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The Cost of All Things

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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.

416 pages, ebook

First published May 12, 2015

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About the author

Maggie Lehrman

2 books170 followers
Maggie Lehrman is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, NY. She grew up outside of Chicago and went on to get a degree in English at Harvard, where she once received a grant to purchase young adult books the library didn't have. During her decade of working as an editor of books for children, she also earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. The Cost of All Things is her first book. The Last Best Story comes out in August 2018.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 221 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,945 reviews291k followers
April 7, 2015
I think this book starts with a wonderful premise. It's a magical realism story - one of my favourite genres - where our world is inhabited by hekamists. Hekamists essentially grant wishes through spells, but every wish comes with a price; a price both monetary and otherwise. For example, wishing for beauty would cost you some mental capabilities.

I love a "be careful what you wish for" tale, and this is exactly that. It also has a wonderful setting that fits with the now/then format of the novel. It's set near the beach and the "before" takes place in the summer when teenagers are having fun on the sand and everyone's taking a much-needed break. The "after" is set in January - and is there anything more gloomy and depressing than a beach vacation kind of place in the winter? It looked set to be a very atmospheric novel.

Unfortunately, it wasn't. For a start, there were way too many perspectives and central characters. Ari, Win, Markos and Kay get their own chapters, but Diana and Echo are equally central in the plot. All of these people had their own little stories and, instead of tying together in an interesting way, the book just tried to do too much and tell too many people's stories. I found myself unable to care about any of them.

The basic plot follows these teens as they all make wishes and are forced to pay the price. We begin with Ari purchasing a wish to forget her dead boyfriend (Win) and suffering the physical consequences of it, which leads to her having difficulties returning to ballet. Then we learn of other wishes that have been made and are being made as the story moves along.

I think the biggest problem for me was that the characters and their wishes all seemed a bit immature and stupid. And I just can't deal with immature and stupid characters. Alarm bells started ringing in the first chapter when Ari just seems a bit dense. First, she finds $5000 in the back of her closet and instead of wondering who it belongs to or how it got there, she decides it's a sign and uses it to buy a spell. Just like that. Secondly, the hekamist asks her if she's ever bought any spells in the past because it's extremely dangerous to mix them and she lies and says no.

Ari knows she's a ballet dancer and will suffer physical pain if she gets another wish and yet she lies and goes ahead and does it. Stupid. And all of the wishes seem a bit lame and immature, to be honest. Beauty... forgetting a boyfriend... making sure your best friends can never leave you. I think this will seem silly to most people, even young adult readers.

It's just very not interesting. The characters are bland at best and irritating at worst. There's a silly blackmail subplot going on that didn't interest me in the slightest - I think we were supposed to be worried that the secret would come out, but it was hard to care.

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Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,688 reviews1,266 followers
March 25, 2015
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“You’d be as graceful as a gazelle. But then that spell comes with its own set of side effects, and then you’re up to three permanent spells – very bad. Very risky. Side effects cascading.”

This was a story about grief and magic, but I lost interest a bit towards the end.

There were 5 main characters in this book. Ari was so desperate to forget her boyfriend that she was willing to take a spell to forget him! I’m not sure this was really the best idea to be honest, and paying for it with money that didn’t belong to her seemed like a bad idea as well.

“I want to cry, but if I start, I’m afraid of what will happen. I’m afraid of what I’ll become.”

I felt quite sorry for Kay, that she was insecure enough to think that she needed magic to keep her friends close to her, and Markos seemed a bit messed up with grief.

“They would be loyal. They would be constant. They wouldn’t leave me to go travelling the world. They couldn’t leave me – the spell kept them near.”

I didn’t really get much from Diana, she was a bit of a nothingness character, and Win was the dead guy, so his chapters were from the past, before he died.

“Win was dead. See, I could say it right out loud. Dead. I no longer had a best friend and never would again.”

The storyline in this followed the 4 teens after the death of Win, and their interactions with the Hekamists – and the spells each of them was under! I thought that the world-building with regards to the magic in this story was done well, and it was interesting the way that there was no way to end a spell once cast! It was also a pretty interesting mystery as to what had happened to Win, not to mention the blackmail going on, and the really unethical spells going round too!

“Don’t even try to play that game because you’ll lose. Pay me my money or everyone finds out.”

There was a little bit of romance in this, but not a lot, and it was more about the interactions with regards to the relationships, rather than an actual romance storyline.

“And if you’re looking to reverse the spell itself, not the side effect, you’re mostly out of luck.”

The ending to this was interesting as so many spells came to light, and we also got another unexpected death, I have to admit to having lost interest a bit by the end though, even with the revelations, and I struggled to finish this really.
6 out of 10
Profile Image for L A i N E Y (will be back).
394 reviews675 followers
December 14, 2016
This book started out super strong. It was so intriguing and the writting was solid. I was thinking I stumbled on a hidden gem (weee!). Not so much. It was still nice just not as good as it could have been.

The premise of hekame was something I shiver just thinking about how many disastrous ways it could go wrong in that world. How can you even buy any cooked food? How risky would that be? Seriously, just the thought was pure scary. And it actually happened more than once in this book, to varying degrees of crappy outcomes.

This was one messed up story for sure.

Solid MCs' voices. Maybe a little too solid because 20% in I was so enraged with Kay, I could hardly stand reading her chapters without skimming. Urgh! What a selfish and thoughtless girl! She was acting more like a 5 year-old.

