All These Things I’ve Done - Gabrielle Zevin

Synopsis: It’s 2083. There’s a chocolate prohibition, and New York City is a very changed place. Art museums are now dance clubs, books are musty relics of the past, water is strictly rationed, and the mafia ruled black market consists of chocolate and caffeine.

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.

Review: I am starting this review off by announcing that this is one of the best books I have read in 2011 so far. It’s a dystopian novel of sorts set in 2083. Unlike normal dystopian novels, it’s not all about the protagonist breaking out of a monitored society, which is SO refreshing. I did not put this book down once I started reading it. It was completely engrossing and consuming of me.

It’s 2083 in NYC. And coffee is banned. As is chocolate. On a personal note, I think I would probably die if this happened in 2011! Coffee and chocolate are essentials for me. “OMG” is an old-fashioned saying that only the elderly say, and the meaning is lost on the younger generations. People are fined for carrying paper without permits, water is rationed and extremely expensive, books aren’t any longer printed and if you own one you value it, businesses are closed down for hygene related laws that are made up on the spot and art museums are now dance clubs.

Anya Balanchine is 16 years old. She is the daughter of a (dead) notorious crime boss and her family is the mafia, who own and produce chocolate. She finds herself falling in love with Goodwin (aka Win) Delacroix who is the son of NYC’s new assistant D.A. and who wants to make an impression as someone hard on crime…. see where this is going?

Anya finds herself in a situation.. which starts immediately when you start reading the book, and it really is all just a major chain of events in her life. She is blamed for accidentally poisoning her ex-boyfriend when she gives him some chocolate. She certainly didn’t poison the chocolate.. so who did?

This book had me hooked in the first chapter, which honestly not many books do (a lot of the time I have to warm up to them). It starts of with a bang and I absolutely adored that this was a dystopian that focused on the mafia and crima. And it had some fantastic relationship drama going on as well.

The characters that Zevin has created are facinating. I absolutely love Anya’s characyer. She is completely likeable. Moreso than some of the main female characters of books I have recently read. And her brother Leo who has a mental disability after an accident written in such a true way. He is so innocent, but so difficult to manage at times. He is a young boy in a grown ups body. I particularly liked that this book showed a different type of family, with different dynamics.

If Win was a real life person, every girl would want this boy to be theirs. He is flirtacious, persistent, completely charming and sweet. I love him!

This is the first book of Gabrielle Zevin’s that I have had the pleasure of reading, but if her other books are anything like this, then I am a fan! I am so looking forward to the other two books in this trilogy (named the ‘Birthright’ series) as well.

Rating: 5 out of 5

What do you think?

  • Shirley says:

    Awesome review! I really can’t wait to read this now :)
    I personally won’t survive either if BOTH chocolate & coffee were banned!
    I feel like I’m going to fall for Win as well- he sounds ‘perfect’!


  • karen says:

    I really like Zevin and I keep forgetting to put this book on my wishlist. Thanks for the reminder!

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  • deirdra says:

    Great review! You have a fabulous blog! I’m an author and illustrator and I made some awards to give to fellow bloggers whose sites I enjoy. It’s not a pass on award. This is just for you to keep. I want to award you with the Best Books Blog Award for all the hard work you do! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review all these books for us authors and readers.

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  • Great review - I’m glad you enjoyed the book so much.

    Linking from my own review :)

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