Friday, March 29, 2013

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin [Review]

All These Things I've Done (Birthright, #1)4.5 out of 5 Robots!

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian(ish)
Series: Birthright #1
Release:  September 6, 2011
Hardcover: 354 Pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
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.
(Courtesy of the Publisher)
Shannon's Thoughts:
All These Things I've Done is a futuristic crime family novel.  At the center is our narrator, Anya Balachine.  She is the daughter of the deceased crime boss and trying to keep her family together and stay out of trouble.  Easier said than done, of course.  Anya's family reputation follows her wherever she goes, even when she has nothing to do with the "family business".  She finds herself becoming increasingly attracted to Win, the new assistant D.A.'s son, which causes problems for her.

I liked Anya has a narrator.  She was very is straight-forward, blunt and quick-witted.  She has a bit of a temper, but she also knows when she needs to apologize for her words or actions.  All this shows in her narration, which comes across as her recollection of the events.  Some people might feel that she is too detached and her recountings feel like a police report, but I didn't necessarily feel that way.  I thought it was actually right in line with her personality.  She isn't prone to swooning or flowery descriptions.  And there is some sly humor in her thoughts as well.  

This is not an action packed book, which surprised me a little given the subject matter.  But there were definitely some tense scenes.  Mostly, I really enjoyed the setting of future New York with the crime, poverty, bans, and restrictions.  It was reminiscent of the 1920s prohibition, but also not too hard to imagine a future like this one.

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