well executed, but for my own sake I'm not going to continue with it. I received an advance copy of this book for review via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    ✧・゚⁽⁽ଘ Shreya ଓ⁾⁾✧・゚

    ~Thank you NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!~ Joy in the face of oppression is its own kind of bravery. My Rating: 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This was my first ARC review with Netgalley and it was amazing! First Impressions\Overall Thoughts: This book drew me in from the start. I absolutely loved how it had fantasy elements while also being centered around real-life issues such as racism, the danger of stereotypes, anxiety, and grief. Brittny Morris did a gre ~Thank you NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!~ Joy in the face of oppression is its own kind of bravery. My Rating: 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This was my first ARC review with Netgalley and it was amazing! First Impressions\Overall Thoughts: This book drew me in from the start. I absolutely loved how it had fantasy elements while also being centered around real-life issues such as racism, the danger of stereotypes, anxiety, and grief. Brittny Morris did a great job of weaving all the elements together in a way that left me wanting more and “flipping” pages as quickly as humanly possible. Characters: Alex’s character with his anxiety and regrets and also his love for those around him was written perfectly. From page one, I wanted to know what was going to happen to him. I have to admit though that Isaiah was my favorite character. He was just so thoughtful and funny and so twelve-year-old boyish that I wanted him to stay like that forever. I was rooting for him and hoping with everything in me that Alex would be able to protect him. Emotions: Alex’s relationship with his brother Isaiah was so so beautiful that it left me wanting to cry even when they weren’t talking about something sad. I loved reading about how they started off barely talking to each other but slowly opened up and began to share their feelings and experiences with each other. The anxiety and grief that the characters were feeling were portrayed so well that it felt as real as if I were really them. But the nice scenes with them together were just as breathtaking. This book gave a fresh take on an important issue and I’m looking forward to its official release into the world! ✨ You can find this review and others on my blog!✨

  8. 5 out of 5

    sol

    this cover makes me remember how much i love men.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marieke du Pré

    It’s okay to be afraid of the future. It’s okay to be anxious. Men get anxious. Men are afraid sometimes. The Cost of Knowing is an incredibly powerful story. It’s about toxic masculinity. It’s about brotherhood. It’s about love. But above all, it’s about a Black boy who is never carefree. Imagine: being Black and male. Always being afraid. Being worried all the time. Being anxious. Imagine: touching someone and then envisioning what will happen. A break-up, someone in trouble, someone dying. Imagin It’s okay to be afraid of the future. It’s okay to be anxious. Men get anxious. Men are afraid sometimes. The Cost of Knowing is an incredibly powerful story. It’s about toxic masculinity. It’s about brotherhood. It’s about love. But above all, it’s about a Black boy who is never carefree. Imagine: being Black and male. Always being afraid. Being worried all the time. Being anxious. Imagine: touching someone and then envisioning what will happen. A break-up, someone in trouble, someone dying. Imagine: losing your parents, then losing your best friend, and then envisioning the burial of your brother. I loved how Brittney Morris used the visions that Alex had and what those visions did to him to tell the message of this book. The constant worrying, the anxiety. I loved Alex. I loved the bond between Alex and Isaiah, both coping in different ways after the death of their parents. I loved how the boys grew to each other after Alex got a vision that Isaiah would die. I loved that Isaiah also took care of his older brother: It’s okay if you’re not okay. But ... you should probably tell someone you’re not. And, I guess, since we’re brothers ... you could tell me? I got a lump in my throat and eventually cried when Alex said that white women are just as scary to him as the police. I feel ashamed that Black boys have to feel like this. And I understand why they do. I’ll probably never really know what they feel because I’ll never get to experience what they go through, only because they’re Black and I am white. When I started reading this story, I expected it to be a 4 star read. But when you root for these boys so much, and feel ashamed yourself, it’s impossible to give less than 5 stars. Right?

