Dystopian, Young Adult

Be healthy; eat chocolate

Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin

The Skinny: Recently freed from her time in prison, Anya Balanchine is determined to stay on the straight and narrow. Except her criminal record makes this nearly impossible. She can’t get into any high school, she’s constantly monitored and all of her friends seemed to have moved on.When events threaten to send her back to jail and old enemies begin to surface, Anya flees to the birthplace of chocolate, where she stays on a cacao plantation. But the arms of the mob are long and even thousands of miles away she is still threatened.

BFF?: Anya has done some major growing up since I last hung out with her in All These Things I’ve Done. But I guess after spending months in jail, you do tend to grow up a little bit. I really loved seeing Anya’s transformation from teenager to ex-criminal to escapee to total bad-ass who wields a machete. Yeah, that’s right. A freakin machete. I also love that she begins to take her place in the family, at first allowing others to take over but then realizing she needs to take back control. She’s a really great developing character and I can’t wait to see more of her soon!

Readability: I really love the narration in this series. It’s like Anya is writing the book, talking to the reader, and commenting on her story. The book was really easy for me to get into and I didn’t feel super lost like I normally do when I take huge breaks between books in series.

Crush Level: 6
Win is back and slightly sexier. But I think that’s only because he’s not so perfect anymore. He’s gotten rid of his “whatever you want, I’m so into you” attitude towards Anya, which is great because I didn’t so much like it before. But he’s still sort of… well, bland.

Bonus Points:

Chocolate Farm

I have this fantasy about living on a chocolate farm, harvesting the chocolate and sneaking pieces as we pick it. Okay, not really, but tell me that wouldn’t be all sorts of awesome? Anya goes to stay on a cacao plantation and learns all about growing it which was really interesting to learn about.

Family Unrest

There is some unrest in the Balanchine family; traitorous cousins, overtaking the business, hits… it was all kinds of cool to see.

Medicinal Chocolate

While Anya is at the cacao plantation she learns about the medicinal benefits of chocolate (I took extreme notes of this too). I loved the parallel between illegal chocolate becoming legal for medicinal purposes and illegal marijuana becoming legal for medicinal purposes.

Twilight Reference

While it’s not blatant, there’s a reference to Twilight. It made me laugh very, very hard.

Commencement Speech: So WordPress decided it would be cool to delete my entire review of this book, including my well thought commencement speech, so here is the shortened version: this book kicked butt. I loved seeing Anya’s growth and development, how she overcame her obstacles and eventually went her own way despite the wants of her mob family. It was a great follow up to All These Things I’ve Done and I can’t wait for the next chapter of Anya Balanchine’s story!
Yearbook Quote: “Aside: Is it too much to add that, while my hear the muscle was in terrific shape, my heart the heart had certainly been better? Oh, probably, but there it is. Don’t judge me too harshly.
Superlatives: Best example of why you should eat more chocolate
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2 thoughts on “Be healthy; eat chocolate”

  1. I’m excited to see your positive review of this book since I have the audiobook for review. I haven’t read the first book in the series yet- do you think I can get by reading the sequel on its own?
    Looking forward to the hilarious Twilight reference and the machete-wielding heroine! Sounds like there’s some great character development in this book and I can’t wait to read/listen to it!


    1. I dunno if you could get away with it… I think if you knew the basics about it you MIGHT get it, but there was a lot of stuff that was presented in the first book and then furthered in the second. I would recommend reading the first one, just so the second book is understandable and better! Hope you enjoy them!


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