Friday, 13 July 2012
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Title: All These Things I've Done
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Released: March 29th 2012
Pages: 352 (Paperback)
Sixteen year-old Anya becomes the head of a mafia family after her parents are both murdered by rival gangs. Although Anya is embroiled 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 jeopardized by rumors 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.
I've read both Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, and Elsewhere, so I was pretty excited when I found out Zevin was writing a dystopian novel - my favourite genre of sorts. And I have to say, I completely fell in love with it. Not only was it easy to read, but it held a real depth that really captured my attention. Zevin's imagination never fails to impress me.
The story revolves around Anya, who cares for her grandmother, her mentally handicapped brother, Leo, and her younger sister, Natty, after her parents were both murdered. Her father was at the center of a criminal business, and I suppose could be described as a mobster. The novel was about the decisions she made about her birthright, and how they affected not just her, but also the people around here.
First of all, I really liked all the characterization around the characters, and I genuinely felt like I knew each one personally, and quite well - even Anya, who is super-secretive. Zevin developed each of the character's well, and their personalities didn't merge together; throughout the whole novel, they stayed true to their starting personality and way of speaking, which a lot of character's in books don't do.
I really liked the overall story concept. As I said earlier, I love dystopian novels, but you never really get ones that are focused around a crime-ridden land, and I found it pretty intruiging. I also loved the fact that her grandmother, who was on her death bed, is from my generation - it made a connection between the readers and the story, which makes it easier to relate to the cast of characters, despite the massive age difference. After all, they are portrayed as teenagers, just like us. However, I think what I liked best about the plot was that it was constantly leading up to something; there were milestones throughout the novel, and the reader is constantly anticipating something to happen, whether that is good or bad. It kept me on my toes, certainly.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel, and since I finished it in public, I had to try my best not to burst out into tears. If you like dystopian novels, please give this a try - it has gotten a lot of mixed reviews, but I personally really liked it. Roll on September 2012, where the next installment will be released!