But I liked Ari even with all her indecisiveness and her passivity. In her case, I found myself rooting for her and excused her mistakes by choking them up to her being young and extreme emotions (grief). She was full of life in glimpses that we saw . It would have been fun reading about those times, I think.

But the book was mainly her and her friends in the aftermath and that was where Ari was like a shell of herself. Although I had to wonder which of the two things made her that way: losing Win or losing the ability to dance. I can see how I would be totally overwhelmed too in that situation. Still, sometimes I just wanted to shake her and get her to do something, maybe tell someone, just to take actions, anything.

Another character that I think interesting was Echo. Although I didn't feel connection to her, she had my sympathy. Her situation was extra bleak.

I didn't think the resolution was OK, though I couldn't think of any way to solve all those in a believable way either, like I said it was pretty messed-up shit. So I guess I'll take the one in the book then. It could have been better but I lost interest at that point anyway.
It got repetitive toward the end and the pacing wasn't very good.

I really liked the writing in this: there's nicely simple yet it still flowed. The fact that these teenagers didn't talk like morons helped the book immensely. I couldn't tell you how much I hate those books where teens talk like idiots. Glad I didn't find it here.
Profile Image for Glire.
736 reviews517 followers
July 19, 2015
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets We Were Liars?


2015 Reading Challenge #39: A book with magic.


Yo soy una de esas relativamente escasas personas que AMÓ We Were Liars, y una mas entre los millones de personas que aman Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, así que cuando leí la sinopsis supe que iba a leer este libro, y supe también que lo odiaría o lo amaría. Gano el odio.

The Cost of All Things comienza muy bien, con una primera escena que causa impacto y da ganas de seguir leyendo; Win, el novio de Ari, acaba de morir en circunstancias misteriosas, y Ari va a que una hekamista (que es básicamente una bruja) para que le prepare un hechizo para olvidarlo. Sin embargo, el hechizo viene con efectos colaterales capaces de cambiar la vida de Ari para siempre.


A partir de allí comienzan a entrelazarse cuatro POV: el de Ari, Win, Kay y Markos; cada uno con sus propios secretos, sus propios hechizos. Los POV ocurren en distintos espacios temporales que intentan ir revelando el misterio poco a poco. Todo genial hasta allí. Lamentablemente, pronto me di cuenta que TODOS los personajes son un asco. Seres egoístas y desdibujados, caparazones huecos con personalidades estereotipadas. Que no me provocaron ningún sentimiento, excepto aburrimiento.

Cuando iba ya por la tercera parte del libro y aun no pasaba NADA, me forcé a seguir leyendo únicamente por esa sinopsis que prometía una mezcla entre Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind y We Were Liars. Me imaginaba que iba a encontrarme con un final sorprendente capaz de redimir la historia.


El final es melodramático, ridículo e igual hueco que los personajes:
•El misterio, resulta que no es ningún misterio. Es solo algo común y corriente que la autora decide guardarse hasta las ultimas paginas.
•La similitud con Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind comienza y acaba con el hecho de que Ari olvida a Win.
•¿Y la similitud con We Were Liars? Nunca la vi. ¿Acaso los publicistas decidieron que decir que era similar a We Were Liars por el simple hecho de que hay un incendio? ¿No se dan cuenta de la mala idea que es crear falsas expectativas en los lectores si no son capaces de cumplirlas?

Antes, tenía tantas ganas de amar este libro. Ahora, tengo tantas ganas de olvidar que existe y que lo leí.

Profile Image for Lauren  (TheBookishTwins) .
447 reviews204 followers
January 3, 2016
I received a free copy via edelweiss for review purposes.

First Impression:I'm not entirely sure what to rate this, so for now it's remaining blank. I'll have to have a long think about it. I've decided, when writing down some of my thoughts, that I actually really enjoyed this. I do think it was perhaps a bit too long, and that's why it dragged a bit. A great contemporary though.

Review: The Cost of All Things has one thing different than our world, and that is hekame -- magic. This hekame is used for all sorts of things: beauty touch ups, memory, friendship, talent, brains, gracefulness...but all these spells have consequences, some insubstantial, some huge and burdening. It's these consequences, or 'side-effects' that the protagonists have to deal with. The Cost of All Things is very much a cautionary tale.

The Cost of All Things is very much a character driven novel, and I have a lot of thoughts on the characters. Firstly, Kay. Kay is best friends with Ari and Diana, and her spell has serious repercussions but is also unnecessarily cruel -- something that Kay doesn't realise until later. She continuously defends the spell (I don't want to say what it is for fear of spoiling) and its consequences and it's very morally ambiguous, bordering on disturbing. Not even bordering - it is disturbing. Nevertheless, she is a complex and interesting character that I enjoyed reading about. I think it was this sort of 'but at least they're still with me' type of mentality that made Kay should an interesting protagonist. Secondly, there's Ari who is deeply hurting after the death of her boyfriend Win, but her spell has unimaginable consequences and she ends up losing both things that mean the world to her (or supposedly, as we come to learn) and she cannot understand the decision she made. I really enjoyed Ari's character development and it was one of the highlights of The Cost of All Things. Markos was not a character I particularly enjoyed (I rather disliked him, actually) but his interaction with both Win and Ari was interesting enough. Echo was a great addition to the story, and I loved the mystery she brought to it.

