Having loved Slay, Morris has made it into my list of authors I need to keep reading. The Cost of Knowing is a fabulous fantasy book that examines mental health, racism, and family. It’s an emotional book that had me tearing up multiple times. While I had a small issue with pacing, I can wholeheartedly recommend for its unique and powerful message. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts!
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.
(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.
At the same time, Morris introduces even more weight into The Cost of Knowing. Alex struggles with the weight of his relationship with his girlfriend, his brother’s imminent death, and his own job. Everyone is counting on him and we can see all the pieces of himself that tug. Morris also discusses the racism of neighbors. How it’s veiled, but how we can recognize the prejudice while also trying to disguise it. Within The Cost of Knowing Morris also examines the racism against black boys, the history of racism (the pain, fear, and oppression). To know that there’s a cost to knowledge. That some people will never understand what it’s like to be black boys, to grow up experiencing racism, to have that change us.
The Cost of Knowing is also about having to face our fears. To not letting them control us, keep us trapped in their cycles. We can be anxious about the future, honor our past, but it’s also important to live. To move forwards in our life with this knowledge. We need to speak up and show up for ourselves, and the community, to find our voice. It’s a stunning book which is thoughtful, emotional, and compelling. Find The Cost of Knowing on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.