All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Release Date: September 6th, 2011
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 354 Pages
Source: Bought the Audiobook
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Birthright #1
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.
All These Things I’ve Done is about a 16 year old girl named Anya, whose family is in the illegal business of chocolate making. This is the story of her life, what happens when someone poisons the chocolate her family makes, and the repercussions of her starting to fall in love with a boy, whose father is the assistant D.A.
This book, like Eve by Anna Carey, had everything that I was wanting in a dystopian society. And on top of that, the premise of the society is SO unique. Caffeine is illegal, chocolate is too, paper (and consequently, books) is difficult to get a hold of – what could go wrong with such creative ideas? The answer? So many things.
My gripes may come from the fact that I listened to this on audiobook and so obviously if I were to have read the book, I could have interpreted Anya different. But I didn’t read the book – I listened to it and let me tell you what – I think Anya is really..rude. I think she’s TOO blunt. Is she the product of her environment? (read: mafia family) Yeah, maybe – but still. I did not like her. She talked about her love for her siblings and though she does make a sacrifice at the end of the book for them, most of the time she talks to her older brother like he really is an idiot and is rude to her younger sister. I thought she was immature, paranoid, and just plain mean.
Then the plot dragged and dragged in the middle section of the book. There was no conflict and I wasn’t scared or worried for Anya, especially considering how mean and cold-hearted she was. For a good section of the book, it was just her everyday life and it wasn’t even exciting. Also, I swear, I think I would have smashed something if I had heard the word “birthright” one more time.
Needless to say, I was so sad that I didn’t like this book because I went into it with really high hopes.
If you read this book, what did you think? Did you interpret Anya differently than I did from the audio?