Overall, I think The Cost of All Things was a surprisingly engaging read that really adds something to the contemporary genre, but I think perhaps it was a hundred pages too long and that's why it dragged a bit. But then I wonder if the characters would have suffered had it been shorter, so it's a bit of a dilemma. A book that, personally, I would say it's on par with We Were Liars (the book it's compared to in the blurb.)
Profile Image for Lisa (lifeinlit).
695 reviews458 followers
August 22, 2015
I stopped reading around 40% and marked it as DNF. I may pick this back up at another point, but right now I'm honestly just bored with it. It's very slow moving and I keep losing interest and not paying attention while reading. This is even worse because I'm listening to the audiobook, so I have to keep rewinding because I zoned out and wasn't paying attention. As of right now, this book just isn't for me.
Profile Image for Trisha.
4,609 reviews159 followers
July 31, 2015
"to fear change is the most hopeless fear someone can harbor. Change will happen. Injuries. Love. Death. There's never a moment where you're finished, that's it, all change is over. Change is forever."

ugh, I typed up a whole review and Goodreads lost it. Maybe I'll write it all again, but I doubt it.

This one was good. I love the idea of consequences of getting what you wish for. Or that maybe what you wish for isn't what you'd really waned.
Profile Image for Maria.
716 reviews48 followers
December 6, 2019
Cand Win, prietenul lui Ari, moare, ea isi cumpara o vraja care ii sterge amintirile despre el. Dar vrajile au pretul lor. Uneori se dezlantuie un adevarat vartej de conexiuni ascunse si primejdioase. Asa se intampla cu Ari si prietenii ei. Spusa din patru perspective diferite, povestea din romanul acesta tulburator impleteste trecutul si prezentul intr-un suspans narativ care dezvaluie adevarul din spatele unei teribile tragedii.
Cand m-am apucat să citesc "Orice lucru are pretul lui", nu stiam la ce sa ma astept. Nu am citit nicio recenzie, nicio parere, nimic, mi-a atras atenția coperta si atât... dar ce mi-a fost dat să descopăr... este, cum sa ma exprim, greu de scris in cateva cuvinte. Nici nu stiu cu ce sa incep.
Sa va explic... Cartea pare banala in primele pagini... Incepe cu relatarea unor lucruri din perspectiva unor adolescenți, ce traiesc intr-o lume unde vrăjitoarele pot face diferite vrăji pentru a le schimba viata... Una cere o vraja pentru a deveni mai frumoasă, alta care o vraja pentru a uita o tragedie, alta cere o vraja pentru a-și face prietenele sa nu o părăsească niciodată, altul cere o vraja pentru a scăpa de depresie... etc... Toate aceste lucruri sunt posibile... dar nu fara un pret. Plecând de la aceste premise, cartea este oricum dar nu banala. Toți cei care primesc ceea ce-si doresc, pierd altceva in schimb, iar asta pune cititorul pe ganduri... Acel altceva, câteodată ii defineste ca persoane, iar acum ca nu-l mai au... nu mai stiu cine sunt.
Nu stiu cum sa ma exprim mai bine ca sa înțelegeți, însă cartea asta este ca o palma data peste ochi... "Ai grijă de ce iti doresti, ca s-ar putea îndeplini, dar fii pregatit pentru ceea ce trebuie sa dai in schimb."
În primele pagini, neînțelegand exact ce dorește autoarea sa transmită, eram in ceata total. Nu prindeam legăturile (acțiunea alternand din perspectiva diferite), oricât incercam eu sa fac niste asocieri. Spre final însă, când acțiunile personajelor capătă contur si chiar prind forma, e mai mult decât simplu.
Cartea asta este despre plata si răsplata, despre faptul ca, asa cum o spune și titlul, orice lucru are pretul lui... dar oare merita să-l plătești?
Mi se pare o poveste bunicică, scrisă nepretentios, cu mesaj, dar foarte trista. Chiar si asa pe cât de tristă e povestea, pe atât de plăcută e lectura.
Autoarea a știut sigur ce semnale vrea sa tragă si i-a reușit.
Nu pot sa spun ca am avut vreun personaj preferat, pentru că atât Ari, Diane, Kay, Win, Echo, Cal, etc. au avut lucruri bune si mai putin bune care i-au definit ca oameni. Nu exista oameni răi... ci doar oameni buni care câteodată, fac rau. Asa i-am privit pe fiecare in parte si am luat lucrurile ca atare.
Este o carte de 4 stele dupa mintea mea si nu pt ca e una wow, ci pentru ca are un mesaj puternic si bine așezat în pagina.
Profile Image for Nicole.
630 reviews263 followers
May 7, 2015

Not quite worth the cost.

Impulse download. That's what I'm calling it. When Harper explodes on Edelweiss and leaves a dozen titles to download, I sort of get...click happy. Download here, download there, everywhere a download. The Cost of All Things was one of those books that I hadn't heard about, but seemed intriguing enough to read--I'd only really skimmed the synopsis. I saw the words "spell" and "memories" (?!?!?!?) and kind of just went from there.

Somehow though, I was still a bit disappointed despite not having many expectations.

Four is a lot of perspectives, and what's odd is that one of them...belonged to a dead character, and that made absolutely no sense to me. It made telling Win's side of the story easier and helped us understand him better, but it felt a bit strange having a dead character narrate the last few days of his life for the sake of the story, and that was one of my first issues with the novel.

The second was that HOLY HELL these characters are catty, and I'm not just talking about Kay. There's a ridiculous amount of secrets and hatred boiling among these so called friends and I was tempted to slap each and every one of them. They all act  at least a little spoiled and bitchy and honestly? I'm tempted to say they were the ones who were dragging themselves into such awful situations with awful reasons.

