Monday, November 14, 2011

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.
This book gives us a dystopian world in which I would not do well. Okay, granted, I have not come across  a dystopian world in which I would do well, but this was one that I could see happening all to easily. It is a world suppressed by not just by the government, but by the lack of courage coming from the masses into standing up for what was right. So on one hand it was an interesting world and on the other hand, it comes too close to reality in some ways.

We are taken within this world on a journey with Anya who is a crime bosses's (Russian mafia) daughter. Already seen unspeakable acts of cruelty toward her own family she becomes the leader and the caretaker of what is left of her small immediate family. One who she protects fiercely. That makes me like her. Her character becomes more fleshed out the more you understand her sacrifices she makes without hesitation and at such a young age.

Now, I did like her family and found them interesting. However, I must admit that I found her best friend and her boyfriend Win (one that could endanger her family) uninteresting. They just felt flat and 2 dimensional. So, I really didn't connect with them or her feelings toward Win. Still her journey and what she endured to protect her family I still found interesting.

There were also a few things that did bother me within this world and even with Anya. One was the fact that no one had any problem judging the other as soft or strong based on what they thought their background gave them. Now, I do understand this is a real world problem, but when you had all the characters do it, it became tedious. I also had a problem that strength was seen as keeping abuses silent. That did not sit will with me, although I did understand it from Anya's POV. Her character would have too much to lose to whistleblow, but many of the others did not. Hence, my annoyance at that part.

I give this book 3 stars. I really did enjoy Anya and her journey. I also understand that this story will continue. I'd be curious as to where it take us and I'm also curious as to what could get fixed and how. That way at least one annoyance would be erased for me. :)
I received this book for review and no compensation was given.


  1. No chocolate and coffee? No swimming pools? Kill me right now and spare the anguish...what a horrible vision! A great review, Melissa!

  2. I'd have a hard time with the illegal chocolate - I don't get why!? But this still makes me curious. Great review!

    Xpresso Reads

  3. Most of the reviews I've read feel a lot like you. I don't think I'd survive without chocolate. Just thinking that makes me want to go find some. :D I think I'd like to read this one, but more as a library book. Although, I have flat 2-dimmensional characters. I like relating to my fictional peeps and if they are the romantic interest, it doesn't work if I can't.

  4. Yeah... I could live without chocolate... I wouldn't WANT to- but I could! I COULD NOT live without coffee! I'd due within a day or two!!!

    I still need to read this one! But most reviews are less than stellar... And more 'meh'! Lol!

  5. The keeping abuse silent aspect wouldn't sit well with me either, but the fact that this world could easily be ours given a bit more time is terrifyingly intriguing. I would not survive without chocolate though. *pets bag of mini kit kat bars*

  6. i've heard lots of good things about this - far too scary for me, what could be more frightening than chocolate being illegal I ask you.

  7. No chocolate or coffee? Hell on Earth! I can't remember the last day I went through the day without at least one of these - usually it's both!! :)

  8. Sorry it didn't blow you mind away, I was intrigued by the synopsis but finally I decided to not check this one. However it sounds like a nice read too. I haven't read a lot of dystopian book (Ok just one). But it's interesting to read another genre of books.

  9. Yeah, I wasn't really impressed with Win either, and or any of the secondary characters. And I had a lot of the same frustrations as you especially after that guy came to talk to Anya and basically told her she HAD to continue on in the family business.


  10. Your review, added to the painful premise of this world, is pushing me towards passing on this one for now.

  11. Chocolate...evil? What kind of world is that! Madness!!! I love chocolate.

    Ok to the point, it does sound good, but at the same time those things you mention makes me want to pass

  12. This was a DNF for me. I tried, I really tried but I just could not finish it. I did give it to a friend of mine thought---can't wait to see what she thinks.

  13. YUP! I loved this book! Did you see the book is looks like chocolate bar. Take off the book jacket, It's cool! Loved the review!

  14. I've already had to give up my coffee, I WILL NOT GIVE UP MY CHOCOLATE!!!! NO!!

    I've heard about this book a lot lately, and I've been tempted to get it for myself, but I think I might wait a little longer after reading your review. I hate when characters that are suppose to be important to the story are 2-dimensional.
    Thanks for the review!

  15. I've had this book at the top of my wishlist and so am a bit disappointed that you didn't enjoy it so much. I think I would also be bothered by most of the issues that bothered you so I guess I'm glad to have been warned, though I'll probably still give it a try.


Thanks for commenting! I ❤ comments!