Title: All These Things I've Done
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (US) PanMacmillian (UK) (2011)
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. (taken from Amazon.com)
Firstly, the above blurb is far better than what was printed on the back of my UK copy of this novel. Wow. I am glad that I didn't base my entire opinion on that. It basically made out that the book revolved around Anya and the assistant DA clashing over her relationship with his son, Win (by the way, his full name is Goodwin. Everytime I read his name I would shout "Win!" in my head like some pom-pom waving cheerleader. I never said I was normal. If I was normal, I wouldn't be obsessed with YA paranormal/dystopian novels and like strawberry milkshakes simply because they are pink.). The book has so much more depth than that!
While Win (WIN!) does play a key role, Anya's relationships with her family and best friends are also dealt with. Anya's growth and development are unusual in YA novel and makes this, sadly, a unique read in that respect.
I adored the writing. It was concise and the world Zevin creates around her characters is unique and compelling. It is clever to set a novel of this nature in the future becuase then the rules become your own as an author. Anya is aware that she is the narrator and, sometimes, has little asides to the readers. It reminds me a little of Jane Eyre in that respect.
This is the first in the Birthright series and, obviously, ends with a cliffhanger. Be warned. You will want more. I was tempted to just start the whole thing from the beginning again. If my TBR pile wasn't so epic, I just might have.
All These Things I've Done is incomparable to anything else currently on the YA market. Read it and let me know what you think.
(Forthcoming reviews include Tiger's Curse (Book 1), Switched (Trylle Trilogy)
and Paranormalcy. )