I’m super excited to be hosting a stop on the At What Cost Blog Tour, hosted by YA Bound! Read on to learn more about the book, my thoughts on it, and a link to a giveaway, where you can enter to win one of three e-books of At What Cost.
At What Cost by J. Andersen
Released June 13, 2012 by Astraea Press
Currently E-book only, 225 pages
[Goodreads | Amazon]
During her junior year, sixteen-year-old Maggie Reynolds expected to shop for prom dresses not maternity clothes. Now, instead of studying for the SATs, she’s reading, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Maggie’s ‘Mother Dearest’ lives in fear that Maggie will somehow taint the family name, so Maggie can’t turn to her for help. Meanwhile, her father is oblivious to anything but his 9-9 job. And her boyfriend, Justin? She’s pretty sure he’ll stay by her side.
While Maggie wrestles with her options, Justin offers a solution: abortion. It would solve all her problems quickly, easily, and effectively. And her parents would never know, which means they won’t throw her out and cut her off like they’d always threatened if she got herself knocked up. Now Maggie must decide which choice she can live with: abortion or teenage motherhood. Either way, it’ll be a tough road to travel.
This is the second book that takes an indepth look at teen pregnancy that I’ve read. The first was The First Part Last, which I read for my YA Literature course, and it was told from the teen father’s point of view. This book is your more “typical” book, in that it comes from the point of view of the mother, who in this case is sixteen-year-old Maggie. Maggie has a lot to deal with; she and her mother don’t get along, her father works long hours and is never home, and she’s trying to adjust to being the girlfriend of an extremely popular guy at school, which is thrusting her more into the social spotlight. And then she realizes that she’s pregnant, and things quickly change.
First of all, I want to give massive props to the author for portraying what seems like an extremely realistic look at teenage pregnancy. Maggie initially denies the pregnancy, and then once she can’t do that any longer, still refuses to tell anyone what she’s dealing with, aside from Justin, who is the father. Justin’s solution is simple: an abortion. The book then turns into a “should I or shouldn’t I” situation, wherein Maggie struggles to figure out what she wants. I’m going to be upfront when I say that Justin is a total jerk, and Maggie’s blindness about this sort of infuriated me. But, again, it’s completely realistic; so many girls want to think that their boyfriend loves them and will stand by them, etc., even when it’s fairly obvious that the opposite is true.
What I really enjoyed about this book was the way Maggie was portrayed. Once she learns she’s pregnant, she starts dealing with so many emotions, and the reader gets a front row seat. She is slowly falling apart, and her feelings are so well-written that the reader can easily empathize with her. It was interesting to me to watch her contradictions and uncertainties, and to see what she would decide to do next. The lead up to Maggie’s ultimate decision was the strongest part of this book, at least for me.
My biggest complaint was the negative portrayal of one particular topic in this book, which I can’t really go into detail about because I’m trying to avoid spoilers. So I’ll apologize upfront for sort of beating around the bush and keeping things rather vague. I sort of felt like only the bad aspects of said topic were shown in this book, and while it does tie in to Maggie’s feelings and outlook, I don’t believe that you can paint everyone with the same brush. Not everyone is going to react the same, and it seemed like that was the message. (Again, sorry for the vagueness; if you’re interested in having me just say exactly what I mean, let me know and I can do so in the comments or something.) That being said, I seem to be the only one who thinks this, so your mileage may vary!
All in all, I found At What Cost to be a really solid book about a rather controversial topic. Maggie was solidly drawn, and the description of what she’s dealing with and her emotional journey is first-rate. The little bit of a romance going on with Evan also gets two thumbs up, as does the fact that the book is engaging and a very quick read. As a heads up, the ending was a bit abrupt; I couldn’t believe the book was finished and thought at first that my Kindle was lying. I personally would be interested in a sequel, as I’d love to see what comes next for Maggie and the others.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via YA Bound Blog Tours.
YA Bound is sponsoring a giveaway of three e-book copies of At What Cost. Because I am a WordPress blogger, I can’t post the Rafflecopter widget directly in my post, so if you’re interested in entering for your chance to win a copy of this book, please go HERE. Good luck to everyone who enters!
About Jessie Andersen
Jessie Andersen lives in a small town in Western New York with her husband and three kids. A former English teacher, she now spends her time writing while the kids are at school and the baby is sleeping. She volunteers at the local library and sings in the church band. You can find more information about her books at jandersenbooks.com.
You can connect with Jessie at the following links:
Book Blog | Personal Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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Thanks so much for your thorough and thoughtful review. I’m so glad you were willing to participate in the tour.
Thank you for stopping by! I’m glad I got to read At What Cost. :)