cover image The Cost of Knowing

The Cost of Knowing

Brittney Morris. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-5344-4545-1

Since surviving the car accident that killed his parents four years ago, Chicagoan Alex Rufus, 16, has secretly lived with near-constant anxiety as well as a “curse”—psychic visions that show him the future of anything or anyone his palm touches. Faced with a vision of his solitary 12-year-old brother Isaiah’s impending death, Alex throws himself into bridging the gap grief drove between them before time runs out. But Alex isn’t the only Rufus with secrets, or with powers, and it will take both siblings, together, to tackle the curses that have ruled their young lives. Morris (Slay) delivers a searing indictment of respectability politics as seen through the eyes of two Black boys with every reason to fear the anti-Black society in which they live and in which generations of their ancestors have died. Despite some muddled worldbuilding around the Rufuses’ powers, 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. Ages 12–up. [em]Agents: Quressa Robinson and Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary. (Apr.) [/em]