Summary: (goodreads) 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 accidentally 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.
Review: Perfection in every way. A riveting, action-packed plot, realistic narration, unique characters and emotionally-charged writing create Anyaschka Balanchine's story.
At 16, the toll of being surrounded by leaders of organized crime shows in Anya's voice. She opens up to us, the readers, and surprises with her maturity, self-reliance and loyalty to her family. Taking care of her "delicate" older brother, her younger sister Natty and her dying grandmother while staying on friendly terms with the mafiya side of her family while not getting involved is a huge responsibility and burden. But her strength makes her able to see past her difficulties, so she can protect those she loves with whatever abilities and knowledge on the organization her father left before becoming a victim of it himself.
The main character is so level-headed and practical and realistic! Always careful in thinking out her every move. But this inner strength doesn't change that she is only 16. Her slip-ups are what remind us that we are all human.
Anya's temper flare-ups are few and even when she knows she has gone too far, her thoughts continue to spill, speaking her mind while trying to restrain herself. Her cynicism comes with good cause because of the losses she has endured, but slowly Anya begins to see that there are things worth fighting and giving pride up for.
And air of mystery surrounds the book creating a suspenseful, entertaining read. The characters are all three-dimensional and special in their own way. Yuji Ono is one of my favorites, because he was very sympathetic of Anya, but I also got to see his frustrated side making him whole.Goodwin Delacroix's romantic idealism rivaled the practical-ness of his own father who was very much like Anya. Scarlett is a wonderful best friend, trying her best to be there for Anya. Even Jacks, a villain, is clearly himself. Conniving, pathetic, yearning for acknowledgement, and cowardly manipulative.
Zevin's world of illegal chocolate and caffeine is not very hard to imagine through this book. It is just like the present, but tweaked where the details are what create the right atmosphere for this novel. Anya's strength of character, the sayings her father told her, her spirituality because of her mother's memory and her discovery of love through her Nana make this novel a highly recommended read.
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