Friday 23 March 2012

Reviewed by Jen: All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin.

Product details:
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Release date: March 29th 2012.
Paperback, 352 pages.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Ages: 14+
Source: Received from publisher for review.
Reviewed by: Jen

Sixteen year-old Anya becomes the head of a mafia family after her parents are both murdered by rival gangs. Although Anya is embrolied in the criminal world, she is determined to keep her brother and sister out of the mafia family, but her father's relatives aren't so keen to let them go. When Anya's violent ex-boyfriend is poisoned with contaminated chocolate – chocolate that is produced illegally by Anya's mafia family – she is arrested for attempted murder and sent to the notorious jail on Manhattan Island.

Eventually she is freed by the new D.A. in town, who believes she has been framed. But this D.A. is the father of Win, a boy at school to whom Anya feels irresistibly drawn, and her freedom comes with conditions. Win's father wants to be mayor, and he can't risk having his ambition jeopardised by rumours spreading that his son is seeing a member of a notorious crime family. Anya knows she risks the safety of her family by seeing Win again, but the feeling between them may be too strong to resist...

Anya Balanchine, the main character of Gabrielle Zevin’s All These Things I’ve Done, is by far my favorite character of 2012.  Not only is she smart and sassy, but she knows how to handle a gun as well.  Anya is not a girl you would want to end up on the wrong side of in a fight.  She is everything I love in a female protagonist!  Anya was not the only reason why Zevin’s new Birthright series is at the top of my “to read” list.  The entire book was a page-turner that kept me wanting more!  One of the problems with reading advanced copies is that you need to wait all that much longer before the next installment comes out.  This is going to be a long wait!

All These Things I’ve Done takes place in the year 2083 in New York City.  While the basic tenets of society are still intact, keeping the story from being truly dystopian, things in New York are not going well.  The once glorious city is broke, all forms of culture have disappeared, water is scarce, and chocolate is illegal. Anya’s father became the Al Capone of chocolate, but like many gangsters, his life ended violently leaving Anya and her siblings in the care of their grandmother.  As the book begins the only thing keeping grandma alive are the machines that pump air into her lungs.  It is actually Anya who is taking care of the family, trying desperately to keep Child Protective Services away.  As if things aren’t complicated enough Anya has the unfortunate luck of falling in love with the son of the new District Attorney; a man who has vowed to destroy Anya’s family if she doesn’t stay away from his son.  Then there is the little problem of Anya’s ex-boyfriend, who she is accused of trying to kill with poisoned chocolate.  As much as Anya tries to distance herself from the family business she just keeps getting sucked right back in.  Being the heir apparent of a major crime syndicate is not an easy destiny to walk away from. 

I loved all of the characters in this book.  The bad guys were despicable and smarmy and the good guys were genuine and extremely likable.  The only complaint I have is that I would have liked to have seen a more in depth progression of Anya’s relationship with Win.  It seemed to move along at a break-neck speed when the characters never really spent that much time together.  I am not a big fan of romance, but in this case I wanted more!

Gabrielle Zevin makes numerous bold choices in the plot of All These Things I’ve Done that keeps the action moving along and the tension cranked high.   There are so many different aspects to this book I think that it will offer something for every type of reader.  I added my copy to my classroom library last week and I didn’t even get a chance to put it on the shelf before it was checked out and the waiting list is a mile long!


  1. Great review!! I've had this one on my tbr pile for quite a while but now I think I'll be moving it up higher, sounds great!

  2. Becky @ Stories & Sweeties23 March 2012 at 21:51

    Yay! Glad to hear you liked this one.  I really enjoyed it and can't wait for book 2!! Yes, I agree---a more in depth look at their romance would have been nice, but other than that it was a fantastic story!

  3. This sounds really interesting! I've heard many great things of Gabrielle Zevin and have enjoyed a couple of her books so I'm definitley going to check this out! Thanks for the review. :)

  4. I received this for review and haven't read it yet lol I like the idea of the chocolate being outlawed. Very cool concept! Great review :)

  5. glad you loved this one too. I thought it was a brilliant book and that Anya was such a strong character! 

  6. Oooo a 5 out of 5, yay! The fact that chocolate is illegal in this world just makes me want to cry. And also run to the kitchen and stuff my face full of Cadbury mini eggs. I'm sure I will be with you on the wanting more romance in this story, if one is present, I always like it to be complex and in depth, otherwise I can usually do without it entirely:) Thanks for the review Leanna!

  7. Really looking forward to this one, I love dystopian settings, plus the whole concept completely intrigues me! Anya sounds like an absolutely awesome character too - great review! :)

  8. Nice review! I loved this book! The whole chocolate mafia is super neat :)

  9. daisychainbooks26 March 2012 at 18:17

    Thanks for the great review, Jen! I love it when you love the books I send you!! I've been hearing lots of good things about Anya in this one - she sounds like a really great character!

  10. I loved this one too! I can't wait to read the next in the series. I agree that it is so hard to wait, especially when the first book is an arc and the second isn't!

  11. All These Things I've Done is a novel I have to say I loved. With a
    strong female protagonist and a life of mafia, Gabrielle Zevin's latest
    is a riveting must read.
    click here for more infos


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