In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city’s most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.’s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she’s to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight–at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.
This novel was so much fun to read. Especially on a long car ride down. Finished it in only a few hours with my music blasting and the windows rolled down. Honestly, the idea of coffee and chocolate being contraband would kill me. The chocolate part most of all. And having mobsters rule the illegal distribution was such a crafty and enjoyable idea. That’s what made Anya’s story so wonderful.
The hardships that Anya has to go through, taking charge as the head of the family after her father’s death, taking care of her dying grandmother, her siblings, and falling for the son of the assistant D.A. make this story an engrossing one. And with her ex-boyfriend being poisoned by chocolate and Anya taking the blame and the authority come after her, there is never a dull moment in her not-so-normal life.
As far as strong characters go, Anya is definitely one of my favorites. Her witty commentary and the strength she has to stand up for who she is, what she does, and for her family even with hardship after hardship after hardship gives her my respect. She is a character to look up to even though the choices she has to make may not be the ones she wish she made.
Final Summation: All These Things I’ve Done is a unique novel that does deserve the chance to be read. If you have the time, go out and buy or take this book out from your library because you will not regret it one bit and I’m sure that you will adore Anya as much as I do.