Especially Kay. That girl is straight up insane from the moment we met her

The plot was interesting enough and while there were quite a few twists I wasn't expecting, it was nowhere near enough to make me love the story as much as I wanted to.

Hekame almost saved it though. The idea of hekamists is an interesting one, and one that I thought was represented well in the story. Now, I have no idea whether hekamists are any kind of actual religion, practice, or myth or if Lehrman just based this on voodoo or her own ideas of magic, but seeing these miracles sewn into the world so neatly was definitely fascinating. The spells play a major role in the plot and that was one of the things I enjoyed--that magic was so entwined in the story that without it, The Cost of All Things would've been...well, a very typical story of a group of friends in over their heads. As it was, it still managed to be something along those lines.

I can't very well say that I'd recommend The a Cost of All Things. It wasn't my type of book and I didn't exactly enjoy a majority of it, if you can tell. If this helps at all though, I did initially give this book a 3 star rating before writing this review.

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Profile Image for Jennifer.
Author 7 books375 followers
March 6, 2018
Both a sharply-drawn fantasy strikingly close to our own world, and a poignant examination of our responsibility to others--the way that selfish decisions ripple out to impact the people we love.
Profile Image for Dark Faerie Tales.
2,274 reviews545 followers
November 9, 2015
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: An evocative, intriguing debut about how one mistake can lead to a chain of reactions.

Opening Sentence: There’s a hemakist who lives in the run-down cluster of houses behind the high school.

The Review:

Ari’s boyfriend Win died. So she does what many do in hard times – she takes a spell from a Hemakist. She forgets him, she forgets her pain, but it sets off a chain reaction that changes the lives of everyone she knows. Suddenly, her friendships are unraveling, she can no longer dance, and her life seems to be falling apart. Revelations and romances bloom in this twisty, evocative novel.

Each one of the five points of views played a large part in this story. That was part of why I liked it so much – the characters were all unique, and showed a lot of complexity under their public facade. There was depth to each of them from the start, and part of what made this novel so interesting is watching as they evolve. We saw them at their best. But we also saw them at their worst – they were flawed, they were imperfect – that was what made them so realistic and relatable. The writing had a flowing, evocative, almost melodic quality to it that made reading from these five points of view (Echo, Ari, Markos, Diana, and Kay) a breeze.

There were plenty of different characters to talk about, but let’s go with Kay first. She was probably the character that made me feel the most, ironically – her name is Katelyn. Mine is Kaitlin. Anyway, she had spelled her two friends with a hook, which made it impossible for them to ditch her. While this is a horrible thing to do, it also proved the fragility of her self-esteem, and how deeply she was imprinted by her sister leaving without her to vacation the globe. She was my favorite character to watch develop, because she definitely had her ups and downs, and her emotions were so vivid. I think, in the end, she made sacrifices that overcame the other girls, even though she had made some of the worst mistakes.

Markos was our one male perspective in this novel and I think he stood out. On the outside, he’s a player, and he’s a party boy. But on the inside there is so much more going on. He feels that he has failed to reach his family’s expectations for him, which makes me sad and angry. To add to that, he’s having increasing feelings for a girl that he never wanted to fall in love with. It’s a relationship that he knows he’ll end up screwing up, which, of course, makes the fallout happen so much quicker. Adding to that, his mother is hiding something that will have repercussions. Watching him navigate the precarious situations he was in was really interesting, and his character was one of my favorites.

The other three characters were just as great, each of them a different story and with different issues. This was a really character-driven novel, and I loved the message that there is more to anyone that meets the eye. There were plenty of other messages, too – my English teacher would have a field day on this one. I think that the writing style was really gorgeous, and the plotline traveled really nicely. This was my first magical realism novel, having just discovered that this was a separate genre from fantasy (thanks, Mrs. Cullen!). The magical elements add to the plotline without overcoming it. I think that it’s worth a read and would recommend it for sure!

Notable Scene:

So much for making things right. So much for spells.

They couldn’t be counted on when it mattered. 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. They were blunt instruments – but then again so were planks and flames. Fists and hammers. So were words and kisses.

FTC Advisory: Balzar + Bray/HarperTeen provided me with a copy of The Cost of All Things. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,�� or bribes were exchanged for my review.
Profile Image for Andreea.
408 reviews17 followers
May 7, 2015

I requested this book because I liked the sound of it and because I hoped it would be like We Were Liars, which is one of my favorite books.

And even though it wasn’t as great as We Were Liars I still enjoyed The Cost of All Things because it was mysterious and suspenseful.

The whole idea of the dangerous spells that come with side effects was very intriguing and I loved reading about them. I wanted to know more about them, how they come about, how they actually work, but unfortunately, the author doesn’t explain them 100% and that’s really a pity.

The novel is told from different perspectives and while I am not a big fan of such books, I must admit that this concept worked very well in The Cost of All Things. That way, we learned a lot about the friendships in this novel, about the inner thoughts of the main characters and about Win himself, even though he died.

If you’re looking for romance, then you’ll probably be disappointed because this novel doesn’t concentrate on romance, but more on friendships and other things. But I didn’t really mind because while I was reading The Cost of All Things I didn’t really miss the romance since I was interested in finding out how the friendships will develop.

All in all I really enjoyed The Cost of All Things because it was definitely suspenseful, mysterious and the plot was really intriguing, with the whole concept of different spells and their consequences. Unfortunately, the spells weren’t really explained and that’s why I didn’t give this novel a higher rating.


