Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Review: All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Book Description via Goodreads:

Paperback, 351 pages
September 6, 2011, Pan Macmillan AU

Sixteen year-old Anya becomes the head of a mafia family after her parents are both murdered by rival gangs. Although Anya is embroiled 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 rumors 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...

Source: Charlotte from Pan Macmillan AU (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Anya Balanchine was tough and pretty. She had a complicated life but she was much loved by her family and friends. But after her father died and her grandmother became ill, she stood as the head of her family. The weight of taking care of her little sister, of her grandmother and looking after her big brother Leo fell heavily on her shoulders. Of all the dystopians I’ve read, I really appreciate this novel because of the highlight on family life. It was refreshing to encounter a character with a strong connection with her dying grandmother and her siblings. Seeing Anya struggle with issues and deal with problems while doing the best she could for her family was simply touching.

Anya’s mafia family was dangerous. But they took care of each other, making sure to provide for each family member. However, working for the family was risky. Her mother and father died because of their connection to the family and those memories still brought pain to Anya. Lots of bad things could happen at the workplace and this was the reason why she kept her brother and sister away.

Anya’s journey in this novel made her stronger. Her trip to the jail on Manhattan island made her thicker and at the same time, made her see what it was like to lose everything if only for a few days. Meeting Win, the assistant DA’s son, taught her how to truly love and care for somebody. She started to fall for Win no matter how much she resisted. The tension that Anya felt, the sadness and the love she felt mixed together inside her. And soon, she couldn’t help but love Win. She loved him not because he was the assistant DA’s son but because he stood by her side through all the problems. Even when she lied and pushed him away, he stayed. I admired that about him.

But for the assistant DA, Anya’s involvement with Win could possibly ruin his career and for a man with great dreams, he would do anything to make sure that nothing goes wrong even if it included ripping Anya out of his son’s life.

I’d like to say that a world where chocolate and coffee are illegal would probably be a nightmare for me. I love chocolate and coffee and I can’t imagine living life without these two things in them. I’m just a little dissatisfied because the actual reason behind the banning of the chocolate and coffee was not explained. But I did find the idea intriguing.

All These Things I’ve Done captures the thoughts and feelings of a remarkable heroine. Tragic, romantic and problematic (I mean it in a good way), dystopian readers, romance readers, chocoholics and coffee dependents will enjoy this novel.



  1. Great review. I really enjoyed this book. Anya was a definitely a tough girl. Loved her.

  2. I want to get my hands on this book so badly and your review just made me want it more :)

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

  3. This one has a different cover I think...or is it just me? Anyways...I'm quite intrigued by this one.

  4. Haha I so agree with you. A world without coffee is just.... I can't imagine it. Or chocolate (of the vegan kind, for me!). But it's just the scariest possible dystopian future I can imagine!

    So glad you enjoyed this, I too, though Anya was a fantastic heroine and I really enjoye the story. Awesome review, Precious!

  5. I enjoyed this book so much, the plot was thin but I thoroughly enjoyed it, Anya was such a great protag! =) Great review!x