Review: All These Things I've Done

All These Things I've Done
(Birthright #1)
by Gabrielle Zevin
YA Dystopian
May 8th 2012 by Square Fish (first published September 6th 2011)

Goodreads summary:
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 accidentally 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.

What I thought:
I have wanted to read this for some time. I saw it on Amazon as a bargain book for a fabulous price and decided to get a copy. It reminded me a little of the Curse Workers series by Holly Black and the Torn Trilogy by Erica O'Rourke, except without magic and not as much action.

The setting is quite interesting. It has kind of that mafia/gangster kind of feel to the story. It is a future USA where coffee, alcohol and other things are completely legal, but chocolate is not and is traded on the black market. There aren't really new things and water and other essentials are running out. I don't necessarily understand why things are as they are, but it's a different type of society than I've read before. Anya's family runs a chocolate business, or her dad used to before he was killed. Anya doesn't want anything to do with it and is trying to keep her family safe after losing both of her parents.

I really liked Anya. She is mature (for the most part), street smart, loyal, and protective. She does have some anger issues and that is probably the only thing that I didn't like about her. She has a great best friend, family, and decent love interest. Win kind of reminded me of a big puppy dog. He was very lovable, gentle, kind, persistent, and loyal. I liked how up front he was about things with Anya and he made me smile.

Anya's whole life is basically an uphill battle. She carries a stigma from her heritage and her criminal father. It's so crazy to me that you could be a criminal for trading and selling chocolate. It reminded me a little of the prohibition time. I thought the author did a great job in building up the plot and letting the characters work through things. I also enjoyed her writing style.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. I liked the characters and the plot and will read the other books in the series. I'm quite curious about what will happen and the role that the Chinese friend will play in the future, as I'm sure he will have one.

Content: Some mild violence, innuendo, and making out.
Source: Own
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What do you think? Have you read this or are planning too?

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