Contemporary, Dystopian, Young Adult

Leave the gun, take the cannoli… and this book

All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

The Skinny: Anya Balanchine spends her days staying under the radar: taking care of her family, going to school, and avoiding her family’s business. In a world where chocolate and coffee is illegal, water is rationed and even email needs a stamp, nothing is as it seems. Being the daughter of a murdered crime boss, Anya is a prime suspect when her ex-boyfriend is poisoned by her family’s chocolate. Suddenly Anya is exactly where she didn’t want to be: in the spotlight at school, with the media and with her mafiya family. Now, with the support of her new boyfriend Win, the son of the city’s new powerful assistant DA, Anya must accept her new role and her birthright. Whether she wants to or not.

BFF?: I really liked Anya. I really did. But would I want to be her BFF? Anya’s smart, brave, strong… But she’s kind of. How do I put this? Dull? She doesn’t take chances, she’s not very adventurous, she’s pretty serious. She does have some redeeming qualities. She’s pretty accommodating, often going along with Scarlet’s crazy schemes, letting herself loose to go dancing or to a party, throwing plates of lasagna over people’s heads. Maybe we couldn’t be BFFs but I think I’d like to be friends with her. We could use some of our vouchers and go get ice cream.

Readability: Written in first person, it’s a pretty straightforward, easy read. What makes it a little odd is these random inserts where Anya talks to the reader. They caught me my surprise like “Oh! Hi Anya!” They were pretty funny, like she was reminding us of what was going on by saying “Aren’t you wondering about this? Did you think this?”, sometimes poking fun at both the reader and novels themselves.

Crush Level: 5
Win was so great. SO great. The way he cared about Anya was sweet and wonderful. He stood up to his dad when he forbade Anya to see him. I would have loved to date him. The only thing that makes is score so low is that he’s, well… kind of bland and overly perfect. Whenever Anya decides to end their relationship – which is more times than was cute – he just shrugs it off and tells her they aren’t over. Not in a jerk way because he sees through her and knows they really love each other. You know, kind of blandly and perfectly.

And then the last chapter comes… I’m pretty sure his score went up a couple points because the boy grows a set and wowzer! That’s all you get. Wowzer.

Bonus Points
The Mob

I was a bit hesitant about the mafiya part of this book, but it was really kind of amazing. We don’t get a great look at the inter-workings of the family, but instead get a look at the people it affects, namely the children of the mafiya. It was like watching The Godfather all over again. You know, if Michael Corleone was a Russian sixteen-year-old girl in 2083.

“Forbidden” Romance

Anya is forbidden from dating Win by Win’s DA father. DA in this case stands for District Attorney… not what you may be thinking. With Anya’s family connections and Win being the son of a powerful man, they aren’t technically allowed to date. So what happens? Of course they date!

Illegal Substances

I loved the fact that chocolate and coffee were illegal, that there were speakeasies for coffee and teenagers drank beer like it was no big deal. (please note: I do not advocate teen drinking) I don’t know how I could have survived this world. Somedays I feel like I run on chocolate and coffee.

Superlatives – Most Likely to End Up Working For Being In the Mob

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