Title: All These Things I’ve Done (Birthright #1)
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publication date: March 29th, 2012
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Length: 350 pages
Age group: Young Adult
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US| Amazon UK | The Book Depository
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 shattering consequences: heartbreak or a ganglad war that will tear the city apart.
I’ve heard great things about All These Things I’ve Done in the past few months so I was really excited when I received a review copy of this book. I didn’t know what to expect but in the end, I was genuinely surprised. Is that a good thing? Well, in this case, yes. It’s different from what I expected it to be but it was interesting nonetheless.
The plot itself centres around Anya, a 16-year-old girl from New York, and her family. Anya, who lost both her parents when she was young and who now lives with her little sister and her older brother, is a member of a criminal family. Since her brother was in an accident a few years prior to the story and he’s had a sheltered life ever since, Anya is the one who keeps the family together, who looks after the three of them and who sees to the day to day running of the household. Which is – and I’m not going into details about the story because the synopsis says it all – one of the things I liked about her character the most. I love books with a tough heroine and Anya was definitely one of them.
The first thing that came into my mind when I was reading this story is Romeo and Juliet. Gabrielle Zevin’s book is like a modern Romeo and Juliet with a futuristic twist. I loved the way Zevin presented the world Anya and her family live in. We learn that in 2082, chocolate and coffee are illegal and everything we take for granted now in 2012 is rationed. The city is running out of water so what’s left is becoming more and more expensive. Books no longer exist (yes, can you imagine that?!) because no one can afford paper, and museums had been turned into night clubs. It really is a totally different world from what we live in now – it was a very clever idea.
All in all, I think it was a great way to start this trilogy – I see why some people might say it’s a bit slow paced but I think in this case, it’s inevitable for us to get a clear picture of how Anya’s family, and the whole society works in 2082. The second half of the book is certainly more action-filled and the ending was brilliant – talk about cliffhangers! Gabrielle Zevin definitely made me want to pick up the next book in this series and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the story goes.
The only thing I don’t understand is why it’s classified as a ‘thriller’. I love thrillers but All These Things I’ve Done didn’t seem like one. Dystopian(ish) fantasy, maybe. Thriller, no(t yet). Well, I suppose we’ll have to wait and see. 😉