Thursday Snippets – Jessie Bailey Anderson – #excerpts

Today, fellow Astraea Press author, Jessie Bailey Anderson, is sharing from her young adult novel, At What Cost.

At What Cost book coverBlurb:

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.


Maggie glanced at Lauren, and shooed her away with her

hand. She flicked her eyes back to her calendar, flipped to the

month of August, and counted the days from the little ”X” she’d

made at the beginning of the month.

Lauren interrupted her deep concentration. “Maggie,” she

whispered, smacking her gum.

A bead of sweat trickled down Maggie’s hairline. Finally,

she looked straight at her friend, whose eyes squinted in confusion.

“What’s wrong?”

“Oh, nothing.” Slapping her notebook closed, she packed up

her books long before class was over. “Nothing, I’m fine.”

But she wasn’t. “Ms. O’Donnell, I’m not feeling well,” she

said as she gathered her books and dashed to the nearest bathroom

down the hall, where she locked herself in the handicapped stall

and sat on the toilet trying to suck in a full breath. It wasn’t

possible. The calendar she’d just used moments before stared at her

from the top of her pile of books, but she ignored it for a while

longer, choosing instead to read the graffiti on the walls. Jenna

& Cade 4ever. Mr. Brackenrich bites! Not very creative. Staring at the

puffy lettering scratched on the wall, her vision grew fuzzy until

her brain pulled her into the present again.

She had probably counted wrong. Yeah, that was it.

Grabbing the little book, she looked for the mark telling her what

day she’d started last month. Twentyeight, twentynine,


Numbness spread through her limbs and mind as she sat on

the toilet. Her arms slack at her side, she didn’t have the strength

even to close the notebook, which still lay open on her lap. She was

late. Two weeks late. She’d been late before, but only a couple of

days, never two weeks. Forty‑one days. No, that couldn’t be right.

One more time. Count one more time. But it was no use. All six times,

she came up with the same number. She was late. Late enough to


Without warning, her stomach heaved, and the acid rose.


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