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At What Cost

At What Cost

4.6 11
by J. Andersen

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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


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. But an easy decision becomes difficult when Maggie's aunt discovers her secret and sets out on a mission to stop the abortion, putting a kink in Maggie's plan. Now Maggie must decide which choice she can live with: abortion or teenage motherhood. Either way, it'll be a tough road to travel.

*** Young Adult RONE finalist award and the USA Best Book Award finalist in Youth Issues ***

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Clean Reads
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Meet the Author

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 information about her books at jandersenbooks.com, and you can follow her blogs at Therabidwriter.blogspot (Personal blog) and Readbetweenthelinesbookclub.blogspot.com (Book blog). You can also follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jvdlandersen and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jandersenbooks

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At What Cost 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Slithy More than 1 year ago
I read a lot of books, and if I don't like what I am reading I put the book down. I graduated from college with a degree in literature and prefer not to waste time on bad books. I did not put down Anderson's book. In fact I could not wait to tap the side of the screen to get to the next page. The characters are believable and easy to understand. I am not a teenage girl, but I am a father who is wrapped tightly around the finger of his beautiful daughter. I could not help but feel for the characters in the story as they struggled with the decisions that Maggie Reynolds has to make concerning her pregnancy. Anderson lays out the story for the reader almost effortlessly. There were times that I forgot I was even reading. The story seems to take on a life of its own. It is a book that I will share with my daughter, and I am looking forward to the discussions that will come as a result. Thank you Mrs. Anderson for a fine book about a very serious issue, and reader beware. More than once did my eyes fill with tears as I read this book, and I bet yours will too.
K-A2 More than 1 year ago
Everyone's read the story of the pregnant teenager with decision after decision to make regarding her life, but somehow J. Andersen manages to give a new perspective to the story. You'll find yourself inside Maggie's world, making the decisions for her and hoping that she makes the same ones. By the end of the book you'll feel as if you know Maggie, and you'll grow to appreciate Aunt Rachel's love for her too. This Book will definitely leave you pleading for more by this author. Be prepared though, because once you pick it up you won't be putting it down until you're finished.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With her book, "At What Cost." Ms. Andersen has truly captured the difficulties facing teenage girls and the age old pressure to have sex outside of marriage. I found myself with tears running down my face as  I read this story, and I am an old retired guy with grown children of my own. Superb story. It should be  required reading for teens, both boys and girls. Well done Ms.Andersen. 
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Angie Book provided by the publisher for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book Probably what I liked most about this book is that it did not glamorize teenage pregnancy. Instead, it gives a very real and sometimes brutal look into what every young woman must deal with when she finds herself pregnant; lost, scared, alone, and unsure what is the right decision to make. I found certain parts – especially talk about abortion – almost difficult to get through, but completely unable to put my e-reader down as I wanted to find out what happened next. Pregnancy isn’t the only topic covered in this book. In addition to finding herself pregnant, Maggie is left feeling like the last people she could talk to and count on for support is her parents; instead she leans almost exclusively on Justin, her boyfriend and father of her unborn child, and eventually on her Aunt Rachel who figures out that Maggie’s pregnant. Throughout the book Justin proves to be an absolute jerk while Aunt Rachel becomes a very important person in Maggie’s life. Maggie’s father is too busy working all of the time to provide for the family, while her mother is too busy trying to be better than everyone else and instilling in her daughters that they’re a reflection on the family and nothing less than perfection will be tolerated. I really disliked Maggie’s mother throughout almost the entire book. This story was beautifully written and kept me from doing anything else but reading until it was finished. However, the ending was extremely abrupt and seemed almost unfinished. You’re left wondering if there’s going to be a sequel to see what happens next.
Clark_Zlotchew More than 1 year ago
At What Cost: A Pregnant High School Girl’s Heart-Rending Dilemma My reaction to the novel, At What Cost, by J. Andersen, surprised me tremendously. The book is classified as young adult, which is not my preferred type of reading. In fact, I had never even read a novel in that category, since I am far from being in the projected audience. In addition, it concerns a sixteen-year-old high school girl who finds herself pregnant. In today’s world, this is not an uncommon occurrence. I assumed it would be a maudlin account of a wayward teenager. But once I began to read the novel, I began to like the protagonist and to feel a great interest in this vulnerable girl’s fate. This immediate interest, of course, is the result of J. Andersen’s writing skill. Maggie, the protagonist, is sincerely in love with Justin, the handsome, charming and reluctant father. Maggie’s family is dysfunctional. Her mother is a perfectionist; everything has to be absolutely perfect. She is always expertly coiffed, her dinner table must be set following all the rules of etiquette, and, as she often tells Maggie, everything the members of the family do reflect on the family’s honor, on the family’s reputation in the community. Maggie and her mother are constantly arguing about what to most people would seem petty: e.g. the right clothing to wear when leaving the house. Maggie’s father