Book Review: The Cost of All Things

The Cost of All Things
By: Maggie Lehrman
Published by: Balzer + Bray
Release date: May 12, 2015
Genre: YA magical realism
416 pages
Source: ARC kindly provided by publisher

The Cost of All Things is the ultimate be-careful-what-you-wish-for cautionary tale. There are many things going on in this book that are really good. And while I really do love it, this is one that I love enough to be more critical with than I might be with other books. It's about potential, I think; this one could have been absolutely genius, and while I really enjoyed the read, I was just a smidge disappointed that it wasn't all that it could have been.

 The overall concept is absolutely killer: the effects that lies and selfish decisions and shortcuts have on friendship, with a twist of magic. The story is told through a group of young people who are interconnected in a variety of ways, and not all of them are friends. One of the narrators is connected to everyone in a positive way, but is dead throughout the book. There is a Breakfast Club of types: the dancer, the nice girl, the selfish girl, the broken boy, the tough guy, the outsider. Every reader will be able to identify with a character, and also find one to villify.

There are also some areas that, while not at all terrible, just don't live up to the potential. The plot gets just a bit muddied with so many characters carrying independent but interwoven storylines, with many of them taking a turn at narration. The character dialogue feels just a little under-crafted; for example, the boys all seem to swear, and the girls all are reduced to catty, snide exchanges when angry. The book could have been streamlined in a way that kept the pace from getting bogged down. One question that I read for pages and pages to find the answer to goes unresolved- I'm still bummed out about that.

I would love to see another novel using this lore. The idea of the modern-day hekamist is intriguing, and I can imagine all sorts of trouble that characters would be able to get themselves into using these spells. I would love to see all the trouble caused by someone deciding to illegally become a hekamist. The tourist population could become a complicator as well- oh, now I'm really hoping that Lehrman has plans to pick this thread back up and give us a book 2. If not that, then the CW really needs to look at this book as the basis for series; they've done well with just this kind of thing before, and this story could just be their next hit.


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.


  1. This book really intrigued me from the synopsis, and I loved We Were Liars so it seems like a promising read. Thanks for the lovely review :)

    Eugenia @ Genie In A Book


Post a Comment

We love your comments!