All These Things I've Done:
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 accidentally 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.
First off, I just have to mention that I love how beneath the dust-jacket, the book is made to look like a contraband chocolate bar! Before this book I had never heard of Gabrielle Zeven, but now she is definitely going to be on my "to-read" list. From the very first page of this unique book, I was completely captivated. Anya's story was so compelling that the first time I pulled myself away from the book was to discover that a couple of hours had gone by, and half of the book had been consumed. I truly enjoyed Gabrielle's characters, and how they were among the most honest I have read in a long time--what they showed of themselves was who they were. Anya's voice was so strong as the narrator that I felt I was a part of her life. Family and loyalty are what is most important to Anya, and she was a strong and independent leading female character. It was refreshing to see a character who was unafraid of her responsibilities and willing to suffer the consequences when deemed necessary. The story definitely has a dystopian vibe to it, but what I enjoyed was that it wasn't page-after-page of world building. Gabrielle gave her readers the information they needed, when they needed it, making the world she created realistic and easy to visualize.