Anya Balanchine lives in the deteriorating world of 2082, where things such as camera phones and chocolate are banned, water is rationed and emails must be approved. New York City has gone bankrupt and the restrictions have resulted in the emergence of powerful crime families, the Balanchines being at the very top. Living with her dying grandmother, her young sister and mentally impaired older brother, Anya must navigate the issues of every teenager, finding her identity and experiencing true love for the first time. All These Things I've Done is a brilliant read that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. It's as delicious as forbidden chocolate and just as addictive. Eat away!
First off, I must say that I loved all of the characters dearly. They felt so real to me and this was reinforced by the fantastic world building. Leo is Anya's seventeen year old brother but his mind is stuck at age eight, after being severely injured in a car accident during which his mother was shot in the head. The hit was actually for Anya's father, but he was later murdered too, right before the eyes of Anya and her now twelve year old sister, Natty. Anya is a responsible, devout Catholic. She repents her sins and strongly believes in no sex before marriage. Oh, how Goodwin Delacroix stirs the pot! I really admired Anya for staying firm in her beliefs. I guess I'm a little shocked - no way would I have been able to resist Win! He's sweet, affectionate and rebellious all at once. Fantastic combination!
I really thought this book would be centred around the mafia world and the wars between families. Oh, how wrong I was! Although meddling fathers, assassination attempts and illegal dealings are scattered throughout the book, Anya is quite distant from the illegal chocolate industry and leads a "normal" teenage life. I'm not disappointed at all though! Zevin keeps the novel interesting, simply with the conflicts in her characters' lives. I lived for those family/friend moments! All These Things I've Done will definitely play with your heartstrings. I constantly felt the need to give adorable Leo a hug and if you're not touched by his innocence, I might just accuse you of not having a heart!
With the clever self-referential humour, steamy romance and world filled with deception and mystery, All These Things I've Done is a real pleaser! Zevin keeps us guessing and commands our utmost attention, no matter what's happening in the story. I adored the ending and cannot wait for the sequel. We're left hanging a little and I am very anxious to see what twists Zevin will throw at us next!
Amazing book! Did we love this? Excited for the sequel? :D