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The Cost of Knowing - Review

*I received this e-arc from Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers for the Colored Pages Tour. All views are my own*

After reading The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris, I didn't know how difficult it would be not to discuss the book and all of its contents. Who knew it would bring the discussion bubble out of me? Maybe after the book debuts, I'll make an exclusive column for those who want to talk about it with me, but you're going to get this spoiler-free review for now.

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 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.

First, let me fangirl on this cover. This blue and red canvas are alluring! Cover designer Alvin Epps poured his soul into the creation. It also has a deeper meaning I'd hope to discuss and not spoil it for anyone who wants to talk about it. *wink wink*

The Cost of Knowing is a book full of worry and anxiety. Alex, who has the power to see in the future, is every bit apprehensive whenever he touches something with his palms. Even though the synopsis warned me that there would be some "magical realism" in the story, I didn't expect it to be… this. He can touch the smallest of inanimate objects and get a vision of coming in contact with it. Every time I think people have the power to see into the future, my mind automatically thinks of Final Destination. His endowment seemed more like Deja Vu than a vision, and frankly, how he handles his gift/curse annoyed me. But how would you deal with your pre-touch premonitions if you had them?

Once you get past the surface level of fear, Morris tries to show a different side of men, Black men to be specific, and how they handle emotion. I loved this. Society has raised us to believe that men are this solid providing being who should take care of anything, no matter the cost or circumstance. Morris wanted to break this myth and show a different side of man. Sometimes you have the providers, and most times, you have people like Alex.

Repetition seems to be an unrelated theme in the story. The positive: Morris lacing the story with hard-hitting mantras and righting wrongs. Alex realizes that he's been neglecting his brother, so he decided to change that. He also looks back to his father's words and teachings and adds on the lessons to tailor the meaning to his life. The negative" Alex's wild imagination of his brother's demise and "canceling out a vision" was exhausting. I believe I sped read through those paragraphs to get back to the normality of the story.

Overall I rated this book 3.5-stars. I loved the story's message, the relationship between the characters, and the small history lesson on the Rufus family curse. My nerves were irked with the unnecessary minuscule visions and the wild assumptions of what could happen, and I don't think the epilogue was needed. But Morris did well showing her version of the "black-boy-joy-despite" book. The Cost of Knowing is available on April 6, 2021.

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