Tuesday, July 5, 2011

All These Things I've Done-- Gabrielle Zevin

It's 2083. There's a chocolate prohibition, and NYC is a very changed place. Art museums are now dance clubs, books are musty relics of the past, water is strictly rationed, and the mafiya ruled black market consists of chocolate and caffeine. After both her mother and father are murdered, and her older brother Leo suffers from brain damage, Anya becomes the default heir to the Balanchine chocolate empire... even though her shady uncles and cousins are currently running the family business into the ground. Anya is a strict Catholic girl, and though that seems to conflict with her mafiya roots, she has a strong moral code that dictates most of her actions.

Although she had a tumultuous past, Anya, Leo, and their little sister Nattie manage to continue life as normal (or as normal as life gets when your family is in the business of the black market). Then one day Anya meets Win, the son of the new hotshot District Attorney who is dead set on cleaning up the city. Although she knows it would be risky for the family, and especially since she was threatened by the DA himself, Anya can't help but to fall for Win. And when someone linked to Anya is poisoned by a contaminated batch of chocolate, the blame and spotlight falls directly on Anya... and the happy and stable life she worked so hard to put together after her parents were murdered crumbles away instantly. Now Anya must find a way to protect her family, even at the expense of her own happiness.

This book is one part romance, one part mystery, and one (small) part post-apocalyptic. I found the love story and mystery to be the highlights, and I appreciated the strength of character Anya had throughout the book. However, someone looking for a strong futuristic setting, or a post-apocalyptic novel would not be satisfied. I feel like the author didn't delve deeply enough into the setting, and a big part of me had a hard time believing there could really be a chocolate prohibition. Still, there will definitely be fans of this book (likely girls), and though it alludes to a variety of topics, it's a pretty "clean" read.

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