All These Things I’ve Done – Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Release Date: 29th March 2012
Other Titles by this Author: Margarettown, Elsewhere, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac
For Anya, love will become a life-or-death choice...
New York 2082. When Anya is arrested for attempted murder, the District Attorney offers her a choice: stay away from his son or watch helplessly as he destroys her family. it should be a straightforward decision. Except that the DA’s son is the boy Anya loves, and her family is at the dark heart of the city’s criminal underworld.
Anya must choose between love and loyalty, knowing that whatever she decides will have shatterng consequences: heartbreak or a gangland war that will tear the city apart.
All These Things I’ve Done is a dystopia that’s very different to lots that are out there at the moment. And I adored it.
In Anya’s New York City, most of the things we don't give a second though to are banned or severely restricted: chocolate, coffee, paper, showers and yet alcohol was available to anyone! It was a little mind-blowing really. I loved how it reflected the 1919-1933 American Prohibition on alcohol and turned it on its head as well. One of my favourite elements of this was the coffee speakeasies that were scattered throughout the city and the mafia families making their money on illegal chocolate. I thought it was an extremely clever way to create a future almost-dystopian world without the usual tactics of war, disaster or an apocalypse. I have to admit that there’s no way that I’d want to live in Gabrielle Zevin’s 2082 though – paper books are the things of rich collectors and everything is now read on slates *shudder*.
Anya, or Annie as her family call her, is a very intriguing protagonist. She has been left in charge of her dying grandmother, little sister, and less-able older brother after the murder of her parents. She is strong, closed-off and still very, very easy to love. I really enjoyed the flecks of Russian that dotted her speech whenever she was angry and the sayings that her dad had taught her that Anya pretty much lives by. Anya was surrounded by some other brilliant characters too: her sassy, sweet little sister, Natty; adorable Leo who was determined to look after his sisters, the diva-esque Scarlet, Anya’s best friend and the gorgeous Win who would do anything for Anya. With Anya, Leo and Natty’s grandmother, you have an incredibly old dying women who it’s said was born in 1995. That would make her three years younger than me, and that blew my mind a little bit, I have to admit.
I loved the way that Gabrielle Zevin approached telling the story in All These Things I’ve Done. She went with the unusual style of direct discourse. Anya was telling me her story from quite far in the past, often noting on how things were when the story was taking place back then and there was the sense that it is a lot different where she is now. There were a few asides and N.B.’s that I loved which can easily alienate you from the story but Zevin hit the nail on the head – I loved it.
I thoroughly enjoyed All These Things I've Done and I can't wait to read the next instalment of the Birthright series.
For my 2012 Dystopia Challenge
Thank you to Macmillan for sending me a copy to review.