“‘It all started with the rain.’ That’s what the people of Springville say whenever asked about the fatal Prom Night that occurred over a decade ago, leaving a town in complete ruins,” (Jackson 15).
A decade before tragedy struck the town of Springville on Prom Night, leaving many dead, and the survivors and bystanders can agree on one thing: Maddy did it. It’s up for debate on just how she did it, but everyone knows she was responsible. Maddy was bullied frequently, an outcast raised by her abusive religious father when a rainstorm reveals she’s biracial. The bullying only gets worse, and popular girl and class president Wendy decides that the best course of action that would fix everything is to combine proms with the Black and white students and that her Black boyfriend, football star Kenny, should take Maddy to prom. Maddy deserves one good night, and what bad could really happen at prom?
HOLY CRAP THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING! I hadn’t heard of The Weight of Blood until I was browsing my library’s catalogue one day and saw the book on order. From the cover alone I knew it was an adaption of Carrie, which just made me realize that for such a well-known book there have been surprisingly few differing adaptions of it. Yes, we tried for a modern adaption in 2013, and there was a TV show at one point as well as a sequel that didn’t need to exist but somehow does. And who could forget about the musical? So yes, Carrie had been adapted quite a bit, but the adaptions don’t veer too far from the source material, This can be a good thing, but Carrie was written in 1974, a lot of new things can be added to adaptions that honour the original source while also making note of issues relevant today.
And that is exactly what Jackson does. I remember when I read her debut Allegedly and was underwhelmed by it, but then when I read White Smoke last year I was blown away that this was the same author. And with The Weight of Blood I am confident that Jackson is the voice of YA Horror.
I think one of the ways that proves horror is done well is when it doesn’t always scare, but is making a point, and Jackson does that here. She honours King’s debut and modernizes it in an expert way by challenging issues of race and identity in a way that works perfectly. The podcast element was a brilliant addition, and was a great homage to the epistolatory aspect of Carrie.
Maddy (our Carrie) is a character you can’t help but ache for, who you just want to be happy even though we know what’s coming for her. And I LOVED what Jackson did with Wendy (our Sue), really challenging the idea of her motivation to do and be good. Kenny (our Tommy) was such a sweetheart, I really felt for his struggles and let me tell you I was STRESSED because we know what happens to Tommy. Maddy’s father was also interesting, and I wished nothing but bad things for Jules (our Chris).
My only criticisms are that I wanted more people to die (not sure what that says about me…) and that I wasn’t a fan of the romance. It was a bit to instalove for my taste, and just didn’t work in the grand scheme of things, but I understood it.
Also, I learned that segregated proms still happen in the U.S. That’s messed up!
Overall, The Weight of Blood is an amazing book. Jackson honours King, respects Carrie, while also making a book that is completely her own. I can’t wait to read more of her work!
Publication: September 6 2022
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 416 pages (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction, Horror, YA, Adaption
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤
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.