The Weight of Blood
by Tiffany D. Jackson
Released on November 30th, 2022
Published by HarperCollins
Young Adult Fiction—Horror, Retellings > Carrie
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.
Trigger/Content Warning(s): Racism, Bullying, Racial Slurs, Violence, Police Brutality, Death, Beheading, Traumatic Limb Amputation, Gore, Blood, Child Abuse, Religious Bigotry/Abuse, Sexual Content
The Weight of Blood is a brilliant masterpiece that will leave you questioning for days to come.
Tiffany D. Jackson has an intense way with words. From beginning to end, she has readers completely enraptured in the story. Her writing style is elusive but comforting and intriguing at the same time. It allows for clues and tells to be spread throughout, but not so much that book will be spoiled or guessed early on.
The character development was expertly done. Maddy’s character is extremely sheltered and carries a lot of trauma from several backgrounds. Seeing as she was tested again and again before eventually releasing every pent-up emotion bottled deep inside was harrowing, and well worth the extreme anticipation built into the pages. The same can be said for the supporting cast of main characters—Kendrick, though struggling in some aspects, came to realize what it is he truly wanted from his life and who he wanted to really be; Maddy, dealing with her white privilege and facing up to her own selfishness. Jackson, showing off her genius, made it possible for readers to want to physically reach into the world she built and tear the antagonists a new one throughout the book.
The plot and storyline woven in were absolutely phenomenal. Weight is set up in a tri-storytelling format—featuring a true-crime podcast, news reports/alerts, and written storytelling told from several character perspectives. This made the book incredibly enjoyable and exciting and even more page-turning, as it gave readers different types of narrative to follow along and digest. Books like these are often difficult to formulate properly with the focus being to develop each of them respectively, but Jackson did it immensely well.
The ending of this book left a lot of questions to readers—and while this can sometimes be difficult to sit with or overlook, it made sense for the set-up of Weight and the necessary elusiveness the book required in nature. Readers are similar to that of the future parts of the story—that being the true-crime podcast. Because of this, we also are left in the dark about the truth of the outcome of Maddy, as it would give heed to what the book is trying to prove.
The messages within the pages and between the lines were overwhelmingly clear and sharp. Jackson was evident in making certain points, all of which came across well and potent. And especially for the age group this book is directed at, that being available to pick up on is most important.
Overall, I am stunned by Tiffany D. Jackson’s work in The Weight of Blood. This was my first book from her, and she has convinced me that horror is not a genre I dislike, rather I had just not yet found my footing in. For that, I give this book a starred rating. I look forward to reading more from Jackson soon, and I cannot wait to see what all she has planned next.
Tiffany D. Jackson is the New York Times Bestselling author of YA novels including the Coretta Scott King — John Steptoe New Talent Award-winning Monday’s Not Coming, the NAACP Image Award-nominated Allegedly, Let Me Hear A Rhyme, and her 2020 title GROWN. She received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University, her master of arts in media studies from the New School, and has over a decade in TV/Film experience. The Brooklyn native is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.