3.5 – 4 out of 5 stars

Profile Image for Pat.
343 reviews44 followers
August 28, 2015
“If you really loved him, you would’ve wanted the memories and the pain. You excused yourself from being a human being.”
I didn’t look at her. My eyes followed the slice of a knife down the screen.
“What do you know about love?” she asked.

I wasn't quite sure how to rate and review this book. It seems like your typical, go-to contemporary young adult novel. However, it has elements that says otherwise. It's told from the point of view of five different characters, all dealing with emotional pain. The drama in this book is quite heavy than the usual. The book reminds me a lot of We Were Liars and the Burn for Burn series.

The Cost of All Things has very interesting characters. They're selfish, scared, angry - because of these it humanized them. We see a glimpse of Win's life before he died. We also get to know the grief and pain of the four characters that Win left.

Profile Image for Eve Messenger.
79 reviews60 followers
July 12, 2016
The Cost of All Things is a quick read with the feel of a YA contemporary and a healthy dose of magic thrown in to stir up themes of friendship, love, memory, and the consequences of human interference in natural laws. Reminiscent of Holly Black's Curse Workers, magic workers, called hekamists, accept money to ply their illegal spell-casting trade.

The story is told in alternating POV chapters of four high school age friends: Win, Ari, Kay, and Markos. It's clear from the beginning--from the title even--that bad things will occur. Tragedy and mystery abound as several of the characters seek easy solutions through magic and, of course, suffer magic's backlash. That's what this story is all about.

The writing is strong. My two favorite lines are from Win's POV:

“Our relationship balanced on a seesaw. If I put my full weight into it, I’d go crashing down and she’d fly away.”

“I saw their faces and felt their love like a burden.”

The last act went on longer than it needed to but, overall, I enjoyed the book.
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,312 reviews50 followers
July 20, 2016
This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!

I finally took the time to read this pretty. The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman is a book I have been wanting to read since getting it autographed at BEA last year, and I never expected it to head in this kind of direction. What a twist! I would definitely call this a part love story, part mystery, and I love the themes that Lehrman presented out to us readers. Mixed with different perspectives, that of our protagonist, Ari, her boyfriend who passed away, Win and their friends, Markos and Kay, who are all affected by the same thing in different ways, this is the perfect summer read that heads in a different direction than what we initially suspect will occur. Now I am suspecting that everyone around me is a hekamist, which, in this setting of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, they exist, and each character undergoes some kind of spell.

The Cost of All Things makes you want to rethink every single action you perform. You wake up, you have to rethink that. You take a step, you have to rethink that. It's so interesting how Maggie Lehrman mixes in different themes, such as death and grief, into multiple perspectives that all revolve in this plot. There's a lot of magical realism and fantasy here, too, but as I just mentioned the word "realism," it feels real. Sometimes, contemporary + magic do not flow together well, but in this case, I couldn't have asked for a better combination. A big motif here is being careful for what you wish for.

I read this two weeks ago, and I am still in awe. This was just a great story that is captivating, intriguing, and I found myself unable to stop reading once I began. I actually read this while on a road trip, and it went really well for the seven hours that I was stuck in a car, driving through the middle of nowhere I like to call Canada. While reading, I felt like I just wanted to transport to the summer town of Cape Cod and be friends with all of the characters. This was a summer read, but I honestly feel like anyone could pick it up at any time of the year to just jump into that summer mood and feel.

"We swayed back and forth. Dancing. In the dark and wet, the two of us together. It's my favorite memory of Ari out of a thousand memories. It's the one I keep on hand, the talisman. That was the girl I loved" (34).

The main character here is Ari, who just lost her boyfriend, Win, in a freak accident that she cannot even describe or believe. She heads to a hekamist to forget about all that happened, to forget Win. She is warned to not take the spell if having already been affected by another in the past, and she has, in the past, been affected by a memory spell already: to forget about the death of her parents. We learn about Win's side of the story, the side of the story of his best friend, Markos, who is undergoing his own personal demons, and the perspective of Ari's best friend, Kay. Each have taken a spell (kind of) to forget or change something in their lives. The most prominent thing, though, is the death of Win, and how each character chooses to move on.

The main issue I had here was that I was unable to sympathize, emphasize or relate to any of the characters. Yes, they are teenagers as I am, but the fact that this was a novel based on some aspects of fantasy seemed to stir these characters away from seeming normal to readers who are learning about them. I would have liked that more down-to-earth feel, you know? I did like each of the characters, all in all, it's just that the realism did not affect their actions or words.

I can just squeal about the cover of this all day long, and how much I loved the romance of this novel. It wasn't heavy, of course, because at the time where these characters are speaking, Win is already dead and it's the aftermath of all events, but Ari and Win seem to go back in time frequently and speak of events that they had with each other. It's heart-warming, knowing that there are two fictional characters who have had such a connection. Ari and Win seemed to intertwine in a way that many fictional couples don't get a chance to... even in a trilogy. I would not be able to state that their relationship was fast-paced, because it was over—agh, I'm just simply out of words.

This is a book that many would enjoy because it is so original and brilliant. I just would want everyone to give it a go and see how fantasy could mix with a real story so well.

The Cost of All Things contains so many themes that makes our emotions fall in a waterfall. I laughed, cheered, and felt my heart drop when the worst things occurred. The characters aren't relatable, but for me in this case, I paid attention to the fact that the book wasn't boring at all. I am seriously looking forward to more Maggie Lehrman, more poetic, lyrical writing and more good books like this. I know so many people who would need a book like this in their life. Three cheers for twisty, suspenseful mysteries that make you smile!

