Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets We Were Liars in this thought-provoking and brilliantly written debut that is part love story, part mystery, part high-stakes drama.
What would you pay to cure your heartbreak? Banish your sadness? Transform your looks? The right spell can fix anything…. When Ari’s boyfriend Win dies, she gets a spell to erase all memory of him. But spells come at a cost, and this one sets off a chain of events that reveal the hidden—and sometimes dangerous—connections between Ari, her friends, and the boyfriend she can no longer remember.
Told from four different points of view, this original and affecting novel weaves past and present in a suspenseful narrative that unveils the truth behind a terrible tragedy.
Upon reading the first few pages of this book, I was immediately hooked. I’ve been craving for books with witches in them but for this one, hekamists worked.
The book was told in four different perspectives: Ari, Markos, Kay and Win. All of whom are connected to each other. Kay and Diana are friends with Ari. Ari’s boyfriend is Win, whose bestfriend is Markos.
“Sometimes the body knows what the mind does not.”
In a society where hekamists exists, people subjecting themselves into spells to make their lives more convenient, aren’t a big deal. In exchange of a large sum of a money, people can ask hekamists for different spells. This is another thing that connects the four characters.
Among all four, I think Markos’ POV stood out pretty well. I wasn’t really sympathizing with the other characters but they kept me pretty interested in their personalities.
“Spells would always find a way to trick you, to use your weaknesses against you, to come up with the ugliest possible solution to your problem.”
I think that the book was really well-written. It did remind me of We Were Liars. The Cost of All Things kept me awake all night long. I can’t seem to put it down because I was always craving for more. Although, I think this one is one of those books that you need to read when you’re in the right mood or the “right-book-for-the-right-reader” thing. Despite that, I was really impressed by Maggie’s writing and I’m definitely be looking forward to her future works.
1. Can you tell us about your debut YA novel and where you got the idea for it?
The Cost of All Things is about a girl, Ari, whose boyfriend dies in an accident. She gets a spell to erase all memory of him, in order to avoid the pain of her grief. There are three other narrators, too, all related to the tragic death, and all connected by spells. I love the idea of a web connecting these characters, and tracing how they affect each other in all sorts of ways.
2. Where exactly were you when you learned that your book’s going to be published?
I was at work at my desk! I closed the door and did some cheering and dancing.
3. Which among the four POVs were the most interesting to write about?
They were all interesting in their way. I think Markos was the most fun to write — he’s brutally honest and blunt. It’s freeing to let loose the rawest emotions.
4. What has been the most exciting thing so far about being an author?
Holding the finished book in my hands. It’s a dream come true.
5. Where’s your favorite place to write? Can you describe your writing process?
I mostly write at home (on the couch or in a recliner, very bad for my back) and at coffee shops. The process changes all the time, but for this book, I wrote the entire draft by hand, then typed it into the computer and edited what felt like a million times. I used a big wall with post-its to keep track of the 4 points of view.
6. Are you working on another book right now?
Yes, I am! I can’t say much yet, but it’s a standalone, this time about two sisters living in a time where anything has become possible.
Let’s go to some of your favorite things1. Favorite books/authors
Libba Bray, Natalie Standiford, E. Lockhart, Matt de la Pena, Jonathan Stroud, M.T. Anderson, Rita Williams-Garcia, Gabrielle Zevin, Melina Marchetta… I would read anything by any of them.
2. Favorite musicians
Jack White, Sufjan Stevens, The Mountain Goats, Kanye West
3. Favorite color
4. Favorite ice cream flavor.
Cookies and cream
5. Favorite films and TV Series.
TV: Buffy, Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls, Terriers, New Girl
Movies: His Girl Friday, Brick, Adaptation, The PrestigeLastly, what advice/tips can you give our readers, especially those who are aspiring authors?
Try to write for yourself, not for an imagined audience. What do you most want to read? Then see if you can write that. It will take longer than you would like for the book you see in your head to match what you’re capable of putting on paper. But if you can, be patient. Keep trying. Be willing to let stories go after you feel like you’ve learned what you can from them. Not every project is meant to be a book. (I have 4 or 5 manuscripts that will never be books, as do most authors I know.) The only way to survive that period is to write for yourself, and enjoy it for you.
About Maggie Lehrman
Maggie Lehrman is a writer whose first novel for young adults, The Cost of All Things, is available from Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins. For nine years she was an editor at Abrams Books, where she edited middle grade and young adult novels and graphic novels, as well as a handful of picture books. She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and she graduated from Harvard College with a BA in English. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Kyle.