All These Things I’ve Done details a world where chocolate and caffeine is illegal. It’s 2083, and everything has changed. Speakeasies are common in the city. Anya Balanchine’s family members are mobsters, trafficking their gourmet chocolate into the United States and selling it all over the world to whomever has the means to buy it. After her mother and father’s death, the only people she has left are her dying grandmother and guardian, her older brother Leo who is mentally disabled, and her younger sister Natty.
During one night out at a speakeasy, Anya meets a snobbish rich boy who begs for chocolate and for her to loosen up around him. When she breaks off the fledgling relationship, he starts up the rumor mill. And yet, the next week, he is there begging for chocolate again. When he lands in the hospital, deathly sick because of poison, fingers start pointing at Anya. She rushes to discover why the chocolate was poisoned and by whom, but knows that when it comes to her family, it’s better to be suspicious. They always seem to have ulterior motives.
With her suspicious and logical nature, Anya finds her world being turned upside down when she falls for Win, the romantic son of the new assistant district attorney. She knows that she should not get involved, but while her head screams one thing, her heart says another.
For me, I thought that Anya was one of the strongest, most mature protagonists that I have ever encountered. Gabrielle Zevin’s clear writing brought her logical side to life and fully illuminated her for the headstrong girl that she was. Loyal and determined, nothing could stop Anya from putting everything right.
A large focus of All These Things I’ve Done was on politics and law, and the mafia aspect was so singular that I couldn’t help but be drawn in. Snappy dialogue within the family and political intrigue left me satisfied. Another intriguing aspect of the book was that while it was set in a dystopian society, it also had ideas reminiscent of the 1920s: speakeasies, the modern women, vintage clothing, Prohibition.
All These Things I’ve Done was one of those refreshing reads that lingered with me long after I finished the last page. With its original idea, bright characters, and crisp writing, All These Things I’ve Done is a stunning idea brought to life.
Grace Soledad is a teenage bibliophile who runs the blog Words Like Silver. She is described as “antisocial” because she constantly has her nose buried in a book or a notebook. When not reading, she can be found dancing, writing, or at the beach.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.