Author Tiffany D. Jackson ramps up the horror and tackles America’s history and legacy of racism in this YA novel following a biracial teenager as her Georgia high school hosts its first integrated prom.
When Springville residents—at least the ones still alive—are questioned about what happened on prom night, they all have the same explanation… Maddy did it.
An outcast at her small-town Georgia high school, Madison Washington has always been a teasing target for bullies. And she’s dealt with it because she has more pressing problems to manage. Until the morning a surprise rainstorm reveals her most closely kept secret: Maddy is biracial. She has been passing for white her entire life at the behest of her fanatical white father, Thomas Washington.
After a viral bullying video pulls back the curtain on Springville High’s racist roots, student leaders come up with a plan to change their image: host the school’s first integrated prom as a show of unity. The popular white class president convinces her Black superstar quarterback boyfriend to ask Maddy to be his date, leaving Maddy wondering if it’s possible to have a normal life.
But some of her classmates aren’t done with her just yet. And what they don’t know is that Maddy still has another secret… one that will cost them all their lives.
Title : The Weight of Blood
Author : Tiffany D. Jackson
Format : ARC
Page Count : 416
Genre : YA horror / retellings
Publisher : Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date : September 6, 2022
Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5
Hollis’ 3.5 star review
This might be one of the first instance where the inclusion of the podcast-about-the-event shtick hasn’t been a win for me. I enjoyed the interviews, the snippets, but the podcast itself? Not really. I would’ve liked more story instead, actually, as I felt the interruptions broke too much of the tension instead of adding to it.
But so much of this was good. Fun to read about? Of course not. But there were so many varied discussions about racism, colourism, segregation, and what it means to be “Black enough”, and each time it actually had meaningful relevance to the story and characters, without feeling awkwardly shoehorned in — like many stories often do. This was also one of the few YA stories, at least that I’ve read recently, where the villains weren’t caricatures. They had nuance, they acted appropriately in ways that befit their beliefs and feelings, and — in one particular case — were committed to that right to the bitter end. IYKYK.
Speaking of characters though I’ll admit that I don’t think I liked Maddy, our main character, or the love interest all that much. I could feel for them, absolutely, and want the best for them, but oddly I think my favourite character might’ve been Wendy. And no, I won’t be taking questions at this time. But on the whole? I couldn’t put this down.
A lot of this story is going to be familiar as this is an homage to Carrie but I still think there will be a few things to surprise you along the way. And, again, I really enjoyed how Jackson added to the narrative and fleshed it out in a new way while still keeping true to the essence of it all.
If this is on your radar, definitely give it a go.
** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **