The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
Since his parents’ death in a car crash, Black sixteen-year-old Alex Rufus has somehow developed the ability to see the future of any object or person his hand touches. Seeing himself scooping ice cream whenever he touches the handle of a scoop at work is not much more than a nuisance, but with every inadvertent foreseeing, Alex becomes more certain that his abilities are a curse. When Alex touches a family photo and sees a series of events leading to his brother Isaiah’s death, he resolves to do something, anything, to repair their relationship and save Izzy in what little time he has left.
The Cost of Knowing is the bittersweet story of Alex’s coming to terms with his family history and fighting the curse of his foreknowledge and what it reveals about the fates of those he loves. Finding his own path in life is complicated by everything he knows others expect of him, including growing up as a young Black male in America. Morris has written a compelling examination of the many factors that shape us: from age to race, from the expectations of others to our own anxieties, and from the relationships we’ve lost to the ones we know are worth preserving. Her characters are complex and introspective, acknowledging their vulnerability and sharing their love for each other in this moving story celebrating family and being your authentic self.
Give to readers who are looking for a book combining elements of speculative fiction with an examination of prejudice/racism and learning to be true to yourself such as Justin A. Reynolds’ Early Departures. Other recommended pairings include Nic Stone’s Dear Martin and Dear Justyce, Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams, and Adam Silvera’s They Both Die at the End.
— Matthew J. Clark (he/him/his)
Other Nominated Titles
- Daughters of Jubilation by Kara Lee Corthron (October 13, 2020)
- We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire by Joy McCullough (February 9, 2021)
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.