  10. 4 out of 5

    BookNightOwl

    The cost of knowing is about a brother who can see into the future simply by touching something. So when he sees a glimpse of his brother dying he decides there is things In his life that need to change. I felt this was well written. I loved the sibling love and also the different topics it covered. I gave this an A-

  11. 5 out of 5

    Anika | Chapters of May

    The Cost of Knowing is a gripping YA story that explores brotherhood, prejudice, and resilience from the author of SLAY. The Cost of Knowing follows sixteen-year-old Alex Rufus and his brother, Isaiah. Years ago, their parents were killed in a car accident, leaving Alex and Isaiah to be raised by their aunt in Chicago. After traumatic loss, Alex finds he has the ability to see the future through touch, and after picking up an old family photo, he has a vision that tells him Isaiah might die. Now The Cost of Knowing is a gripping YA story that explores brotherhood, prejudice, and resilience from the author of SLAY. The Cost of Knowing follows sixteen-year-old Alex Rufus and his brother, Isaiah. Years ago, their parents were killed in a car accident, leaving Alex and Isaiah to be raised by their aunt in Chicago. After traumatic loss, Alex finds he has the ability to see the future through touch, and after picking up an old family photo, he has a vision that tells him Isaiah might die. Now Alex has to prevent the unpreventable, in a biased world that already sees him as a danger. SLAY was a favourite for me, not just because of its sci-fi aspect, but because it’s a thought-provoking and relatable read. I love the way the author weaves themes to create such an impactful story. The Cost of Knowing portrays the effects of trauma over time, but is laced with a fantasy element that creates and engaging storyline. It carries weight and emotion as it dives into the Black experience in America, the injustices of today’s society, and familial bonds. Additionally, this unique story has a vivid array of personalities that bring a hopeful and joyful tone to the book, which balance out really well with the more intense and traumatic scenes. I love the complexity of Alex’s character in particular, especially when it comes to showing vulnerability and grappling with the idea of what it means to be a man. Morris also paints an inarguably accurate picture through the protagonist’s anxiety, as for him, seeing the future is a curse rather than a superpower. With a collection of hard truths, Brittney Morris has created yet another influential, expressive, heart-stirring novel. Her words are undeniably impactful in this timely and poignant tale.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bookishrealm

