All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

I loved this! Not sure how I feel about seeing that, like every other YA book these days, it’s already listed as a series, #1. Yes, I’d enjoy reading more about these characters and I would have liked a little bit of a tidier ending, but honestly when I finished it just now I thought that was it, it was a great story, it was done.
Although this is set in the future I did not think of it as a futuristic novel. Technology did not seem especially advanced and in fact, things seemed pretty grey and depressed. With water being super scarce the world has changed. I’m sure the author had a lot of fun with details like the Statue of Liberty being reduced to just the feet and the base being turned into a juvenile detention facility.
As the daughter of a dead organized crime boss (they deal in black market chocolate) Anya Balanchine’s main goal in life is to protect what’s left of her family-her simple brother, her sister, and her dying elderly grandmother (in a neat bit of calculating the elderly grandmother would have been a teenager in our present day-she was born in 1995 and in the story she is in her late 80s.) Her life is complicated when she falls for the son of the new DA and she is warned away from him. Making things worse, despite her vow to not be involved in the family business she is being pressured to be a part of it.
I am not a fan of mafia stories, The Sopranos, or The Godfather, so I was a bit worried I wouldn’t like this. Fortunately there was minimal violence and most of it occurred off screen, so to speak.
This was a really engaging story, which I definitely expected from this author. The whole reason I picked it up is because I recognized her name as being the author of Elsewhere, a book I was utterly charmed by.

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2 thoughts on “All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

  1. I just read this as well, and it’s the third YA book I’ve read recently where the lack of any real ending made me annoyed enough that I won’t read any sequels. The worst offender was “The Marbury Lens”, because we don’t even know what’s real or what’s going on, and I’m not going to spend 4-5 more books just to find that out. The other book was “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”. I’m not sure why I’m starting to feel so strongly about this — I mean, it’s not as though I want or need every last detail tidied up by the end of every book. But while I found all three of these books engaging, none of them made me *so* engrossed in the world that I’m willing to go back for more to get the resolution I was looking for.

    Another recent read that bothered me was “Web of Air”, the second book in the “Fever Crumb” series. It was intriguing, but I felt the main character ended up in the exact place/situation where she was at the end of the first book. So things happened, but essentially she was treading water. Sigh….

    Maybe I’m just getting cranky in my old age!

    • I’m cranky right there with you! I also recently read Across the Universe and thought, “did this really need to be set up as a series??” I assume the pressure comes from publishers who see a financial gain in having a popular lucrative series, but I think it does a real disservice to an author’s writing.

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