*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*
Profile Image for Claire (Book Blog Bird).
1,052 reviews38 followers
April 18, 2019
This was okay but it felt a bit like character soup as it was written from too many viewpoints. The premise was really interesting - like what would happen if witchcraft was an actual thing and people could get spells to fix mental health problems or physical imperfections - but the characters weren’t very sympathetic.
Profile Image for Beliz.
393 reviews18 followers
April 16, 2017
Araya giren vizeler,biraz da konuya daha hızlı hakim olamamış olmam belki de buna sebep oldu ama ben bir türlü bu kitaba ısınamadım. Her şeyden önce tüm karakterler çok bencildi. Hepsi sadece ve sadece kendi menfaatlerini düşünüp, kalan herkesi harcıyorlardı. Bir de çoklu anlatım vardı ki, sadece tüm o karakterlerin bencilliklerini daha detaylı okuduğum için ve olayları farklı açılardan gördüğüm için de belki karakterlerden hoşlanmadım. Bu kitapta beklentim çoook yüksekti ama gel gör ki küçük bir kısmını bile karşılayamadı.
Profile Image for Jessica Woodbury.
1,585 reviews1,982 followers
July 20, 2015
The world of this novel is so well done that it was frustrating not to see the novel live up to the premise. Lehrman's almost-normal reality is slightly altered from ours by the presence of hekamists, who are basically witches. Hekamists are illegal but still operate in a kind of black market. They can make spells to make you pretty, make someone fall in love with you, and all that. But these spells have side effects.

The characters here are oversimplified, boiled down to a single defining characteristic or two and don't get to feel as fleshed out as you'd like. Markos is the bad boy who's thinking of going good but can't break out of his role. Kay is the sidekick who just wants to be noticed. And Ari is the girl who's always defined herself through dance until she starts dating Win. That these characters are so easy to define is the novel's biggest weakness. Otherwise it has a strong plot and the hekamists are excellent.

It's a quick and easy read, and the comparisons to WE WERE LIARS and ETERNAL SUNSHINE are appropriate.
Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,450 reviews897 followers
Shelved as 'setting-aside-for-now'
May 7, 2015
Tried the first few chapters. There are three or four narrators who alternate by chapter, and I'm just not connecting with any of them. Also I'm not getting that "pulled in" kind of feeling that I want by this time in a book. I may try again later.

Read more of my reviews on YA Romantics or follow me on Bloglovin

Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!

Profile Image for The Last Coffe Bender.
69 reviews38 followers
August 9, 2017
Kurgunun böyle bir konu üzerine kurulması oldukça hoş olmuş. Ama kitaptaki tek hoşluk seçilen kurgu açıkcası. Yazar kitap boyunca sizi bir yerden bir yerden bir yere götürmeyi amaçlıyor ama bunu hangi amaçla yapıyor çözemiyorsunuz. Kitap gerçekten çok boş. Bu yüzden anlamanız oldukça zor. Kitabın dili oldukça akıcı ama bu kitabı kurtarmıyor. Karakter betimlemeleride oldukça havada kalmış. Bu yüzden bu kitaptan uzak durmanızda yarar var.
Profile Image for Celeste_pewter.
593 reviews147 followers
December 29, 2014
Extremely weird, but fascinating and thought-provoking. Highly, highly recommend.
Profile Image for Olivia.Teodora.
40 reviews17 followers
April 29, 2022
Deși descrierea m-a atras super mult la carte, povestea în sine nu mi-a spus mai nimic. Nu m-a atras și nu m-a incitat suficient încât să vreau să citesc mai mult din carte. Ba chiar să reușesc să o parcurg integral. În orice caz, fiecare carte își are cititorul, însă nu și în cazul nostru.
Profile Image for Renata M..
38 reviews2 followers
January 12, 2019
Overall, it's a good book, just by without a little time-consuming at times, making reading difficult.
Profile Image for Klaudia.
357 reviews11 followers
March 27, 2016

Das Leben könnte so einfach sein, wenn man sich einfach etwas wünschen könnte. In Aris Welt ist das möglich – Hekamistinnen, die sich gut für ihre Dienste bezahlen lassen, lassen so gut wie jeden Wunsch wahr werden. Doch die Nebenwirkungen sind verheerend, als Ari sich nach dem Tod ihres Freundes Win wünscht, ihn einfach zu vergessen. Denn er bleibt aus ihrem Kopf ausradiert, während Ari gar nicht ahnt, welche Kette von Ereignissen sie in Gang setzt – denn sie ist nicht die erste in ihrem Freundeskreis, die sich Wünsche kauft. Und bald muss sie feststellen, dass das Spiel der Wünsche einen hohen Einsatz fordert, in dem der Gewinn kleiner sein könnte als der Verlust…

Meine Bewertung

“Das Spiel der Wünsche” war mein erstes Rezensionsexemplar aus dem Arena Verlag. An dieser Stelle nochmal einen herzlichen Dank dafür! Mich hat am meisten der Klappentext und die bunte Aufmachung gelockt, dabei habe ich allerdings ein wesentlich lockereres Buch erwartet. Im Nachhinein muss ich zugeben, dass die Altersempfehlung von 14 Jahren aufwärts bei Maggie Lehrmans Buch definitiv gerechtfertigt ist – ich hätte zumindest ordentlich Bedenken, es jemand Jüngeres in die Hand zu geben, denn einige Stellen empfand selbst ich als wahnsinnig traurig und erdrückend.

