The Weight of Blood

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4.8 (2)
 
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The Weight of Blood
Age Range
13+
Release Date
September 06, 2022
ISBN
978-0063029149
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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.

Editor reviews

2 reviews
Chilling rework of a classic
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
This story is a dark homage to Stephen King’s Carrie, with Jackson’s unique voice and spin on it. It pulls the reader into the story immediately, flashing between the events of 2014 and a podcast attempting to analyze the events critically. It is intriguing to get to know Maddy, both as she’s portrayed as a villain, and seeing her as a girl who was abused and bullied and learns to stand up for herself and fight back, and Jackson paints such vivid and realistic characters. The story is impossible to put down, and it isn’t overly scary.

There’s a tiny hint of ableism when she develops her powers initially, and is miraculously cured of her need for glasses, which is a frustrating trope. Also, it would have been nice to get into Maddie’s head a bit more, and understand more about what she was thinking. Her character is so intriguing, and we see less of what’s going on inside of her head towards the end of the story, at a time when I would have wanted to know more about what she was thinking.

Overall, this is an incredible and powerful story, centered around bullying and the consequences, as well as racism on both a personal and institutional level. It’s appropriate for ages 13 and up, and explores not only these darker themes, but the hopeful message about the power that a single person can have on another individual. It’s nearly impossible to view Maddy as the hero of her own story, rather than the villain that others try to portray her to be. This is the kind of reworked classic that shouldn’t be missed.
Good Points
-Vivid and realistic characters
-Morally gray main character
-Unique homage to Stephen King's Carrie
-Biracial character
-Compulsively readable
-Powerful story
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The Weight of Blood
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
What worked: Chilling, horror story of racism, bullying, and what happens at a small town's first integrated prom. Jackson shows us a biracial teen who is bullied and who finds she has a secret power. Maddy's life includes a father who forces her to pray to be like the stars he idolizes from popular 50s shows. All of these stars are white. The torment and abuse she suffers from not only her father that doesn't want anyone to know she's in fact 'biracial' and the bullying she gets from schoolmates is shown in very realistic detail. One of the main bullies is the rich, popular Jule. She even goes as far as dress in blackface to ridicule Maddy.

Once Maddy finds out she has telekinesis-the ability to move objects-she decides to find out more. There are others in town that are more sympathetic to her plight like football star Kenny, who agrees to ask her to the first integrated prom. There's also the high school teacher that looks out for her as well.

Riveting, unflinching descriptions of racism continue to this day. Jackson has a Stephen King vibe going throughout this story. What happens at the prom and afterward is something right out of a horror movie.

Think Carrie in a small town set among a first integrated prom that goes horribly wrong. Add a biracial protagonist with the ability of telekinesis to have one amazing story.
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