Monday, 23 April 2012

Review for All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Release Date: 29th March 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Mystery, Thriller, Romance
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Source: Bought

Amazon Summary:
"Sixteen year-old Anya's parents have been murdered because her father was the head of a notorious underworld gang. Now she is determined to keep herself and her siblings away from that world. 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 criminal family - she is arrested for attempted murder. Disconcertingly, it is the new D.A. in town who releases her from jail, but her freedom comes with conditions. The D.A. is the father of Win, a boy at school to whom Anya feels irresistibly drawn. Win’s father won’t risk having his political ambitions jeopardised by his son seeing a member of a crime family. She is to stay away with him. Anya knows she risks her freedom and the safety of her brother and sister by seeing Win again. Neither the D.A. nor the underworld will allow it. But the feeling between them is so strong that she may be unable to resist him..."

What first drew me to All These Things I’ve Done is that unlike a lot of dystopian reads this book is set in the near future, 2083 to be exact, a time that a lot of teen readers could very well live to and so it brought the issues in this book that much closer to home.

The future in All These Things I’ve Done isn’t an apocalyptic one as such in that the word isn’t coming to an end or that it’s a drastically different place to the one we know. It’s more of a world on the cusp of devastation with shortages in water and therefore certain foods and materials. There are some obvious changes from the world we know for instance coffee, chocolate and heck anything with caffeine in it is illegal. There are no swimming pools or lakes or rivers, water is rationed out in timed meters for showers at home, nobody smokes because cigarettes are hard to come by what with not having enough water to grow the tabaco, and alcohol doesn’t have an age permit mainly because nobody sees it as a big deal it’s dehydrating and in a world where water supplies are low nobody wants that. So whilst the world isn’t strictly in chaos it’s a world that’s struggling and very soon could be.

This book reads like part dystopian/mystery/thriller/contemporary. It felt like a more realistic dystopian and read like a contemporary book about your average girl trying to make ends meet. Anya isn’t a heroine who sparks rebellion and stands in the centre of an uprising. Instead she is a normal girl living in a world that whilst is very different to our own is just the norm for her. Anya’s world is one infested with crime, daughter of the city’s most infamous crime boss, Anya’s day to day life is highly dangerous and not far into the story a lot of strange things start occurring the most prominent being poison in a chocolate supply that her family manufacture which leads us into the mystery/thriller aspect of the book as we see what it’s like to come from a high stakes mafia family. All These Things I’ve Done has a lot of different sides to it and so is consistently interesting to read.

There were so many warm and likeable characters in this book. I quickly fell in love with Anya’s eccentric but wonderful family particularly Leo, Anya’s older brother, and their wise and lovely Nana, not to mention the adorable Natty, Anya’s younger sister. This book had a big theme about the importance of family and looking after your own and I loved the closeness that the Balanchine family shared. Then there’s also Scarlet and Win and Mr Kipling… I could talk about each of these characters and what I loved about them all day but I guess all you really need to know is that this book is chock full of amazing characters and their personalities and relationships with one another where what I loved most about this book.

Despite loving all of the character I feel like Anya deserves a paragraph all to herself. I seriously LOVED Anya as our heroine she’s honestly the best protagonist I’ve come across in a long time. She’s smart and funny and bad ass and is the sort of person who has a hard shell and a soft centre. She was strong and tough when she needed to be but we also saw her softer side when it came to her friends and family. Anya is unflinchingly loyal and the way she cared for her siblings and nana were really admirable and I loved her personality.

Overall All These Things I’ve Done was an amazing book. With themes of doing what you want with your life VS what is expected of you and staying true to your beliefs and who you are as a person, I think it has a fantastic message for teens and is something that is really relatable. I loved pretty much everything about this book and found it to be a near perfect read.


  1. I haven't read a lot of positive reviews on this to be honest, Jess. So I've been a little weary of it, even though I have a copy. Maybe I'll look into it a bit more now though.

    I'm glad that you enjoyed it. :)

    1. Really? I've only read GOOD reviews!? Maybe it's one that's got some mixed opinions then. I really enjoyed it and I hope that if you give it a chance you will too :)

  2. This is such a perfect review Jess, I'm so glad you loved this. I feel as tho a lot of people missed what this book was about, saying it wasn't 'dystopian' enough but like you say it read more like a contemporary set in a dystopian future. I loved all the overarching themes in it about friendship and family too. Like you say, Anya was amazing, definitely one of my favourite heroines of all time! I seriously cannot wait for the sequel and I'm really really glad you loved this as well

    The Cait Files

    1. Yay! Glad to see you loved it too Cait! Anya was fab wasn't she? Definitely one of my fav heroines too! :-)


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