Thursday, 11 August 2011

Book Review: All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Goodreads: "It's 2083. There's a chocolate prohibition, and New York City is a very changed place. Art museums are now dance clubs, books are musty relics of the past, water is strictly rationed, and the mafia ruled black market consists of chocolate and caffeine.

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."

All These Things I've Done

This was fantastic.  Gabrielle has a wonderful way of telling her story & I found I couldn't put it down.  This is the first in a trilogy & I can't wait for the next installment.

This is set in the future, in a time when chocolate & coffee have become illegal in certain parts of the world.  It follows a teenager in her daily life; her parents have been murdered, her older brother was injured during their mother's murder & her younger sister is a genius.

Anya (Annie) is the responsible one.  She is responsible for the running of the household, looking after her two siblings & their dying Grandmother.  Annie's father was the head of the Balanchine Chocolates, also known as the Mafiya.  Her family still run Balanchine Chocolates, which of course is illegal in America.

Annie goes to school with her younger sister while her brother works at an Animal Shelter.  Her brother Leo had damage to his head & cannot think much for himself.  When the Animal Shelter is closed down, Leo was offered a job working in the Family Business.  Annie isn't thrilled with this idea, but everybody agrees to let him go & see what happens.

Annie has a boyfriend, Gable, whom tries to force her into having sex.  She is a good catholic girl & will not consent.  He spreads rumours at school that he broke up with her & other things; in retaliation & dumps a tray of lasagna over him.  Gable comes crawling back because Annie has a stash of chocolate.  Her cousin delivered a box that day & she gives in to Gable by giving him 2 bars so he would go away.

In a day or two, Annie is called down the the headmasters office to be questioned by the police for the attempted murder of Gable.  The chocolate has been poisoned & they are pointing their fingers at Annie.  Annie is taken away to a reformatory, then cleared a few days later.  Gable is still in hospital & will recover, but had skin grafts & loss of fingers & a foot.

Annie finds another boyfriend, Win, whom is the son of the Assistant DA.  She is warned against seeing him because of her background & family connections.  That doesn't deter them, they are in love!!

Leo is still working for the Family.  Their cousin, Jacks, puts things in Leo's head & Leo tries to shoot the current boss, their Uncle Yuri.  Leo is now on the run & Annie has to help him escape the country & keep him from being killed.  A plan is in place, during the escape shots are fired & Win is hurt.

Annie is expelled from school for possession of a firearm & the Assistant DA comes for a visit to discuss her future.  Annie has to go back to the reformatory & the Assistant DA will forget about her brother & sister as long as Annie breaks up with Win.

This is a tragic story, but has a lot of realistic issues in the futuristic setting.  Awesome read & highly recommended.  I rated this a 4stars.

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