Friday 30 March 2012

Book Review- All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

All These Things I've Done (Birthright, #1)
Title: All These Things I’ve Done
 Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Series:  Birthright #1
Published: 29 March 2012 by Pan Macmillan
Length: 252 pages
Warnings: violence, sex references 13+
Source: Publisher for review
Other info: Birthright is going to be a trilogy. Book two will be called Because It Is My Blood. Gabrielle has also written things like Elsewhere, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac and The Whole We’re In.
Summary : Sixteen year-old Anya becomes the head of a mafia family after her parents are both murdered by rival gangs. Although Anya is embrolied in the criminal world, she is determined to keep her brother and sister out of the mafia family, 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 mafia family – she is arrested for attempted murder and sent to the notorious jail on Manhattan Island.
 Eventually she is freed by the new D.A. in town, who believes she has been framed. But this D.A. is the father of Win, a boy at school to whom Anya feels irresistibly drawn, and her freedom comes with conditions. Win's father wants to be mayor, and he can't risk having his ambition jeopardised by rumours spreading that his son is seeing a member of a notorious crime family. Anya knows she risks the safety of her family by seeing Win again, but the feeling between them may be too strong to resist...

Review: To start with, this isn’t a dystopian like how I thought it would be. Well, it kind of is. Coffee and chocolate are banned outright, and other things that we take for granted, like water and paper, are restricted. From that, you’d expect a hugely totalitarian society-right? At least I did. It isn’t. It’s more of a  coming of age, dealing with responsibilities, falling in love story intertwined with the Mafia, set in the future and with  a little dystopian society thrown in.
Anya is the daughter of a criminal mastermind, orphaned and left with a family to take care of. Sure, her grandmother is still alive, and she has an older brother, but when she’s dependent on machines and he’s brain damaged after being in the car accident that killed their mum, it’s up to her to look after them, her younger sister Natty and herself. And then she’s suspected of attempting to kill her borderline abusive boyfriend. On her release, Charles Delacroix, the District Attorney, says that Anya can stay away from his son or have her family torn apart. Said son is Win, the boy who Anya’s started falling in love with.
Yes, this did turn out to be a bit more love orientated than I thought, but I still enjoyed it throughout. We are easily pulled into future New York,  and can easily understand the laws of the land and generally what happens.
It’s interesting having a religious main character. In most books, religion isn’t the focus, but it’s a big part of Anya. It’s interesting how this shapes her views on sex, her feelings for Win, everything she does and so on. It also adds a little bit more to her character, especially her reasoning for why she’s Catholic. 
The characterisation is excellent. Everyone from Anya to Leo to Imogen to Yujji to Dr Lau-no matter how relatively small their part is, you still get an idea of their character. Leo is really cute, and I feel kind of sorry for how anya’s being so overprotective of him, even though I understand where she’s coming from. Natty is very mature for her twelve years, maybe trying to make up for Leo? (it is fully explained later on in the book though). Win, I can’t say is particularly my kind of boy. He is an interesting character though, and I can see why Anya fell for him. Though to be honest, anything’s better than Gable. The family and other minor characters are good, but you have to be awake to keep track of the family.
I like the fact that it isn’t totally love-y, coming of age-y and all that. I did enjoy those parts, but I’m glad that it had some subplots like Natty’s future, Leo’s current and future, and their family in the criminal world. Oh, and the whole arrested for murder and chocolate is a big thing too. 
Anya is  a very strong character. She has a lot of responsibility on her shoulders, and she manages to keep up with it well. I’m not sure if I liked her feeling quite so strongly about Win. It didn’t seem to fit totally with the rest of the persona. Aside from that, I loved her. She definitely develops throughout, and by the end, she’s able to relax a bit more, delegate responsibility for her family and make her own way in the world.

Overall:  Strength 4 to an intriguing book with a really strong main character. Definitely want to read book 2.


  1. ooh yes! I really enjoyed reading this book! so glad you did too. I cant hardly wait for the second installment. this book is just very original and intriguing. Great review Nina. x


  2. Awesome review Nina, I loved Anya as well. Totally didn't mind Win but wasn't overwhelmed with love for him either. Wish I could have book 2 now!

    The Cait Files

  3. great review, I loved this book as well and Anya was an amazing MC


Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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