Thursday, December 29, 2011

Review: All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Title: All These Things I've Done
Series: The Birthright Series
Book #: One
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Published: 2011
Source: For Review
My Rating: 
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. (taken from
Honestly, I procrastinated a lot on this one. I hadn't read very promising reviews, and the premise didn't thrill me. Then I finally started All These Things I've Done, and I was blown away. I cannot believe I waited this long! The fabulous, addictive story kept me locked up in my rooms for hours yesterday. 

The plot is fascinating. I've never read a book centered around a mafia family, and Anya's dangerous life filled with lies and crime intrigued me. A roller coaster of twist and turns, the story jumps from mystery to romance, romance to action, action to suspense, all in the turn of a page. While the events in the Balanchine family are serious, perhaps even deadly, a lighthearted innocence permeates the novel. Despite their best efforts, the Balanchine children are still young and naive. My heart ached for them as they faced down obstacles adults would fear.

Anya is an incredible character. With an iron will and a sharp tongue, she defends her brother and sister with all of her strength. I kept thinking to myself, If I were Anya, I would have broken down and given up a long time ago. But no, our poor Annie presses on. She is, without a doubt, one of my new favorite protagonists.She is just so human; flawed yet lovable, confused but determined, young and desperate. Anya's impressive understanding of the world around her is mind boggling. Her strategic plans to avoid being manipulated by her corrupt family made me admire her even more. 

The number one thing I did NOT expect from this novel was a swoon-worthy romance. Anya is over the top practical, always planning ahead and listening to her head before her heart. That is why I was shocked when she fell for young Win, the son of the DA. Can you say star-crossed lovers? Like all of the characters in the story, Win is well-developed and lovable. Together, the determined couple ignites a fire. I couldn't get enough of their relationship.

This compelling story of a family corrupted by crime and murder will captivate readers everywhere. I know many of my fellow bloggers didn't enjoy this one, but I cannot begin to understand why. I thought it was absolutely brilliant! If you haven't checked out All These Things I've Done, do it now! It's one of the best dystopian novels I've read all year.