Published by Balzar + Bray on May 12, 2015
Genres: Magical Realism, YA
Source: ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets We Were Liars in this thought-provoking, brilliantly written, and totally original realistic contemporary debut about three teens who must deal with the consequences of spells cast on them in the wake of their classmate’s sudden death.
“The most creepily awesome cautionary tale ever. Magic—or hekame—does exist, and wishes can be granted…but always at a cost. Brilliant, provocative, and absolutely spellbinding.” — Lauren Myracle, New York Times bestselling author of The Infinite Moment of Us
“Maggie Lehrman nimbly reveals secrets wrapped around our most basic need. The Cost of All Things is a walk of the soul.” — Rita Williams-Garcia, Coretta Scott King Author Award Winner
~ Magic! I love books with magic, especially Magical Realism, which is exactly what this book is. I can’t think of many YA books that deal with touches of magic in an ordinary world (the only one that comes immediately to mind in Karen Foxlee’s The Midnight Dress, which was lovely).
~ Lehrman created quite the interesting world- it’s basically our world, only witches, called hekamists. Hekamists are a dying breed, literally, because they are no longer allowed to join covens, and without them, the old hekamists are dying off, quite horribly. I loved how the magic didn’t come free, and the balance of the spells.
~ I immediately liked this book, even though I knew it would probably break my heart at times (and it did).
~ The book opens with Ari visiting the local hekamist in order to have a spell whipped up so that she can forget her very recently dead boyfriend, Win. What I love about this chapter is that even though it’s short, so many things mentioned in it come into play later on in the book. You know that rule about how if you show a gun in act one it had better go off by act three? Well, Lehrman does a fantastic job of circling around and explaining things, connecting events and people, and so while at times I had a billion questions, I never felt too confused or unsatisfied, because I knew I would eventually get my answers.
~ The book is told from the point of view of 4 people- Ari, Kay, Markos and Win. Now, Win is already dead, which made his chapters more poignant, because I genuinely liked his character and I may have found myself hoping that timeturners existed in Lehrman’s world so that
I Ari and Markos, could have him back.
~ Kay’s character was easy to relate to in some ways- she’s terribly insecure and truly wants the whole “best friends forever” fairytale. Her chapters were the least interesting of the four, but completely necessary to the overall story. Plus, I didn’t always understand her actions, and the one of the only complaints I had with the entire book stemmed from her character. Another character, quite late in the book, mentions that Kay was Indian, but I don’t remember anything mentioned prior to that. It felt like their were bits of Kay’s story still missing.
~ Which brings me to my other complaint- I wish the characters had been slightly deeper, especially in terms of their families. It’s like we get a rough sketch of their pasts, their families, and why they are they way they are (Diana’s over protective mom, Ari’s young aunt, Kay’s absent folks, and Markus’s single mom raising a brood of boys)- and what we get is enough to get the picture, but I would have liked more detail.
~ Now back to the things I loved: At times I thought I had things figured out, but Lehrman was like 3 steps ahead of me, so I had lots of “Oh, so that’s why that happened!”. Some things and events were so tangled that it’s almost like trying to have the “what came first, the chicken or the egg” argument. Again, I never felt loss, usually I was just happily curious and frustrated by having to wait for each character’s chapter. I’d be really into Ari’s current issues, only to be drawn back into Win’s final days, then onto Kay and Markus. Every time I read a chapter it would leave me anxious for that character’s next one. It was the best kind of frustration, because I was invested emotionally fairly early on into this book and these characters.
~ This book is full of liars and terrible decisions… and I loved it!
~ The summary references We Were Liars, which I haven’t read, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (which I did watch and loved). I have no idea how alike it is to We Were Liars, and while it does touch on some of the same issues that ESofSM does, The Cost of All Things felt fresh and unique to me. I had trouble putting it down!
Ari- aspiring ballerina who takes a chance on her future in order to get rid of her past.
Win- Ari’s dead boyfriend, who was dealing with quite a lot before his death.
Diana- Ari’s best friend, who is finally coming into her own.
Kay- friends with Ari and Diana, only she’s much more invested into the three musketeers vibe than is normal (or healthy).
Markus- the youngest of the famous Waters brothers- he’s a bit of a James Spader type at first, but he’s still broken up over his bestie Win’s death.
Echo- daughter of the local hekamist, and an illegal hekamist herself. Even though Echo didn’t narrate, she was one of the most compelling characters.
Jess- Ari’s aunt who is raising her niece after Ari’s parents died in a fire.
Mina- Kay’s sister, recovered from an illness that almost killed her, and who’s absence kind of drove Kay batty.
Brian, Dev and Cal- Markus’s 3 brothers- Brian’s a cop, Dev’s wild, Cal is the sweet one.
Rowena- Ari’s dance instructor. Because I’m on a huge Gilmore Girl’s kick, and this review wouldn’t be complete without a GG reference, I totally pictured Miss Patty, even though they are nothing alike. 😉
Honestly, there were soooooooo many! Every time a new connection was made that explained something was awesome (or heartbreaking or both awesome and heartbreaking). I really liked any scenes with Echo and Ari, they were so emotionally charged.
Stop the Clock:
It’s been almost a week since I read The Cost of All Things, and the book has only gotten better in my memory. The few, tiny issues I had with the book didn’t detract from the story or keep it from being a page turner. I honestly can’t wait to read more by Maggie Lehrman!
The Cost of All Things gets a Midnight Book rating of: