Wednesday, December 19, 2012

All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Gabrielle Zevin’s All These Things I’ve Done combines a mob family drama with the type of dystopian world readers of The Hunger Games and Matched will be familiar with. Set in 2083, the book takes place in New York City where things have taken such a sad turn that most of the Statue of Liberty has been sold off for scrap metal. Water is rationed, paper is scarce and chocolate and caffeine are illegal. Anya Balanchine, the book’s narrator, comes from the Balanchine crime family, which has made much of its fortune illegally selling chocolate. Both her parents are dead, her mother from a bullet intended for her father and her father from the bullet of an assassin who has never been caught. Anya lives with her grandmother, her younger sister Natty, and her intellectually disabled brother Leo. Due to her grandmother’s poor health and her brother’s condition, she ends up being the de facto head of the family even though Leo is older.

At the beginning of the book, Anya breaks up with her manipulative boyfriend Gable and soon becomes friends with Win, a new kid at school and the son of the assistant district attorney. She soon starts to think about Win as more than a friend. Everything goes off track for Anya when the police accuse her of intentionally giving Gable poisoned chocolate, and she ends up at a juvenile detention facility called Liberty.

There is a lot going on in this book and things move along at a nice pace. The combination of organized crime and science fiction is original, though I wondered how likely it was that chocolate would really be so coveted in a world running out of resources such as water. I was also a little annoyed by how great Win seems to be. It’s obvious that he is the good guy in the book, but it seems like he could at least have a few faults. Despite these problems, the good parts of All These Things I’ve Done far outweigh the bad. This is the first book in a trilogy and I look forward to reading Because It Is My Blood, the second book in the series.


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