THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD by TIFFANY D. JACKSON
A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN
Here we are again, dear readers. I’m reviewing yet another Tiffany D. Jackson book. At this point in my tenure as AOPLD’s book reviewer, I’ve come to the realization that I’ve reviewed every single one of Tiffany’s books. I love everything she publishes, and while I might prefer one book over another, I almost always love it. Enter The Weight of Blood, a pseudo-Carrie retelling set in the modern day, following a biracial girl in a conservative Southern school. Maddy Washington, our main character, has lived her entire life under the iron fist of her father, an unimaginably strict man with a very important rule: Never get your hair wet.
Until one day, Maddy does accidentally get her hair wet. It “exposes” her natural hair for what it is, and no longer can Maddy live her life passing as a white girl. Once everyone at her school finds out she’s half Black, Maddy is subjected to a flurry of racist torment. That is, until her very popular–very white–classmate decides to throw an “all-together” prom. The first in their school’s history, which is rife with segregationist practices such as separate proms for white kids and Black kids.
This is Jackson’s second foray into horror, the first being White Smoke. That was one of Jackson’s works I didn’t completely love, but I liked it because she wrote it. The Weight of Blood is a much more solid effort–especially the ending. I won’t spoil it here, but if you’ve seen Carrie, then you kind of get the gist of it. It’s totally gripping and terrifying and I loved it.
Anyway, as far as being its own standalone story, I really loved this one. Maddy is a sympathetic and complex heroine who strives to be “good” while also grappling with her newfound powers. This book explores a lot of important topics such as parental abuse, racism, and colorism. Maddy’s relationship with Kendrick, star football player and boyfriend of the girl who pushes Maddy to go to “all together” prom, is very sweet, but also a little bitter towards the end. There’s not a ton of resolution to be had here, so know that before going into this story.
The horror elements in this book are often found within the podcast excerpts scattered throughout the book. The podcast is set in the present day while everything with Maddy happens a few years prior. It’s chilling to read about how people view Maddy a few years down the line. It also hints at the big finale at the end, and I couldn’t stop reading until I got there.
As always, Jackson’s writing is visceral and often brutal. I love her voice and will continue to read anything she puts out! You can pick up The Weight of Blood at the Argenta Library today!