The Weight of Blood : A Librarian’s Perspective Review

I have made no secret of my love and admiration for Stephen King. He’s been a steady presence in my reading repertoire since I was 11 years old. When listing my favorite authors of all time, Stephen King is at the top of the list.

So you can imagine that when one of my favorite YA authors published a retelling of Stephen King’s Carrie, I was on top of that ASAP! The Weight of Blood is a fresh, original adaptation of Carrie, and I think Tiffany D. Jackson did Stephen King proud.

AUTHOR: Tiffany D. Jackson
PUBLISHER: Katherine Tegen Books
PUBLICATION DATE: September 6, 2022
PAGES: 416
GENRE: horror, suspense
SETTING: small town in Georgia (USA), 2014
GIVE IT TO: HS, adults, fans of Stephen King


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.


Tiffany D. Jackson + Stephen King = One of my favorite books of 2022!


It’s not exactly like Carrie. Having read Carrie and seen the movie a few times, I knew this plotline quite well. But while The Weight of Blood follows Carrie‘s plot relatively closely, there are several twists that differentiate it from the original.

Like Carrie, Maddy Washington has been bullied throughout her school career. Carrie’s bullying ramps up with a locker room incident following gym class. Carrie starts her period in the shower, and she freaks out because she has no idea what’s happening to her.

In The Weight of Blood, Maddy also has an inciting incident after gym class. But Maddy’s incident is in a rain shower rather than a locker room shower. And it isn’t the start of her period–it’s her hair getting wet. Yep! When her meticulously-straightened hair gets wet, it kinks up and reveals her biracial heritage. This is really bad for Maddy because her mostly-white school has a racist reputation. The racism goes so far that even in 2014, the community still holds two segregated proms.

Carrie parallels. The basics of the story are the same, but the execution is different. Both Carrie and Maddy are telekinetic. Both discover their powers in the course of the story. Both are raised by abusive parents: a mother for Carrie and a father for Maddy. Both girls get locked in a closet to pray away their “sins,” which are nothing more than normal teen behavior.

Other characters parallel those in Carrie as well. The popular but mean bullies, the do-gooder girl and her handsome boyfriend, the helpful teacher who tries to stand up for Carrie/Maddy. The characters match up nicely, but they are different from the characters Carrie.

Morally-gray Sue/Wendy. Sue Snell in Carrie is Wendy Quinn in The Weight of Blood. In Carrie, Sue feels bad for participating in the locker room bullying incident at the start of the story. Because she feels bad about it, she asks her popular boyfriend to take Carrie to Prom. Wendy does the same in The Weight of Blood, but “feeling bad” isn’t her only reason for doing it. Wendy looks perfect from the outside, but she experiences real fears and anxieties inside. To her credit, she does do the right thing many times, even if her intentions aren’t 100% altruistic.

Lots of twists. Not going to go into this further, but if you’ve read Carrie or saw the movie, know that this is not the same story. Trust me, you will not be bored.


I loved it all! One of my favorite books of 2022.


Maddy Washington is biracial (Black mother, white father) in a mostly-white town. Kendrick Scott, whose Carrie counterpart is Tommy Ross, and his family are Black.


The cover image of a girl covered in blood matches Carrie better than The Weight of Blood. (I can’t tell you why without a spoiler.)


Themes: bullying, racism, racial identity, passing as white, telekinesis, segregation, social class division, popularity, physical and emotional abuse by parent

Would adults like this book? YES

Would I buy this for my high school library? YES

Would I buy this for my middle school library? Personally, I might buy it for middle school. I read Carrie in middle school, and this is not as graphic or violent as Carrie. Much of the violence of the Prom murder scene is told after the fact.


Language: over 40 fu** and 38 sh**; a few of vulgar slang references to female body parts

Sexuality: one teen character uses sex to manipulate people into doing what she wants them to; a teen couple is sexually active and has intercourse (not detailed) in a truck

Violence: mass murder at a Prom; police brutality against Black teen; child abuse (physical, emotional); bullying; racism

Drugs/Alcohol: a few mentions of teens drinking beer


I love Tiffany D. Jackson! Check out my other reviews of books from this amazing YA author:

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