March 29th 2012
352 pages (paperback)
Source - unsolicited ARC from 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 (summary from hardcover version).
In 2083 New York, museums are clubs and chocolate is illegal. As a Balanchine, Anya has learned how to take care of problems as quickly as they arise. With an ill grandmother and two siblings to take care of, Anya does her best to keep everything together and well. When the family starts reaching out to her brother, she can't help but to worry. In between a forbidden romance, unwanted attention from the police and family troubles, Anya's life becomes a whole lot more chaotic and entangled in the family business: and it all starts with a boy and a chocolate bar.
Zevin wastes no time in immersing readers into the setting, showing a world that is both a mixture of our own time and the Prohibition era. While world building excels, it's the characters that shine. Anya is fiercely protective and quickly provoked. Despite being the daughter of a deceased criminal, Anya's fairly generous (yet still sharp-minded). Her romance with Win takes center stage for some time, but it was the relationships with her family that proved to be the most fascinating part of this story. Realistic and intriguing, All These Things I've Done is brimming with plenty of subtle surprises.
Highlights: The slow pace, while initially difficult to adjust to, was actually quite nice. Anya's life has a few crazy moments, but it stays realistic and grounded. Family is at the heart of this story, and I especially enjoyed Natty and Leo's characters. Zevin skillfully brings Anya's world to life (Liberty Island was especially interesting). The main mystery was easy to solve, but Zevin threw in a few small surprises at the end.
Lowlights: It took awhile before I became invested in the story. Also, I somewhat wish Win had been a little more complex (I'm hoping he'll be more fleshed out in the sequel).