    Brittney Morris is determined to screw up my soul and my heart. I knew that this was going to be sad, but I don't think I realized how sad this was truly going to be. 4.5 Stars In the beginning of The Cost of Knowing, Brittney Morris identifies this book as a love letter to Black boys. Some people will feel like this isn't a love letter and that it focuses too much on the trauma of Black boys and men. However, when I thought about this more I feel like this love letter is meant to say "we see you Brittney Morris is determined to screw up my soul and my heart. I knew that this was going to be sad, but I don't think I realized how sad this was truly going to be. 4.5 Stars In the beginning of The Cost of Knowing, Brittney Morris identifies this book as a love letter to Black boys. Some people will feel like this isn't a love letter and that it focuses too much on the trauma of Black boys and men. However, when I thought about this more I feel like this love letter is meant to say "we see you, we feel you, and we recognize how much you go through." It's a letter that let's them know they aren't alone. I've been telling people that this book won't be for everyone. The nature of the book itself is intense and I feel like those with anxiety may struggle with the anxiety representation because it literally makes the reader feel heavy. I don't struggle with anxiety and there were aspects of this book that made it very difficult to read. Nevertheless, this illustrates the ability of Morris to capture the feelings that a lot of Black boys and men experience. The book itself focuses on Alex who has the ability to see into the future. If any object crosses into his hands, Alex can see the future of that object. It makes his daily life extremely difficult to navigate and it gets even more intense when he sees a vision of his brothers death. Alex is then determined to stop it from happening. The level of anxiety that he feels in trying to stop it is what will probably make this a difficult read for a lot of people. Alex constantly worries and stresses over the ways in which his brother could possibly die and the strategies that he has to use to stop it from happening. This is probably where it's most important to see the allegory. The stress and anxiety that Alex feels in relation to his brothers life is the same feelings that a lot of Black men and boys carry. It's stifling to have to live your life day to day fearing that you or your loved ones could die at any point. It's hard to enjoy anything. The Cost of Knowing also does some interesting thing in terms of exploring the Black family unit and the generational trauma that we often experience. The fears that our ancestors had are not that different from the fears that we have now. Because of the trauma that we face, we often condition and teach our children to have the same fears in order to attempt to protect their lives. This is clearly illustrated through the relationship that Alex and Isaiah have with their own family. Morris doesn't shy away from showing how this continues to and will continue to impact the Black community. I wouldn't say that there is a specific pacing to this novel. It doesn't feel exclusively fast or slow. It feels like it could be a little bit of both depending on the specific part of the book. The ending definitely had my heart racing and shattered me to pieces. Overall, I just think that this book is brilliantly written. To be able to craft so much emotion into a book really shows the skills that Morris has. I didn't expect the varying emotions that I felt from anger to painful sorrow. This book weighed on me and it is one that will stick with me for a long time.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    Kinda Oedipus Rex-y, without any sex... y. Alex is keeping a big secret. Since his parents died in a car accident 4 years ago, he's been able to see the future of anything his hands touch. The ability is so overwhelming that he's become reclusive from his Aunt Mackie, his girlfriend Talia, and even his little brother Isaiah. But Isaiah has become distant too. He doesn't have friends anymore, and only talks to Alex when he has to. One day, Alex's vision shows him at Isaiah's funeral. In an instant Kinda Oedipus Rex-y, without any sex... y. Alex is keeping a big secret. Since his parents died in a car accident 4 years ago, he's been able to see the future of anything his hands touch. The ability is so overwhelming that he's become reclusive from his Aunt Mackie, his girlfriend Talia, and even his little brother Isaiah. But Isaiah has become distant too. He doesn't have friends anymore, and only talks to Alex when he has to. One day, Alex's vision shows him at Isaiah's funeral. In an instant, his ability goes from overwhelming to an all-consuming curse where every moment is spent worrying and protecting Isaiah from danger. This book had some good ideas. I loved the brothers - they used to be close, but tragedy and the supernatural have put a wedge between them. The very best part of this is book is their journey, and all the love for each other that's just been waiting. I also liked the ability/curse element, especially the idea that knowing the unknowable, whether it's the future or the past, wasn't meant for us, that we weren't built to hold onto so much unpreventable heartache. I also liked that Morris didn't shy away from the concept that efforts to prevent your fate could be its catalyst. Unpreventable heartache... that brings me to my biggest detraction. The narrative was very tedious, especially the beginning chapters that took place in the ice cream shop. Brittney Morris goes into so much of the indecision and what-ifs from knowing the future that I honestly almost DNF'd during the first chapter. So annoyingly repetitive. So! A little rough, but overall an interesting idea. (view spoiler)[And the ending sucked, so there's that, too. (hide spoiler)]

  14. 5 out of 5

    Books and More with Kristin G

    3.5 stars!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    When I first saw The Cost of Knowing the cover blew me away! Gorgeous rendition by illustrator Alvin Epps showing two beautiful young black men. Alex and Isaiah are brothers. They have lost their parents in a car accident. Life obviously has not been the same since their parents death. Each has found their own coping strategies. I loved how Morris developed the relationship between the two brothers. Their closeness, Alex's protectiveness and how he chooses to spend time with Isaiah were a beautif When I first saw The Cost of Knowing the cover blew me away! Gorgeous rendition by illustrator Alvin Epps showing two beautiful young black men. Alex and Isaiah are brothers. They have lost their parents in a car accident. Life obviously has not been the same since their parents death. Each has found their own coping strategies. I loved how Morris developed the relationship between the two brothers. Their closeness, Alex's protectiveness and how he chooses to spend time with Isaiah were a beautiful show of brotherly love. Both brothers have the gift (or curse) of sight. Alex can see into the future. When he touches an object he can see its fate or the fate of a person connected to that object. He learns that not all futures are rosy and bright and starts to fear these visions. He does everything in his power to prevent any accidental contact with objects after he becomes aware that he is powerless to change the future. Another great aspect of the book is how Morris deals with "blood memory" and the impact that trauma has throughout the generations. She dedicates the book to all the black men who had to become adults before their time. The real curse for Black boys she says is that they are forced to pay this "cost of knowing" that everyone else has already outlined and dictated their futures for them . . . and usually the picture they have painted is bleak.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    This book wrecked me, but in a way that it probably needs to. Alex is a young man with the gift, and curse, of seeing future events when he touches someone or an item. As much as he is able, he tries to not touch people he loves, not after he saw his best friend's death and was unable to stop it. But an accidental touch of a photograph shows him mourning at his younger brother's grave site. Alex is devastated, and determined to spend as much time with his brother as possible after spending years This book wrecked me, but in a way that it probably needs to. Alex is a young man with the gift, and curse, of seeing future events when he touches someone or an item. As much as he is able, he tries to not touch people he loves, not after he saw his best friend's death and was unable to stop it. But an accidental touch of a photograph shows him mourning at his younger brother's grave site. Alex is devastated, and determined to spend as much time with his brother as possible after spending years keeping him at arms length. Danger seems everywhere, especially because Alex and his brother Isaiah are two black kids in a mostly white neighborhood. Their next door neighbor shoots a young black male when he sees him attempting to break into a house, a popular rapper's upcoming concert is suddenly a crusade for the Karens (in this case an actual Karen) of the neighborhood to stop "bad influences" from coming in, and the clock is ticking for Isaiah. How does a young teen navigate a world that sees him and his brother always as a criminal, a danger, something to fear and something to destroy? I was a puddle of tears by the end, but damn, this book is powerful. I hope someday Brittney Morris gets to write her book purely about black boy joy, but we can't get there as a society until we all know and acknowledge and then do something to make our society a safe place for boys like Alex and Isaiah.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sana

