Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Review: All These Things I've Done

Title: All These Things I've Done
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Series: Birthright #1
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Published: September 6th 2011
Source: Pan Macmillan Australia for review

Sixteen year-old Anya becomes the head of a mafia family after her parents are both murdered by rival gangs. Although Anya is embrolied in the criminal world, she is determined to keep her brother and sister out of the mafia family, but her father's relatives aren't so keen to let them go. When Anya's violent ex-boyfriend is poisoned with contaminated chocolate – chocolate that is produced illegally by Anya's mafia family – she is arrested for attempted murder and sent to the notorious jail on Manhattan Island. Eventually she is freed by the new D.A. in town, who believes she has been framed. But this D.A. is the father of Win, a boy at school to whom Anya feels irresistibly drawn, and her freedom comes with conditions. Win's father wants to be mayor, and he can't risk having his ambition jeopardised by rumours spreading that his son is seeing a member of a notorious crime family. Anya knows she risks the safety of her family by seeing Win again, but the feeling between them may be too strong to resist...

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

Find Gabrielle on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, Tumblr, her website and blog.
Buy All These Things I've Done from Amazon, The Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.

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