Monday, May 21, 2012

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

All These Things I've Done
Gabrielle Zevin
March 29th 2012
352 pages (paperback)
Pan Macmillan
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). 



Cover + Summary from Goodreads


  1. The change of the cover really did it for me... I love those new covers and finally I'm intruiged by this story. However, hearing about the slow pace takes me a bit aback... But nevertheless it sounds great!

  2. I haven't read this but the mafia/Prohibition angle interests me. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Does it explain why chocolate and coffee are illegal? I can't imagine that every happening here :)

  3. Great review :) !! I really have to pick up a copy of this one because the premise sounds amazing ! I really like this new cover too :)

  4. Danny: They are intriguing covers, aren't they? The slow pace wasn't that big of a problem, so long as you can adjust easily.

    Christina T: It does briefly touch on why chocolate and coffee are illegal, but it isn't a very important plot point. Lol, let's hope that doesn't happen here!

    Elodie: You should definitely check it out! :)

  5. I have to say the thought of a world without chocolate terrifies me. I wouldn't survive a week I don't think:) Sometimes a slow and steady pace works really well in my opinion, and this is clearly one of those type of books. Love that there are some surprises at the end too, fabulous review Lea!

  6. A world where chocolate AND coffee are illegal?!?!? **Dies** I'd probably be running my own black market...

  7. Whoa. Sounds cool. And I'm totally digging the new cover. It seems to fit the premise much more.

  8. It definitely took me a while to get into this story but once I did, I was wholeheartedly invested. Can't wait for the second part to find out what is going on with Anya and everyone!

  9. I just reviewed this nove ^_^ I loved it as well XD

    I agree the family drive was what made this novel so good ^_^

    Great Review

    Maura @ Monster of Books

  10. NO CHOCOLATE? Wow!!

    I think I'm going to borrow this one (gifted to my friend) but I'm not a huge fan of books that have a slow pace :(

    Great review though now I know what to expect
    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

  11. Slow pacing can definitely have it's ups and downs, but I'm glad this one seem to have had more ups! I am so curious about this one... Gah. I need time to read it! Lol. Love your review!

  12. Jenny: I know, right? I could live without caffeine, but chocolate? It's too much of a guilty pleasure! What a nightmare.

    Natalie: Ha, same here! Chocolate is too good to not have in the world ;)

    Juju: I like the new cover too, it fits the story very nicely. I still like the simplistic hardcover, though...but this cover is growing on me ;)

    Bookworm1858: Glad you enjoyed it, despite the time it took to get into it! I'm very curious to see what will happen next, too.

    Book Monster: Glad you loved it too! The family element truly was great,

    Krazzyme: A world without chocolate...such a nightmare. You should definitely check it out!

    Rebecca (Kindle Fever): The slow pacing was a bit jarring at first, but I grew to enjoy it. Hope you find time to read this one! :)

  13. This is such an interesting premise! I've read one of Zevin's books before, and remembering loving her writing style, and the simplicity of it. Then again, this is a completely different story, so I can't what to see how she wrote it!

    Great review!

  14. I really like this series and the way the author writes. I have read the first two and am waiting for the third one to come out this fall.
    Crest Cleaners -