    'Two brothers are cursed. Alex can see the future. Isaiah can see the past. When Alex, the older, sees a vision of Isaiah dying in a few days, cue a race against time to track where this family curse came from & figure out what it means to be a Black boy in the present.' I can't waitttt Source 'Two brothers are cursed. Alex can see the future. Isaiah can see the past. When Alex, the older, sees a vision of Isaiah dying in a few days, cue a race against time to track where this family curse came from & figure out what it means to be a Black boy in the present.' I can't waitttt Source

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nay Denise

    Going with a 4.5 star rating. This was such a heart wrenching book. I wasn't fully invested until the last half of the book. The "magic" aspect of seeing into the future and the past was interesting. I enjoyed Alex and the mental health representation with his anxiety. I think Alex handled himself as well as he could. He was dealt a terrible hand. I think Isaiah was such a precious child. Talia was low-key annoying...I could have did without her honestly. The Zaccari's....there are no words for h Going with a 4.5 star rating. This was such a heart wrenching book. I wasn't fully invested until the last half of the book. The "magic" aspect of seeing into the future and the past was interesting. I enjoyed Alex and the mental health representation with his anxiety. I think Alex handled himself as well as he could. He was dealt a terrible hand. I think Isaiah was such a precious child. Talia was low-key annoying...I could have did without her honestly. The Zaccari's....there are no words for how much I want to smack the wife and seriously burn the husband. Disgusting human beings honestly. Aunt Mackie was a sweet woman. The writing was amazing, the plot was nerve-wrecking, the romance was unneeded. The talk on young black boys, racism and prejudice was absolutely well done!!! I could see me having my son read this when he gets older. Definitely a great read! Recommend for sure.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    So damn emotional and tragic... Brittney Morris is such an amazing author I will read everything she puts out

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review. First off, let's get this out of the way. Slay was incredible. I genuinely couldn't believe it was Morris's debut when I read it. The Cost of Knowing is so good that it managed to remind me that Slay was a debut. 16-year-old Alex is trying to navigate having a girlfriend, part-time job, his relationship with his aunt and brother, and the expectations of his dead parents. That's all a lot even for kids without magical c Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review. First off, let's get this out of the way. Slay was incredible. I genuinely couldn't believe it was Morris's debut when I read it. The Cost of Knowing is so good that it managed to remind me that Slay was a debut. 16-year-old Alex is trying to navigate having a girlfriend, part-time job, his relationship with his aunt and brother, and the expectations of his dead parents. That's all a lot even for kids without magical curses. Alex sees the future of everything he touches and as a result, does everything he can to keep from touching anything and anyone. it's lead to conflict with his girlfriend and job but luckily he doesn't have to do much to avoid touching his 12-year-old brother Isaiah since he stays in his room most days anyway. When Alex accidentally touches an object that shows him his brothers incoming and unavoidable death, he decide to do everything in his power to do everything in his power to keep his brother as safe and happy as possible for as long as possible. And maybe he'll break a curse around the way. The way Morris interweaves racial tensions and issues with this book's curse elements and Alex's relationship with all the other characters is stunning. Knowing that Isaiah's probably going to die never once takes away from the growing dread of knowing we must be getting closer and closer to his death, and I loved how everything plays out. Whether or not you were obsessed with Slay, you need to read this.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Turnbull

