Book Review: All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Monday, August 15, 2011

All These Things I've Done (Birthright #1) by Gabrielle Zevin
Published by: Pan Macmillan Australia
Publication date: 1st September, 2011
Source: Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia


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 believs 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...

My Review:

All These Things I've Done surprised me but I mean that in the best possible way.  I was completely captivated by this intriguing and tension filled story.

I have been reading quite a bit of dystopia lately and I loved that this novel did not focus on matching people or the government trying to control everybody.  In the year 2083 they are plenty of problems and changes but overall it feels more like a realistic future.  Chocolate is illegal (EEK! no chocolate would make me crazy)  together with a million other things like caffeine, paper without a permit, phones, cameras.  I felt the world was very convincing as it feels similar to the stories of the 1920's when alcohol was banned and smuggled in.

This is the first book of Zevin's I have read.  I found her prose sharp and alluring.  Writing that draws you in immediately.  It was perfectly paced story that had a cleverly constructed plot and world.

Anya is part of the Balanchine Family, one of the most well known crime syndicates in the world.  Her father use to be the head of it before he was murdered.  Anya mother was also killed in a hit gone wrong.  Now Anya is trying to do the best she can caring for her ill grandmother, her older brother Leo, who has a learning disability and her younger sister Natty.  Anya is a mature, brave and compelling character.  I love that she always but her family first.  I found the secondary characters to be just as well crafted and likeable as Anya especially Leo and Natty.  

Win, is the son of the head of the District Attorney Department and Anya's love interest.  So it is has a little bit of the star crossed lovers thing going on.   The romance between Anya and Win was passionate and yet sweet at the same time.

The mafia part of the storyline was probably the highlight for me though.  I found  myself fascinated by this mysterious and dangerous element of the story.  I would definitely like to see it play an even bigger part in the next installment.

I am so happy All These Things I've Done is going to be a trilogy.  Even though it ended in a good place I felt like the story was just getting started and it has left me desperately craving more.

Overall, I found All These Things I've Done to be a clever and engaging read.  Zevin definitely delivers all the right elements in this impressive novel.

Overall Rating: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Plot: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Romance: 4/5
Cover: 5/5

For more info:  Visit Gabrielle Zevin's website or Pan Macmillan Australia

For more reviews:  Visit Steph Su Reads

24 comments:

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

I've totally never even read the premise for this one, but I'm hooked. It sounds fab! Awesome review :)

Braiden said...

Looking forward to reading it then Nic! And if I'd had gotten the manuscript to review I doubt I would've made it through this last half of August hehe :P

Alex (A Girl, Books, OtherThings) said...

*grins* this sounds good and I'm glad because I didn't like Zevin's previous book - Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesic - though I did like Elsewhere.

I think I like this take on dystopia, like, this is the kind I don't mind reading about. So I'll be sure to check this one out.

Thanks for the review.

Audrey (holes In My brain) said...

WOAH. *takes step back* Is this the AUssie cover? Where is the chocolate and the hearts! haha

Great review! Oh I love the premise of this, and I think the mafia aspect would be the highlight of the book for me too, and it's good to hear there's no major cliffhanger ending. And Win! I might be the weird one but that name is adorable. Great review Nic!

abbey said...

this book looks very interesting, the mafia idea is very unique. I do like the cover as well.
great review Nic!

Jess said...

I just got an ARC of this and can't wait to read it! Great review Nic :)

Jenny said...

Ooooo loving the sound of this one Nic! Except for the lack of chocolate part, I might die if that ever came to pass, I live for my chocolate fix:) I also love a good star-crossed lovers story but it's nice it's not the main focus either.

Small Review said...

It sounds like this one manages to balance the plot and the romance without the romance overwhelming things. I like that. But a world without chocolate?? Oh my, that would be awful :)

My keeper shelf said...

I'm really looking forward to this now and I agree a world without chocolate would be torture.

Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) said...

I've never heard of this one before. It definitely sounds like an interesting read. I often find that YA dystopians can be a little samey, but this one sounds very different to the rest!

Jacinda (The Reading Housewives) said...

I'm loving dystopians as well lately! I love the emphasis you put on the words in the first paragraph! I'm more looking forward to reading this now! And I would die without coffee or chocolate...seriously.

Tina said...

Wow- your review makes me want to run to Australia and grab myself a copy...;D

Savannah said...

Now I want, no I need a copy of this book. Why can't they release it in the US? Thank God for fishpondworld, I hope they have it there! Thanks for the lovely review!

Hafsah @ IceyBooks said...

Chocolate illegal?! I have an ARC of this one, and I'm really intrigued by the premise. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Nic!

P.S. I like the Aussie cover :)

Jenny N. said...

Its my first time seeing the Aussie cover and its so different from the US cover. The story sounds good and I have a feeling I will be craving a lot of chocolate when I read this.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

No chocolate and no caffeine makes me a cracky wench. ;) I'd SO go illegal for those things! LOL

It also sounds like I will want all 3 before I start this one. Hate a cliffie ending, but the story still sounds worth it! :)

Bailey said...

I am excited to read this one!! =D SO glad that you enjoyed it that much!!

Rummanah Aasi said...

I've read the other two books by this author and I love the fact that all of her books are completely different! The world does sound like the 1920s. I also can't live in a world where chocolate and caffeine are banned. That's just too cruel! Glad you enjoyed the book and I look forward to reading it. :)

danya said...

Love the sound of the mafia aspect! And this is the first I've seen of the Aussie version of the cover, too. Really different but quite striking!

Missie said...

Wow! A 16 year old at the head of a mafia family. And no chocolate. That's nuts!

Seems like Anya would have to be an incredibly strong character in order to pull off her role in this story. She really sounds interesting. I'll definitely be adding this one to my wishlist. Thanks for introducing me to this book, Nic.

A Canadian Girl said...

I haven't read any of Zevin's books nor have I heard much about this one but I'll be adding it to my wishlist. Mafias, a star-crossed romance and a ban on chocolate sound like a promising start to a good trilogy. Thanks, Nic.

Faye said...

Read this now! Sooo good. I like this cover better than the US one! It was funny b/c my mom & i were having a discussion and we were like " yeah We'd be @ the airport trying to smuggle chocolates and get caught" so funny! lol

Agrippina Legit said...

Great review - I love the subtle way that sexism is dealt with in the book.

PS: New follower - it's always great to find another Australian book blogger :)

1 Stop SEO Links Building said...

Great YA Book! I chose this book for our YA Book Club and the teens loved it. They could not wait for the second book to come out. It will leave you wanting more...

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