When I saw the cover and title of Gabrielle Zevin’s All These Things I’ve Done, I knew I had to read it. The cover it dramatic and the title is unique. Even the story line is unique. But there was just something that was missing.
It’s 2083 in New York City and chocolate is illegal. Anya Balanchine was born into a family that deals with this contraband. Her family is basically the mafia of NYC. Some people have family problems, but most don’t end in death. Both of Anya’s parents were killed before she was 10 and her older brother, Leo, got brain damage during the shooting that killed her mother. Her guardian is her dying grandmother, but it’s Anya who really runs the show. She stays off the radar until she is accused of poisoning her ex-boyfriend with tainted chocolate. But then she falls for the new assistant DA’s son, Win. The DA thinks that Anya will ruin his chances of being elected as the head DA, so he is willing to negotiate to break them apart. Will Anya and Win’s love survive? Could Anya’s life possibly get more complicated?
So, character-wise, I’d say that this book was a tad lacking. Leo was my favorite character, but he was apparently a little “simple-minded.” I noticed nothing wrong with him. He was just a really nice big brother and Anya treated him like he was a little kid. The worst part is that he knew that she treated him that way and repeated said, “I’m an adult, Anya. Not a little kid.” I agreed with him. Win was also a good character because he was funny and nice. But Anya didn’t really stand out. I mean, she was okay and everything, but she lacked fire. She wasn’t a bad narrator and I liked her all right, but she wasn’t my favorite.
The writing was kind of weird. Overall, it was pretty standard, but then there were times when it addressed the readers and I didn’t like that; it detracted from the story and distracted me. There was actually a part that said, “his is foreshadowing, dear readers- more and deeper humiliations to come...” Thanks for that, Zevin. I could never have figured that out myself.
The story and concept were unique, but I didn’t really understand the reasoning behind the banning of chocolate and it is never really explained. The world-building was pretty good, but it wasn’t really anything special. Overall, I wasn’t very impressed with this book. I really don't have much to say about this book as a whole.