    The Cost of Knowing is a gut-wrenching tale of generational trauma, racial profiling, grief, racism, and loss. It's the story of Alex and what it's like for him to be a Black boy in America. Overwhelmed by anxiety since his parents' death, Alex is just trying to survive each day. Visions of the future come unbidden with every touch of his palm, amplifying his worry. When he sees a vision of his younger brother's imminent death, Alex resolves to spend whatever time he has left bringing Isaiah the The Cost of Knowing is a gut-wrenching tale of generational trauma, racial profiling, grief, racism, and loss. It's the story of Alex and what it's like for him to be a Black boy in America. Overwhelmed by anxiety since his parents' death, Alex is just trying to survive each day. Visions of the future come unbidden with every touch of his palm, amplifying his worry. When he sees a vision of his younger brother's imminent death, Alex resolves to spend whatever time he has left bringing Isaiah the joy he deserves. This story is heartbreaking, all the more so because it echoes the experience of so many young Black people in America. The pain and fear Alex lives with is not an exaggeration or an overreaction, and this novel does not turn away from that injustice. This book broke me. I haven't sobbed so much while reading in a long time. But it's also so necessary for people like me, a white woman born into a level of privilege and safety I did nothing to earn, to confront. "Well-meaning" white people aren't free from blame. Our whiteness guards us against seeing and understanding the truth of what our ignorance and fear do to those with marginalized bodies. We need to open our eyes. It's long overdue. Brittney Morris tells Alex's story with compassion, vulnerability, and strength. And it's a story that needs to be heard. Trigger Warnings: death, murder, gun violence, racial profiling, racism, loss of parents, child death, brief mentions of slavery and rape Thank you to Netgalley for providing an ARC for review. All opinions are my own.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Thee Princess

    I will write a more detailed review for this book but for now it is a 3.5 out of 5 stars. Do I feel like everyone should read this? Yes I do. Was it super enjoyable? No not really. As a black woman it made me uncomfortable being in the head of a 16 year old black man. Not bad uncomfortable but uncomfortable in the sense of this is not something I’m used to thinking about. I love how Brittney explained this book in the acknowledgments. Black-boy-joy-despite. As I stated before a more detailed rev I will write a more detailed review for this book but for now it is a 3.5 out of 5 stars. Do I feel like everyone should read this? Yes I do. Was it super enjoyable? No not really. As a black woman it made me uncomfortable being in the head of a 16 year old black man. Not bad uncomfortable but uncomfortable in the sense of this is not something I’m used to thinking about. I love how Brittney explained this book in the acknowledgments. Black-boy-joy-despite. As I stated before a more detailed review to come but trigger warning for trauma and death. That’s all you getting from me read this book and come back for a more detailed review later.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Taylor (Taylor Talks Tales)

    Actual rating 4.25 stars out of 5. Full review to come later, but I really enjoyed this one!

  24. 4 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: racism, suicidal ideation, self-harm, anxiety The Cost of Knowing explores the concept of the future. If you had the ability to see a snippet of the future, what would you do? I feel like we think about this often, but the actual manifestation of it, and Alex's powers, would actually be terrifying. How would we divert, or prevent, the future? How would we know how much of our life (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: racism, suicidal ideation, self-harm, anxiety The Cost of Knowing explores the concept of the future. If you had the ability to see a snippet of the future, what would you do? I feel like we think about this often, but the actual manifestation of it, and Alex's powers, would actually be terrifying. How would we divert, or prevent, the future? How would we know how much of our life was our own decision, or just destiny? Is there a difference? The Cost of Knowing has this fabulous world building seed that has all these ramifications. Is Alex's power a gift or a curse? In our world where touch is fraught with health concerns, for Alex he risks seeing our future in the simplest of gestures. Can you even imagine how that would be? Alex is saddled with not only this heavy mental, and emotional, burden, but also the weight and anxiety of the future. He's very literally afraid of reaching out to because of the knowledge of what could be. The Cost of Knowing is a unique and thought provoking book as it explores this concept and the ripples it leaves. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laisea (grayscalebooks)

