Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Read Time: 1 Day
Tag Words: Dystopian, mafia, chocolate, caffeine, restrictions, post-apocalyptic New York City, love story, Catholicism, BIR11
In 2083 chocolate is contraband, and yet Anya Balanchine, the daughter of a famous mob boss, can have some anytime she wants and share it with someone she loves, like her dying grandmother is always encouraging her to do.
When she finds herself falling in love with the new District Attorney’s son she finds herself back in church, praying furtively, “God forgive me this, and all these things I’ve done.”
Possibly my favorite novel of the year, though it was not without it’s faults, All These Things I’ve Done is a fresh dystopian rife with intriguing family dynamics and an interesting heroine in Anya Balanchine.
I guess I should mention the pieces of this puzzle that I feel could have garnered more attention on Zevin’s part, but I really hate to as I feel the pro’s outweigh the con’s in this novel.
I wish that Zevin had made Anya’s family a little more dangerous, I wish I hadn’t been underwhelmed by the possibility of “who done it,” when it came to deciding what was happening behind closed doors. I wish I hadn’t been so bored by the grand revelation of the bad egg.
This is not a thriller. It’s a love story. I’m saying that and I remind myself of how I felt reading Lauren Oliver’s Delirium. Basically I let feeling negative about one aspect of the book cloud how wonderfully I felt about this other half that was bloody amazing. I don’t want to do that for Things I’ve Done, so, onto what I loved!
Anya. Plain and simple, I loved Anya. She’s one of my favorite heroines of the year and looking around at my bookshelf I think she’s one of my favorite heroines ever. Life has shaped her and she’s so honest about how and why and when. She also realized she can’t just change that, though she prays she can. She may live in a dystopian world, but she’s just like you and me and were she a real flesh and blood person, I would be her best friend. As it is I will have to settle for the flesh and blood Zevin created in this first book of the Birthright series. As long as book two is released soon, that will be good enough for me!
Notes on the Names:
These names really give you a picture of the character, in my opinion.
Anya, Natalya, called Natty, Leo, Galina, Imogen, Scarlett, Goodwin, called Win and Leonyd.
Thoughts on the Cover:
It’s simple, it relates to the story, and there is no model on the cover with a slightly stunned expression that makes her look even more beautiful than the pages of a magazine, I’m happy.
Parental Book Review *spoilers*
Anya promised God she would not have sex until they were married (read the book to discover why this was important to her!) and Win more than respects this, he even tells Anya she couldn’t get him to have sex with her if she tried. However, before this they do almost go all the way in a fit of passion.
Jacks shoots Anya’s boyfriend thinking it’s Leo. Anya fires back.
Leo shoots the head of the family “off camera” and gets into a fist fight with his cousin, also “off camera.”
Anya is sentenced to live in a reform school for a while, because of a poisoning she didn’t commit. While there she is mistreated, kept sleeping in a tiny cell with minimal food and water while an open wound festers.