Saturday, December 22, 2012

All these things I've done

All these things I've done
All These Things I've Done (Birthright, #1)

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.
Engrossing and suspenseful, All These Things I've Done is an utterly unique, unputdownable read that blends both the familiar and the fantastic.

About the Author...

Gabrielle Zevin has published six novels. Her debut, Margarettown, was a selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program. The Hole We’re In was on Entertainment Weekly's Must List and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Entertainment Weekly wrote, "Every day newspaper articles chronicle families battered by the recession, circling the drain in unemployment and debt or scraping by with minimum-wage jobs. But no novel has truly captured that struggle until now." Publishers Weekly called the novel "a Corrections for our recessionary times."

Of all her books, she is probably best known for the young adult novel Elsewhere. Elsewhere, an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book, was nominated for a Quill Award and received the Borders Original Voices Award. The book has been translated into over twenty languages. Of Elsewhere, the New York Times Book Review wrote, “Every so often a book comes along with a premise so fresh and arresting it seems to exist in a category all its own... Elsewhere, by Gabrielle Zevin, is such a book.”

She is the screenwriter of Conversations with Other Women (Helena Bonham Carter, Aaron Eckhart) for which she received an Independent Spirit Award Nomination. In 2009, she and director Hans Canosa adapted her novel Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac (ALA Best Books for Young Adults) into the Japanese film, Dareka ga Watashi ni Kiss wo Shita. She has also written for the New York Times Book Review and NPR’s All Things Considered. She began her writing career at age fourteen as a music critic for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

Zevin is a graduate of Harvard University. After many years on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, she recently moved to Silver Lake, Los Angeles

With her Nana's failing health Anya works hard to keep her family together, she watches after her younger sister and older brother while trying to balance school and friends. Ever since her dad died she had to be the head of the house, her brother, as sweet as he is, was shot. Anya's mom died because of what her father did, and her brother was seriously injured, and he hasn't been the same since due to the brain damage that occurred. 

Anya is no stranger to living under constant scrutiny, though since her father's murder the police have stayed away from her. And she's definitely no stranger to having *now* illeagle substances in her home, like chocolate, and she's no stranger to pain either--after her mom was killed her dad became all that she and her siblings had, but because of what her dad did for a living, her father was shot and killed in front of her and her sister. Ever since than she's kept her and her siblings at a distance from her family who are effectively known as the mobsters and one of the largest chocolate suppliers in the America. 

Starting with the opening scene that has her and her current boyfriend, a total duche,*drunk on caffeine and chocolate*, coming home late one night from an 'under the radar' cafe, this book kept my interest, I had really high expectations of it, though the book fell short of them. 

The story was a little confusing, in some ways, as a dystopian novel it wasn't very good, as it didn't have any strong themes of anti-utopia I've come to expect. Though to be honest, in a world without coffee and chocolate I would be a frequent visitor to the black market. I found the story was good, I loved the relationships between Anya and Mr. Kippling. At times the characters seem a little two dimensional but the story kept a strong pace. 

Honestly I wasn't very happy with the ending, I loved how the book set everything up and I was really enjoying reading it, but the ending I felt was trying too hard to matter... inadvertently doing the opposite. 

This book was an easy read--a great Christmas present for someone around the ages of 12-15, definitely religion friendly, if you have any extremely religious kids to buy for this is a good option. 


Overall Impression. 
Was a let down--I had high expectations for this book but it fell way below the mark. 
Though it wasn't what I expected it still made the bus ride to and from school immensely more enjoyable, and kept me very engrossed in the story that I nearly missed my bus stop. 

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