Published by Balzer + Bray on May 12th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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
I am so excited to be participating in the 2015 Debut Author Bash! This is my third year participating and I love being able to shine the light on debut authors. This year, I am happy to welcome Maggie Lehrman, author of The Cost of All Things, to The Turning Pages blog.
Below, you will find an interview with Maggie, as well as my review of her debut novel. Oh, and there’s a giveaway too. 😉
About Maggie Lehrman
website | goodreads
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 Cost of All Things is a very thought provoking read. Where did the idea to write a book involving hekame come from?
When I started to write this book, the first image I had in my mind was a girl who’d chosen to forget the memory of her boyfriend who had died. To me, that was the mystery and the engine of the plot: What happened to the boyfriend? Why would she make such an extreme choice? What are the consequences of erasing her memory? Does she regret it? This lead to a bunch of great worldbuilding questions: If people from this world can erase their memories, what else can they do? How does that magic work? I started thinking about this magic system, and decided that the people who could do this magic should have their own name and their own traditions. So I invented hekamists and hekame. They proved fascinating!
As a fan of books written in multiple POVs, did you always have the intention of this or did it come about during your writing process?
It came about as part of the writing. I started with only Ari’s point of view, but after many months working on her story (and some great advice from early readers and mentors), I realized that I was really limited the scope of the story by feeding it through the POV of a character who couldn’t remember the most important thing in the book! So I started playing around with the other characters and very quickly started to see that their lives were intertwined with Ari’s but also had arcs and problems beyond what she was experiencing. After tons of writing and exploring, I started being able to thread these four characters’ POVs together.
With this being your debut YA novel, did you always have a goal of writing for young adults?
YA wasn’t as big a category when I was a teenager as it is now, but I never stopped reading the books that enchanted me as a kid, particularly Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books, and I never stopped writing, though for a long time in high school and college I was writing plays. After college, I took my English degree to New York and got a job in publishing, and soon realized that there was a space where I could actually work on books like the ones that made me fall in love with reading and writing–and maybe write them myself, too! It took ten years of editing other people’s work, several manuscripts in a drawer, and earning an MFA, but I got there eventually.
I’m sure you’ve been asked this multiple times, but readers are always curious to know…what’s next?
I’m working on my next YA book for Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins. It’s unrelated to The Cost of All Things, but it’s also set in a world that is slightly different from our own in a magical way. It’s about sisters, a play, two romances, video pranks, and whether or not there’s any meaning in our lives or if everything’s random. That’s about all I can say now 🙂
If you could collaborate with any author, who would it be? Why?
What an interesting question! I’ve never collaborated with another writer before and I think it
would be a challenge. Usually I have to be unafraid to sound stupid for a long time before I’m
ready to show anyone. So as much as I’d love to say Philip Pullman or Judy Blume or J.K.
Rowling, I think I’d have to choose a friend who I’m super comfortable with. I know lots of
fabulous writers but I think I’m going to have to say the immensely talented Skila Brown,
author of Caminar.
I had no idea what to expect when I took a chance on The Cost of All Things a few months ago. One thing I know for sure is, I didn’t expect the “WOW” reaction I had upon finishing it. This debut novel is extremely thought-provoking and unique among the young adult genre.
The whole premise of the story is one that had me hooked from the get go. I was intrigued and fascinated with the magical elements and the “what if” questions asked throughout the story. If you lost someone you loved, what lengths would you go to take away the pain and grief? Would you sacrifice your overall happiness? Your talents? Your friendships? What would you give up to take away the memory of the person who is no longer there? These are all questions that really get you thinking and asking yourself, ‘what if?’.
There were several aspects of this novel that had my attention from the start. For one, the multiple POVs. If you’re a regular following of this blog, then you’re probably aware of my love of books written with multiple POVs. With a story this captivating and a unique storyline, it was very interesting to read it from the perspective of four different people, all experiencing the loss of the same person. Second, the mystery behind the story. I thought I had it all figured out, but then I’d be wrong. To me, that’s a sign of great writing. Third, the characters. While at times, I couldn’t stand them, there were brief moments where they redeemed themselves. The made the story though. Each one played a key role and I think the outcome is exactly what I wasn’t expecting. Which is another thing that I enjoyed about this book. And finally, the concept. I can’t rave enough about how unique the story is as a whole. I know…I am being very vague, but this is a story that is sure to leave you guessing and trying to piece together the pieces from the start.
1 signed copy of Maggie Lehrman’s debut
The Cost of All Things
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