    3.5 ✨ rounded up. There were many parts of this book that I loved — the superpowers, the relationship between Alex and Isaiah (and Aunt Mackie!), the Black boy joy, and so many thematic elements (toxic masculinity, covert racism, generational trauma, the dehumanization of Black children, etc etc etc). I strongly considered rating it higher than 3.5 because a book that covers alllll of that definitely deserves credit. Unfortunately, like many other readers, I felt like I was going through the mir 3.5 ✨ rounded up. There were many parts of this book that I loved — the superpowers, the relationship between Alex and Isaiah (and Aunt Mackie!), the Black boy joy, and so many thematic elements (toxic masculinity, covert racism, generational trauma, the dehumanization of Black children, etc etc etc). I strongly considered rating it higher than 3.5 because a book that covers alllll of that definitely deserves credit. Unfortunately, like many other readers, I felt like I was going through the mire until the last 100 pages or so. Morris substituted world-building and a strong grasp on Alex’s “visions” for constant, unending descriptions of these visions and the subsequent “cancelling” of all of them. Each vision is supposed to take roughly one second, but they alone took up hours of my life through those first 200 pages. There was a lot of character development, which we love to see, but everything Alex did or said felt really hollow; he was saying and doing all the right things, but without any feeling. The writing and the description in this one definitely needed a lot of work. There are A LOT of emotions for Alex to run through in this book — devastation, fear, sadness, regret, etc — and he conveys these things but it’s not believable. The last 100 or so pages was a definite improvement, but considering it holds the bulk of the plot, everything happens in rapid succession. Morris really made up for lost time. It was definitely the best part of the book but it didn’t really feel like enough to justify the rest. Overall, I feel like The Cost of Knowing had a really great premise and some excellent characters, but a lot was lacking in the execution.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    “Joy in the face of oppression is its own kind of bravery. But so is sitting in front of the thing that scares you and not running” (09:30:22). This is Brittney Morris’ love letter to Black men who had to grow up too soon.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Claire Tierney

    Picked this up because I had heard great things about Slay (which is on my end of year TBR pile). Also because it's so rare (is it just me?) to read YA with a male protagonist and I was intrigued by Alex's visions into the future. This book was so sad but yet such a good read. The weight of the past and the anxiety which the future holds especially given Alex's gift/curse is so prevalent and constantly makes you think: What would I do? The characters' grief is terribly raw and maybe that's why th Picked this up because I had heard great things about Slay (which is on my end of year TBR pile). Also because it's so rare (is it just me?) to read YA with a male protagonist and I was intrigued by Alex's visions into the future. This book was so sad but yet such a good read. The weight of the past and the anxiety which the future holds especially given Alex's gift/curse is so prevalent and constantly makes you think: What would I do? The characters' grief is terribly raw and maybe that's why the pace is a little slower than I expected, to let us readers "digest" everything that is going on, maybe even to let us go through the process with them? Brittney Morris has written a powerful novel for all the black boys who have/had to grow up too fast, to reiterate what we don't hear often enough: it's absolutely ok for a boy/man to cry and to show his emotions. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 This book is out in March 2021, so keep your eyes peeled 👀 Thank you to netgalley and Hachettekids for this ARC copy in return for my honest review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cass

    Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for providing a copy of the ebook in exchange for an honest review. ★★★ Whoever makes the rules controls the narrative. Brittney Morris is incredibly talented; there’s no denying that. There are a lot of wonderful things going on in this novel — finding joy in the face of trauma, ruminating on what is inherited from our ancestors, and forgiving our past choices. For those bits alone, this is a special story. Make no mistake — it is remarkably sad, but it Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for providing a copy of the ebook in exchange for an honest review. ★★★ Whoever makes the rules controls the narrative. Brittney Morris is incredibly talented; there’s no denying that. There are a lot of wonderful things going on in this novel — finding joy in the face of trauma, ruminating on what is inherited from our ancestors, and forgiving our past choices. For those bits alone, this is a special story. Make no mistake — it is remarkably sad, but it is also hopeful. Alex and Isaiah are such vivid characters who hop straight off the page. Even Talia, Alex’s girlfriend, is a delight. I’ll be thinking about them for a long while. More than that, I’ll be thinking about the men they’ve come from — all those stories and heartbreaks, from tribal ancestry to the twenty-first century, written so beautifully. Of everything in this novel, the discussion about Alex and Isaiah’s powers in relation to their ancestors’ choices was most fascinating. I wish we had gotten more of it, because there was clearly so much to mine there. Unfortunately, there were some large issues here, for my particular sensibilities. What stands out most prominently is that the novel relies on repetition in some respects, which I wasn’t a fan of. I understand and respect that the portrayal of Alex’s anxiety is likely accurate, but his spirals are exhausting to get through. There are many, many moments of panic over the many ways Isaiah can die, from the mundane to the extreme. There are many, many moments when Alex’s inner monologue repeats how important these last days with Isaiah are. It’s a lot, more than noticeable. Repetition also features prominently with regards to Alex’s powers. Alex sees the future of absolutely everything and everyone he touches with his palms, from the most useless of inanimate objects to human beings. Every time he touches something meaningless, the narrative mentions he has, mentions that he “cancels” the vision that starts, and on and on and on. So, for example, when Alex is working through a shift at the ice cream shop, you’re reading about him grabbing his apron, vision, grabbing the ice cream scoop, vision, and on and on. Eventually, it started to get to me. This, too, takes up so much of the novel. Finally, the last act is really rushed in this one. Yes, the synopsis and the entire story are clear about what is coming. But when it does come, it really doesn’t feel like all of the emotions and complications at the center of it are covered. There’s too much to accomplish in too few pages — with regards to Alex’s relationships with both Isaiah and Shaun — and so the emotional climax of the book really suffers. That being said, there is a really beautiful scene concerning ancestral connection at this point that is my favorite in the entire novel. So, not all bad. Like I said, despite my problems, there is a whole lot of good here. I can’t wait to pick up Morris’ debut, SLAY, and will keep an eye out for anything else she publishes in the future. She’s a talent with some really riveting ideas.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cassie

    The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris is an intense journey through brotherly love, anxieties and fears of the future, and the importance of our ancestors. {Thanks to Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for my advanced digital copy in exchange for my honest review.} There are so many fantastic elements to this book that I really enjoyed, despite wanting to put the book down to take a break from the intensity of the emotion. I love how Alex and Isaiah's ancestors were tied into The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris is an intense journey through brotherly love, anxieties and fears of the future, and the importance of our ancestors. {Thanks to Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for my advanced digital copy in exchange for my honest review.} There are so many fantastic elements to this book that I really enjoyed, despite wanting to put the book down to take a break from the intensity of the emotion. I love how Alex and Isaiah's ancestors were tied into the story, and how they carry the burdens of those who came before. It's such a powerful image of love, strength, and kinship. I was on the edge of my seat for the last half of the book - a lot happens that is intense and traumatic. I really had to take a few breaks, because the content at the end is really heavy. But I kept coming back to see if the bond that grew stronger between the brothers was enough to help them survive in the end. What brought the rating down for me was a bit of slow pacing in the first half, and repetition in Alex's thought patterns. The resolution also feels suddenly rushed, and not emotional and complex enough in a few spots for the actions that have transpired. Another chapter of digging into the aftermath would have felt like a more stable and realistic ending - there's just too much to cover in regards to tying up all the relationships. There is, however, an unexpected scene with Alex's ancestors that was really powerful. I especially appreciate how the title “The Cost of Knowing” can be applied to every character in the end, and analyzed differently for each. The Author's Note is also a must-read for some added context. Overall, despite a few issues, this book is really strong and has some brilliant ideas. I will read whatever Morris publishes in the future, and plan to read her debut, Slay, this month as well.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Barnes

    I know nothing about this book, other than that it's by Brittney Morris, and so that means it will be amazing and I can't wait to read it! I know nothing about this book, other than that it's by Brittney Morris, and so that means it will be amazing and I can't wait to read it!

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