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All These Things I've Done

by Gabrielle Zevin

Series: Birthright Trilogy (1)

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7867923,734 (3.74)26
In a future where chocolate and caffeine are contraband, teenage cellphone use is illegal, and water and paper are carefully rationed, sixteen-year-old Anya Balanchine finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight as heir apparent to an important New York City crime family.
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» See also 26 mentions

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She may have been the daughter of a police woman but it was her father who people remembered most, who she remembered most. It was his name she carried after all, and with it his reputation. It didn't matter that he had been dead for years, it didn't matter that he was a good man, it only matter that he was in a business that was illegal. A business that produced and sold an illegal substance; chocolate.

There was nothing more important in her life then her family, her brother and sister were her responsibility and she took that very seriously. There was nothing she wouldn't do for them, nothing she wouldn't do to keep them safe; however she never guessed at the lengths she would go to do just that. But when her heart interferes with her responsibilities she finds more trouble them she can handle and her only way out is to give up the boy she loves.

All These Things I've Done were done to keep her family safe and to keep her family together. However with a family like hers that was harder then expected. With criminal activity, mob wars, family politics, a vindictive ex, poisoning, attempted murder, betrayal, love and chocolate, this story literally has a bit of something for everyone. An engrossing and engaging story that is as bitter as it is sweet. A brilliant introduction to an exciting new series. ( )
  LarissaBookGirl | Aug 2, 2021 |
3.5 stars

Really interesting story set in a dystopian future in which chocolate and coffee are illegal and everything else is rationed. I liked Anya even though I didn't agree with all of her choices. When I got frustrated with her, I had to remind myself that she was just a 16-year-old girl. ( )
  ssperson | Apr 3, 2021 |
Great premise. ( )
  ladyars | Dec 31, 2020 |
I wasn't sure whether I would like All These Things I've Done. The Australian cover is gorgeous, but I have never been a fan of fiction centred around the Mafia, whether in film or book form. It doesn't hold the allure for me that it does for so many others. However, the focus of this novel is not upon the criminal activities of Anya's extended family but, rather, upon her relationships with her immediate family members and budding romance with Win. Indeed, the normalcy of a good proportion of All These Things I've Done means that it is a book that should be enjoyed by lovers of contemporary YA fiction, despite its futuristic setting and crime-based plot.

For a book that focusses on a Mafiya family, All These Things I've Done is surprisingly low-key. While it easily retains the reader's interest, Gabrielle Zevin accomplishes this not through constant action or page-turning suspense but, rather, through cleverly rendered characters who you can't help but want to read more about.

Personally, I found Anya the easy stand-out. She is strong and independent and extremely aware of her responsibilities, but is not without her weaknesses as well. Zevin has created a character who truly reads like a sixteen-year-old who has been the protector of her siblings for several years, which is no small feat. Anya combines duty and mature insight with a tendency towards rash behaviour that exposes her youth at times. Above all, however, she is likeable and easy to identify with, despite her unusual upbringing.

All that said, it is Win who will likely prove the favourite of many readers. Kind, devoted and good-looking, he is just the type of romantic interest to gain a large following. For those who are not smitten by Win, Anya's childhood crush, Yuji Ono, provides an intriguing alternative. I, for one, hope that we'll see a lot more of him in the rest of the series!

I wasn't entirely sure about Anya's best friend, Scarlet, however. It's hard to give my reasoning without spoilers, but her later alliance with someone who wronged Anya dreadfully towards the beginning of the book seemed unconvincing to me. Certainly, it wasn't an action of the loyal friend she is painted as – and I'm not sure it sends a good message to Zevin's readers. It will be interesting to see what comes of this plot point in later books.

Although it is the first book in the Birthright series, All These Things I've Done is surprisingly self-contained. While a few threads are left untied, in order to entice readers to continue with the series, those who do not read on will not feel robbed of a satisfactory (if not entirely happy) conclusion to the novel.

There is no reason not to continue reading, however. All These Things I've Done is a solid new offering from Gabrielle Zevin that is sure to appeal to a broad range of readers.
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
YA dystopian future, first person adolescent girl, trying to keep her family safe. Have we reached a point where enough of these have been published yet? Can we stop? The nice thing about this one is that the main character isn't trying to disrupt her dystopian government, just survive along with her mafia related family. Also, the rest of the world hasn't disappeared, the economy actually makes sense, and they have vouchers and poverty and items that are banned. The main issue I had with this book is the writing style. If the parts where the main character was addressing the audience were cut it would have been much more effective. Word choice was frequently iffy. ( )
  Welfycat | Mar 3, 2020 |
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In a future where chocolate and caffeine are contraband, teenage cellphone use is illegal, and water and paper are carefully rationed, sixteen-year-old Anya Balanchine finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight as heir apparent to an important New York City crime family.

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