Meine Meinung zu diesem Buch ist aber aus einem anderen Grund zwiegespalten. Zunächst einmal die positiven Aspekte: Ich mochte Maggie Lehrmans lockeren Schreibstil, die Art und Weise, mit der sie die Gefühle ihrer Charaktere zum Vorschein bringt, sodass sie wirklich beim Leser ankommen.
Außerdem möchte ich an dieser Stelle auch etwas hervorheben, das mich wirklich begeistert hat: Das Buch ist aus vielen Perspektiven geschrieben, wobei einige davon Rückblenden in frühere Ereignisse sind. In diesen habe ich zum ersten Mal tatsächlich gemerkt, dass ein Autor Depressionen als etwas Wahrhaftes beschreibt. Ich hatte schon viel mit depressiven Menschen zu tun, mit Menschen, auch im jugendlichen Alter, die schon gescheiterte Suizidversuche hinter sich hatten, und Maggie Lehrman gelingt es meiner Meinung nach meisterlich, diese Gefühle in Worte zu fassen, die mir in Gesprächen schon berichtet wurden. Ich hoffe sehr, dass vielleicht einige Jugendliche, die darunter leiden, sich darin wiedererkennen und sich professionelle Hilfe holen – denn das ist bei einem solch ernsten Thema, das hier auch nicht runtergespielt wird, wirklich zu raten.

Das bringt mich aber auch gleichzeitig zu den negativen Seiten. Das ganze Buch über hatte ich dieses bedrückende Gefühl, dass es mir schwer gemacht hat, weiterzulesen, weil es mich einfach die ganze Zeit über traurig gemacht hat. Immer wieder treffen Charaktere falsche Entscheidungen, oder sind ohne Grund gemein, und man hätte so viele Konflikte klären können, wenn sie einfach mal miteinander geredet hätten… Generell kann ich sagen, dass ich mit Ausnahme auf zwei der Charaktere alle anderen unsympathisch fand. Bei einem Buch, das aus vier Perspektiven geschrieben ist und dabei noch um einiges mehr Charaktere enthält, hat mich diese Bilanz doch ziemlich enttäuscht. Ich konnte viele der Handlungen nicht nachvollziehen, und auch über die Welt, in der sie leben, stehen bei mir noch einige Fragen offen. Der ganze Hintergrund der Hekamisten, wieso ihre Zirkel verboten wurden und noch so vieles mehr, was damit zu tun hat, war für mich einfach zu ungreifbar, weil es kaum erklärt ist.

Insgesamt fand ich das Buch durchaus okay, aber noch einmal würde ich es nicht lesen. Leichte Kost ist es eher nicht, aber auch nicht so schwer, dass man sich wochenlang damit rumquält. Man sollte sich jedoch nicht vom bunten, fröhlichen Cover leiten lassen, und sich bewusst sein, dass die Geschichte schon ziemlich ernste und dunkle Momente hat. Alles in allem war es aber eine solide Lektüre.
Profile Image for Rebecca (Unbound Pages).
636 reviews52 followers
April 17, 2015
This review and more can be found on my blog, The Library Canary.

***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***

As I’m sitting here trying to write this review, I’m wondering what to say. Because the truth is, I didn’t care about this book in the slightest. I don’t know what got me through it aside from the sheer habit of picking up a book at the end of the night and reading. I had so many issues with this book. Where do I even begin?

The multiple POVs were just too much. We jumped between four different POVs. Four different POVs that I didn’t care about. The only people that I somewhat cared about didn’t get POVs. So that was an epic fail for me. I never really like books that head hop between more than two people. Two is okay. Anymore and I feel an utter lack of connection to the characters which is exactly what happened in this book.

The characters themselves were horrible. Every single one of these characters was unlikeable. You’ve got Ari, who erases the memory of her boyfriend, Win who dies in a tragic accident. I thought she may be interesting at first because she’s a ballet dancer and that sparked my interest, but then she doesn’t dance for the whole book. And I was just so mad that she erased Win. Who the hell does that? I mean I know you’re hurting, but if you really loved a person then why the hell would you want to forget them??? Nope.

Then there was Kay. Oh dear lord, this girl was a train wreck. She was HORRIBLE. Like seriously worst “friend” ever. Her lack of guilt over the things she does, her stage four-clinger personality, her complete lack of independence. This girl was a whiny baby and all these things made me want to punch her in her stupid face.

Then we had Markos who whined the whole book about not being a real member of the family because he had no memories of his father. Yet, it seemed like his brothers tried to include him. Markos was just too busy throwing himself a pity party. Although I did feel bad for him at one point because his family does treat him like shit at a certain part of this book and it made my blood boil.

And finally we read from Win’s POV. Yes, the dead boyfriend. I didn’t care about his story at all. I mean, forgive me for being rude, but he’s dead. And I didn’t know him before he died. So why do I need to read from his POV? I can see Ari or Markos having flashbacks of memories with him, but I don’t think he needed his own POV. And he was another character that was just not interesting at all. All of these characters really were whiny. They all just complained the whole book and didn’t take the time to stop and appreciate what they had. Not even at the end.

I wanted the hekame aspect to be better explained as well. The world-building on this aspect wasn’t very good. I wanted to know how they made the spells, why they had to live in covens, why the government decided they were so dangerous, etc. I just wanted more on this side of things.

