Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
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 a tasteful YA take on the mafia with fresh futuristic elements that will have you clutching your coffee and chocolate for dear life. While I did have my typical nitpicky problems, I really enjoyed the new world of danger and prejudice and family values that Gabrielle Zevin has created.
This book is just exciting. Maybe it’s because I’ve only read about one other book that deals with the mafia, but I was engrossed in the dynamic of Anya’s family and the impact that their illegal business has on their lives. I also loved how different it was. Instead of drugs or weapons or anything else you’d expect mobsters to illegally deal, they handle chocolate. I was completely skeptical of chocolate and coffee being against the law because this is a contemporary novel and it just seemed so out of this world to me, but it’s written so realistically that for a short time I was very appreciative of my coffee maker.
The major thing that deterred me from really loving this book was the constant summarization. I felt like the book would lead up to these huge important moments and instead of elaborating with details or dialogue, everything is knocked back down with small paragraphs quickly explaining what had just happened. It seemed like I was skimming through the book unwillingly. This was also a problem when it came to the romance between Anya, our protagonist, and Win, the DA’s charming son. I was so excited and prepared for all of the tension and forbidden feelings; a mafia boss’s daughter and a DA’s son? Star-crossed, much? But with the brief paragraphs, it didn’t feel personal at all. I came out of the book really liking Anya and Win, of course, but I definitely think there was room for more when it came to them.
Overall, although I had a few problems with it, I really enjoyed All These Things I’ve Done. It’s most definitely not like any book I’ve read before with it’s unique spin on the mafia and the future. I absolutely recommend that you give this one a shot! (Shot ... mafia ... corny pun definitely NOT intended)
Other reviews for All These Things I've Done:
Good Books And Good Wine.
The Tales Compendium.
I Read Banned Books.