Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Review: All These Things I've Done

All These Things I've Done
Gabrielle Zevin
2011; Farrar, Straus & Giroux; ISBN 978-0-374-30210-8 (hardcover)

Summary:  In 2083, chocolate and caffeine are illegal, water is rationed, and Anya Balanchine is trying to hold her family together.  Her grandmother is dying, her older brother Leo is mentally disabled due to a childhood accident, and Anya has two years before she turns eighteen and can be legal guardian to her little sister Natty.  To make matters worse, her family is well-known as chocolate smugglers, yet Anya is beginning to fall for Win, the assistant DA's son.  All Anya wants is to stay out of the family business, yet it seems that she's destined for it.  Will she choose to be a bystander or a participant?

Set in a realistic future, All These Things I've Done is a character-driven novel, one that is different from other YA novels.  It's not as plot-focused as you'd expect from Gabrielle Zevin, the author of the intriguing Elsewhere and Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac.  Some things don't work in this novel, like Anya's occasional asides to the reader and a few contrived coincidences.  What does work is the character study of Anya.  With her tough-as-nails exterior, Anya tries to conceal her fears and worries.  Her relationship with Win gives her a momentary respite, but Anya is too practical to let romance interfere with her duty to protect her family.  Fans who liked Wither will like All These Things I've Done even more.

Other Reviews
Mostly Reading YA:  http://mostlyreadingya.blogspot.com/2011/09/review-all-these-things-ive-done.html
Letters Inside Out: http://www.lettersinsideout.net/posts/review-all-these-things-ive-done-by-gabrielle-zevin/
The Reading Housewives of Indiana:  http://www.thereadinghousewives.com/2011/09/review-all-these-things-ive-done-by.html
Miss Print:  http://missprint.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/all-these-things-ive-done-a-chick-lit-wednesday-review/

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