I could probably keep ranting about this book for another five paragraphs, but I’m just going to stop now. The only thing I enjoyed were a few of the minor characters like Echo, Jess (Ari’s aunt) and Mina (Kay’s sister), but we didn’t get enough of them and therefore they couldn’t make up for the total mess this book was. Wish I could speak more highly of it.
Profile Image for Sarah Louise.
749 reviews324 followers
October 8, 2015
The Cost of All Things presented itself with such a fantastic magical realism world where a wish can be granted upon the purchase of a spell. But of course, all magic comes with a price. Our main character, Ari, learns this the hard way when she purchases a spell to remove her memories of her dead boyfriend, Win. Although her pain from grief has vanished, Ari finds herself with a repercussion that may potentially destroy her dance career.

With four different perspectives, including additional side characters, it's difficult to pinpoint the main focus of the story. Of course we have Ari, who is struggling with the understanding as to why she purchased a spell in the first place. But we also get the perspective of Win, up until the moment of his death, along with his best friend, Markos, and Kay, a girl who uses spells to contour her life to her pleasing.

"They would be loyal. They would be constant. They wouldn’t leave me to go travelling the world. They couldn’t leave me – the spell kept them near."

The characters were difficult to deal with at times. Aside from a select few, the greed and overall immaturity they possessed was exhausting. I mean, purchasing a spell to prevent your friends from leaving your side, for example, seemed a little preposterous, even for an apprehensive, insecure teenager.

The history of the hekamists and their creation of spells could have used a little more elaboration. I mean, of course I know this is more of a contemporary than a fantasy, but the lack of information prevented me from completely understanding their purpose. I must say, though, the whole concept of purchasing a spell to erase your problems really does make you think. If this was a possibility in our world, would the average person partake? In situations of dire circumstances, I think people would, despite the dreadful consequences.

Although I cannot say I would choose to erase my memory of a loved one, I was able to understand the struggle that caused Ari to do so. Grief is certainly something that everyone deals with in their own way. It was interesting to read about Ari pretending to be in mourning, when in reality, she couldn't remember anything regarding her relationship with Win. I love that The Cost of All Things also focused on the impact people may have on our lives. Without realizing it, removing her memory of Win altered her frame of mind. The people we meet can shape us in a way that we may not imagine. It's certainly something to ponder over.

"Change will happen, Ariadne. Injuries. Loves. Deaths. There's never a moment where you're finished, that's it, all changes over. Change is forever."

There is a bit of a mysterious quality to the story that gives the impression of an grand conclusion. Although I did find the ending to be unexpected, it also felt a little anticlimactic and rushed. I had the same problem with another magical realism story, Love Fortunes and Other Disasters. The magic acted as a simple and convenient fix to a disastrous situation. With such a promising beginning, I was a little disappointed that The Cost of All Things wilted away into something more silly and disjointed.
Profile Image for Ashley (Loves Books).
239 reviews46 followers
April 10, 2015
**This review will post to Ashley Loves Books at a later date.**

I’m all about multiple POVs. Seriously. If you’ve read like 3 of my reviews minimum, you’ll know I’m down for dual narratives, I like multiple views of the same scenes. Love them, even.

But The Cost of All Things had 4, and 4 that were not very distinct in themselves. I mean, there are some stories (like Kasie West’s Pivot Point, or Rooms by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando) that have such tone and voice in each character that you never, ever doubt whose head you’re in. Even All Our Yesterdays is a fantastic example, where you know, without a doubt, which character you’re with when you read 4 words. This one definitely fell short of that – not only was it a bit confusing, but that it was split between different genders but all felt the same? It was a bit rough to read.

If you’ve been here awhile, you ALSO know that I can’t stand time travel. I hate it. Sure, there are some exceptions (All Our Yesterdays, again. Or Relativity by Cristina Bashares), but overall – nope. Now, this hatred doesn’t always extend to linear storytelling, but it definitely did for The Cost of All Things. When I found out we got Win’s point of view, I was stoked! Awesome! Dead boy talking! This is great!

But it wasn’t. It was awkward and clunky and he sounded like all the others and the hopping between timelines just couldn’t work for me.

It didn’t help that I didn’t particularly like any of the characters in the first place. They were each moody and selfish in their own ways, and I felt like they just…didn’t like each other, at all. I understood why Ari would erase Win (this book being pitched as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was a definite draw for me!), and a lot of her results and feelings after the spell made sense…but it didn’t make me like her at all. I thought she did so many things wrong, I felt she was ridiculous and stubborn and I just couldn’t stand her. Kay was probably the only character I could have been on board with – trust me, I will always be the Ugly Duckling at heart, no matter how cute my hair is curled now – but some of those Hooks and cookies she had going on…I mean, I kno they attached ‘desperate’ to Ari, but Kay was definitely in that category.

I’m sad that this book didn’t quite work out for me, because I loved the premise of it. I thought it was unique and different and while I don’t believe in spellwork/hekamists or what-have-you, I do believe in mistakes being made and learning from them. I believe in consequences and unintended happenings from action. I believe in recovery and moving on—I have to believe in those things. And there was such potential and original thought in this book – some of the spells are things I thought were so creative!

The Cost of All Things had a lot of creative elements that spoke to me and made me pick up the book, but so many other elements fell so short for me it made it difficult to continue reading. Around page 120 I started skipping and skimming, just so I could know what happened but not have to keep up with the horribly annoying characters. While I think there were some bright spots in the plotlines, all the others just dulled it away.
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