The Weight of Blood is my third novel by Tiffany D. Jackson. (Allegedly, Monday’s Not Coming). It’s the story of Maddy Washington, a high school senior with a big secret: she’s biracial. Her father insists that she do everything possible to keep this a secret, but one day in gym class, an outdoor run catches her in the rain and soon everyone knows.
It’s not like Maddy had friends anyway; she’s odd. She wears poodle skirts and musty old sweaters, doesn’t have a cell phone and only watches old black & white movies. But when the secret that she’s been hiding her ethnicity from others gets out, the bullying ramps up. In a town that is already racially divided, the pot gets stirred even more.
Wendy decides that in order to calm things down two things should happen. 1. Instead of having a Black prom and a white prom, there should be one integrated prom and 2. her Black boyfriend, Kenny, the school’s star football player, should take Maddy to the prom. Her intentions seem sincere, but she doesn’t count on her best friend Jules’s plans for revenge after a video of her throwing pencils into Maddy’s hair goes viral and she gets into trouble.
Maddy is a sympathetic character who longs for the mother she believes died in child birth and who does her best to make her father happy, even though nothing she does seems to satisfy him. Kenny is counting the days until he can get away from his father’s relentless demands. Wendy is counting on Kenny to take her away from her impoverished life. What no one is counting on is for Kenny to develop feelings for Maddy.
If any of this sounds even remotely familiar it’s because The Weight of Blood is essentially Stephen King’s Carrie with a racism twist. I think if you aren’t familiar with Carrie you’d probably enjoy Jackson’s book, but I kept seeing Brian DePalma’s movie in my head.