08 February 2012

all these things i’ve done by Gabrielle Zevin


In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family. Engrossing and suspenseful, All These Things I've Done is an utterly unique, unputdownable read that blends both the familiar and the fantastic.
Throughout the book I identified most not with Anya, but with Scarlett. I like how she’s a loyal friend and is present throughout the book, not just as the plot needs her. That doesn’t mean that Anya is a bad character, though. On the contrary, she is smart and crafty, always thinking five steps ahead of everyone else and never giving in to impulse. I think this is why I didn’t identify with her as much as Scarlett because Anya seems to have super-human restraint, something that I don’t care for much. However, I like how Win is Anya’s only weakness, which makes her seem at least a little more human, and how he tries to win her over in a way that is not stalker-y or threatening but is sweet, patient, and normal for a teenage boy. I also like how he in the beginning he is willing to give up if that is what Anya wants, showing that Anya is not the beginning and end of his whole existence but just someone cool he would like to hang around with. The plot of the book is rather difficult to deal with. Anya lives in an apartment with her ailing grandmother, a mentally injured older brother, and a twelve year old sister. Add in the common YA trope that her parents are dead this makes Anya a wise-beyond-her-years teenager as well as caretaker of her family. I find it a little unrealistic, though. If Anya’s father was the mob leader and her grandmother is the mother of the current mob boss I don’t think the mob would leave the family alone as much as the Balanchines ignore Anya. It’s intimated many times that Anya’s maturity means she would be a much better mob boss, and I wish Zevin had explored this a little more in the book. Perhaps she’s saving it for a sequel. If she is I’ll be buying. This review was of an ARC I got through a YA blogger trade. I received no compensation for this review.

1 comment:

  1. I just loved this book! I can't wait for the next installment! :)