“Daddy always said you only explained things to the people that actually mattered.”
― Gabrielle Zevin, All These Things I’ve Done
Synopsis : 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.
Anya Blanchaine is the daughter of a Russian mob boss, but she isn’t exactly Growing Up Gotti. All These Things I’ve Done is a novel comprised of 17-year-old Anya’s confessions.She has the world on her shoulders; having to take care of her ailing grandmother and siblings while trying to keep out of the notorious family business of selling chocolate–which has become illegal in 2083.
Anya is a self-aware character and is a stand out in the YA genre. She is s smart and rational, every choice she makes is for her family and what it takes to keep them together, even when the world seems against them.
This novel features one of the strongest female heroines I’ve read lately, which usually makes a book all good in my eyes. However, I’m not sure this book really hit home for me. We never get immersed into the futuristic setting or explore Anya’s world. Instead, we focus on her love life, which is never really detailed.
Did I mention this is a dystopian novel? Because you would never guess by reading it. I mean except for the futuristic setting this novel could easily pass for contemporary. It is a character-driven story that bares little to no resemblance what we expect in a dystopian novel, except for the illegal chocolate the world was pretty much exactly the same.
If you are a contemporary fan and want to try a dystopian this novel is perfect. It tells a low-key realistic story with just a dash of dystopian
I’ve seen this book called Birthright #1, but really this novel could pass for a stand-alone if you don’t want to get invested into a series.