is the strong, silent type who spends so much time at his business –he feels it his duty to work as much as possible in order to give the material best to his family—that he has no time to enjoy his family, to interact with his daughter. Maggie, like any teen-age girl needs a certain rapport with her father, but feels it is missing. Naturally, the protagonist interprets the behavior of her parents –constant nagging and arguments with her mother, lack of interaction with her father—as lack of love. She seeks the closeness, the love she yearns for in the arms of her boyfriend, Justin. Justin strongly urges her to have an abortion. Maggie feels that such a procedure would be a tremendous relief for her anxiety, would free her from the prospect of being disowned by her family and mocked by her classmates. Following Justin’s advice would certainly solve all the problems that bearing a child at the age of sixteen would entail. In addition, no one other than Justin would even know of her pregnancy. She would be free to pursue teenage fun with no encumbrances. At the same time, she is frightened of the procedure, and has to contend with her feminine mother instinct. The bulk of the novel revolves around the struggle in Maggie’s mind over whether to abort or to carry full term and be a mother at the age of sixteen. There are forces tugging at her in both directions. In the end, she is the one to make the decision. This is a heavy responsibility for a sixteen-year-old girl. A novel with the premises described above could be a tawdry, pedestrian and overly-sentimental narration that would ineluctably bore the reader. This is absolutely not the case in At What Cost. On the contrary, Andersen is a highly talented and accomplished writer. Her writing skill engages the reader from the very beginning, builds up tension through a deep penetration into the young girl’s psyche, her internal struggle between early motherhood and all its ramifications, on one hand, and the potentially liberating procedure of abortion. My description of this novel does little to convey the tension, suspense, drama and emotion generated by a reading of this book. The only way to experience these elements is to read the book. At What Cost seizes the reader by the heartstrings from the very beginning and never lets go. The various characters are drawn with absolute clarity; the reader knows each one of them intimately. This novel packs a powerful punch and wil will be long remembered by the reader..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book full of emotions....about teen pregnacy...the ebding was terrible so many unanswered questions!!!!
iheartyabooks More than 1 year ago
At What Cost is a beautiful novel that reminded me that no matter how bad or hopeless you think your situation is, something good can always come out of it. I thought J. Andersen did an outstanding job writing Maggie's story. She gives readers the truth and a heart-felt story about a controversial subject. I absolutely adored Maggie's character. She’s strong, real, and really searches within her heart and mind about her situation to find the truth for herself. I loved when Maggie realized things were not just about her, that it was also about a life, and that she had the power to give her baby a chance to have a life or to take it away. That this little "mass of tissue" as her boyfriend Justin called it, was more than that, it was a person. I also loved Evan. Oh, how I wish all guys were this great. He was an awesome, great support system for Maggie. Not in telling her what to do, but in showing her his support in whatever she decided, and what a real reasonable guy is like. I enjoyed the scenes between Evan and the jerk Justin so much. I sat back and said, You go Evan! You’re definitely what a true man is supposed to be. I would like to thank J. Anderson for being brave enough to write about a controversial subject such as abortion, and I truly hope that this novel will help teenage girls and women think about all the different options they have when faced with an unexpected pregnancy. I highly recommend At What Cost as a beautiful, heart-touching read with truth that gives hope, and would also recommend to anyone who knows a teenage girl or woman who is facing this situation to be a true friend and to listen and stand by them. This would be a great book to give them to read. There is information on services that can help at the end of this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written, looking at all sides of teen pregnancy. Can't wait to read author's future books.
Darla_Ortiz More than 1 year ago
At What Cost is the debut novel by J. Andersen that deals with a young girl’s choice whether or not to terminate her unwanted pregnancy. The topic of teen pregnancy is one we are all too familiar with, unfortunately, but often times we only see part of the whole story. At What Cost was a wonderful novel in the sense that we really get an idea of who Maggie is, and just how much she struggles with her choice and her responsibility. She isn’t some dumb girl with no morals who doesn’t care about the consequences – just the opposite. She comes across like a real human being, one who made a mistake and now must decide which path to choose. Problem is, neither choice will be easy, and more complications present themselves each day. Author J. Andersen created a realistic story that is well-written and easy to get lost in…one that will pull at the heartstrings and keep you turning the pages wondering what Maggie will ultimately do. This is a powerful book that should be required reading for anyone with a teenage daughter or son, or just anyone who enjoys a deep novel with real emotions, problems, and choices. The ending makes me wonder if Maggie’s story will continue, and I for one hope so. I’d love to see what life has in store for her! Highly recommend for teens as well as adults.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow! I was surprised by how caught up i got in maggie's life. Thought i was reading a true srory. Jandersen presents real people with real problems. I am glad that she didn't try to solve them all. Would love to read a sequel to this and see if it matches my own.
flutemusician More than 1 year ago
This story captivated me from beginning to end! I am adult who loves to read young adult literature, and this definitely is a great pick! As I read the book, I really felt as though I were there, alongside Maggie, every step of the way. I can't wait for the next story from J. Andersen!