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

All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Hardcover, 354 pgs.
Published Sept 6th, 2011 by Macmillan
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Publisher

 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. 

 This was a unique ‘light’ dystopian with characters that ‘popped’ and a story unlike any other.  
This book ended up being fabulous.  I loved that the dystopian aspect was much different from most dystopians these days.  It was just there, more in the background.  Yeah, chocolate is illegal but they don’t actually kill people for having it.  And lots of items are rationed and NYC just isn’t what it use to be (well, what it is today).  But it wasn’t about taking down the government or anything.  
The characters in this book really popped.  They may have been my favorite part.  I totally adored each and everyone of them.  They had distinctive and quirky personalities and strong belief systems and they stuck to them.  I believed in each of them and was rooting for everything to work out.  
I wasn’t sure how much the mafia would play into the story and it turned out to be very important and very present.  And I loved this aspect.  It was totally different from anything I’ve read and yet I was completely able to see and hear everything going on.  I just got it.  
The romance was amazing and very sweet with some conflict, but not too much.  I think it worked out well and I never felt irritated because of their actions.  Well, maybe just a bit at one point toward the end.  I could have yelled at Anya a bit.  But it worked out fairly quickly, which made it not so bad for me.
  The emotions this book brought out were just amazing.  I felt for Anya for the stuff she had to go through, for the horrible way she was treated a few times.  But I was thankful she had her support system of her friends and family.  And her faith.  I forgot to mention that earlier but Anya is a devout Catholic.  I kind of love that Gabrielle added that to the story because it adds to the different’ness of the story.  There’s no preaching or anything like that, she just is.  And her being so strong in her beliefs made her a stronger person, in my opinion.  I mean, she lost so much, and has to deal with so much.  And in most books that turns the character away from faith, not to it.  
It looks like this is the first in a series and that definitely makes me happy!  But luckily there wasn’t any major cliffhangers, just a few loose ends that I would like to see get tied up and I want to see what choices Anya makes for the next book.  I’m definitely excited for it!
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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.
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  1. I really enjoyed this one too! Like you, I’m glad this wasn’t about some rebellion against the government. It was a nice change of pace to see how Anya’s family took advantage of the situation (like we’ve seen in our own history). I thought it made it all that much more fun to read.

  2. I agree–each character had such a unique voice and personality. Love! Plus, the whole mob family vibe was very cool. I ended up liking this book a lot more than I thought I would.

  3. I really want to read this one because I’m “allergic” (I get migraines) if I have anything with caffine in it such as chocolate so this is a very interesting idea to me. I’m glad to know the characters are so strong. I’m not a huge fan of religion in books but if the book doesn’t preach about it then I think I will be ok with it.
    Thanks for the great review! :)

  4. I’m really curious about this one. The reviews have been all over the place. I love dystopians, even light one. and the character development sounds very present I’ll definitely check it out.

    Xpresso Reads

  5. I had no clue this was the first in a series. I just assumed it was a standalone – can’t really do that nowadays, considering how many series there are. I’ve been wanting to read this for a while now and I think I’ll really like it because the characters come off so strong.

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