Kid’s Book Review: The Cost of Knowing

Kid’s Book Review: The Cost of Knowing

About the Book and Author

This is a gripping YA novel, about brothers, grief, and what it means to be a young Black man in America by acclaimed writer Brittany Morris. It is published in the UK by Hachette.

Sixteen year old Alex Rufus lives with his younger brother, Isaiah, in a quiet neighbourhood in Chicago. Recently their neighbours have started calling the cops on anyone who doesn’t look like their version of safe. Alex starts avoiding his neighbourhood by taking on more shifts at the local ice-cream shop, and spending time with his girlfriend. But when Alex picks up an old family photo, everything changes: he has an intense vision that Isaiah might die.

Alex wants to save Isaiah, as his special powers mean that he knows the dangers of the future. How will he protect his brother when the street they grew up on doesn’t feel like home anymore?

As Becky, our young reviewer observes, “It is a fitting book to read in the current climate, when we are all thinking and talking about racism and prejudice” and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Cost of Knowing cover
Brittney Morris

Brittney Morris is the author of SLAY, THE COST OF KNOWING, MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN: MILES MORALES – WINGS OF FURY, and she’s written for video games including The Lost Legends of Redwall and Subnautica: Below Zero. She has a BA in economics from Boston University and I spends my spare time reading, playing indie video games, and enjoying the rain from my home in Philly, USA.

Visit her website to discover more of her books.

Book Review

It is written so well that you want to read it in one sitting and you don’t want to put it down

The Cost of Knowing is a brilliant book. At first I was sceptical as to whether I would enjoy it, as I tend to not like books with supernatural twists. But I was intrigued when I read in the blurb that it tackled issues like racism. As the past year has been concerned with movements likes Black Lives Matter I was curious and wanted to give it a go. I am very happy that I did. Racism and ignorant behaviour play a huge part in this book. But other issues are also tackled. For instance, stereotypes. Throughout The Cost of Knowing stereotypes within households and genders are also questioned. I think this is very important.

The Cost of Knowing is about brothers Isaiah (12) and Alex (16). It balances the teenage-almost adult and the child-almost teenager lives so well. These brothers used to be so close until a tragic accident left them as orphans and also tore them apart. Despite this, we see them in the book tearing down their barriers and bonding again over music. This book is rich in African-American culture and history, with Brittney Morris writing extensively about music, slavery and the growing hostility towards people seen as being different in their neighbourhood. An added layer to this book is that Alex has special powers which we see him struggling to control and understand; in this book having powers is not a gift, it is ‘a curse’.

When I read this book I cried buckets in certain places, but that is no bad thing. It just shows how gripping and engaging The Cost of Knowing is. I don’t particularly like sad books, but I think that Brittney Morris handles the sadness in the book so well: there is always a glimmer of hope after the despair. This makes the book so moving and powerful. It is written so well that you want to read it in one sitting and you don’t want to put it down.

This book teaches us that anything can happen and that life and circumstances can change. That we need to come to terms with, and accept, who we are and the circumstances around us. Yet, it also shows that fighting for what you believe in is important to do. It is a fitting book to read in the current climate, when we are all thinking and talking about racism and prejudice.

I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone around the age of 12 and over. Adults would enjoy it too.

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Reviewer Profile

  • Name: Becky
  • Age: 12 Years
  • Likes: walking my dog, pizza, playing music
  • Dislikes: marmalade and playing Monopoly!
  • Favourite Book: The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall
  • Favourite Song: Piano Man by Billy Joel
  • Favourite Film: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers