Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Books I've read: The Weight of Blood

This author is an insta-read for me ever since I read her book, Allegedly.  So when I saw this one in the library, I pounced.   Kind of a modern-day Carrie, the book jumps around through time as investigative journalists try to uncover what really happened at a Georgia high school prom.  A prom that ended with a town in ruins and several dead bodies.

Maddy is an outcast at her high school.  Her clothes are wrong, her ideas outdated and her repeated absences (always on rainy days) are explained away by a vaguely threatening auto-immune disease.  Maddy tolerates the low-key bullying because she has bigger things to worry about.

Until a rainstorm comes out of nowhere while she's outside running for PE and the secret she and her White religious fanatic father have been keeping for years is revealed: Maddy is bi-racial.  

When a video of the bullying and teasing Maddy receives as her secret comes out goes viral, some of her classmates get together to try and prove that their town isn't really as racist as it might seem on the surface.  For the first time the school will host an integrated prom - up until now, white kids went to the country club for prom while Black kids went somewhere else.

The girl who comes up with the idea even manages to convince her Black quarterback boyfriend to ask Maddy to be his date to prom.  For the first time Maddy begins to wonder if she might be able to have a normal life, if she might be able to find genuine happiness in a world that has been nothing but cruel to her until now.

But Maddy has a secret. And when things at prom do not go as planned and a cruel prank is pulled on Maddy, she lets loose, leaving a trail of corpses in her wake.

I enjoyed this one.  There was enough supernatural spookiness to call it a horror, while it was grounded in reality and had a lot to say about racism and the difficulties faced by those trying to make a change to this way of thinking.  I do feel like Maddy's father was a little over the top, that his treatment of her seemed Victorian and made him into something of a cartoon villain.  But he isn't in the book that much...

So I'd recommend this one.

But don't just listen to me.  Her's the blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Tiffany D. Jackson ramps up the horror and tackles America's history and legacy of racism in this suspenseful 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 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 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

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