All These Things I've Done, by Gabrielle Zevin
Release Date: 5/8/12
"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. "
All These Things I've Done was a book I've been dying to read, practically since it was released. Don't ask me why I didn't get around to it until now, because I honestly wouldn't have an answer for you. All These Things I've Done takes places in a futuristic world, where chocolate and caffeine are illegal, common household items are hard to get your hands on, and everything is rationed.
I was excited to see what it would be like to live in a world where two my favorite things were illegal, and making phone calls was almost impossible.
The story revolves around a sixteen year old girl, who is the oldest daughter of the notorious head of the Balanchine Chocolate Company. When she was only six years old her mother was accidentally killed, and her older brother's life changed forever. A few years later, her father was also murdered, which left her elderly grandmother to take care of Anya, and her two siblings.
From there on, Anya is struggling her way through life; she's dealing with a relationship which only seems to revolve around her chocolate, she's taking care of her elderly grandmother, her little sister, and her disable older brother. Things become chaotic when her relationship ends, and the final chocolate bar she shares seems to have been poisoned. If Anya wasn't balancing enough on her plate, she now has to deal with these accusations of attempted murder, a boy who can't seem to get enough of her, and with her extended family and their chocolate business.
All These Things I've Done was truly an amazing book. I love Anya and the person she is. She started the book always quoting her father, staying hard and strong, and doing anything to keep her family safe. She ended the book the same way. She didn't let what happened to her change her. She also didn't let another teenage romance shift her character or what she truly believed in.
I really enjoyed this book, the story and it's characters. I do, however, have to say it wasn't what I was expecting. The story revolved entirely around Anya, her family's business and the consequences of working with illegal chocolate. But the story doesn't explain anything about the society that this all taking place in. We don't ever discover why chocolate was illegal, and we didn't ever find out why food and resources were rationed. We did get a few hints that the surrounding land seemed dried out, but we weren't told what happened.
I guess when I heard about this book was expecting it to lean more towards the society aspect and how the world become the way it is. But All These Things I've Done actually leans more towards Anya and her family's business.
In no way am I saying I didn't enjoy this book, I'm actually saying the opposite. I still really enjoyed it, just in a different way than I was expecting. All These Things I've Done is only the first book in a trilogy, and I'm excited to finally get around to reading the next two books. Fingers crossed that we learn more about the society!
Have you read All These Things I've Done? What do you think?