Summary: 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.
- Wonderful futuristic New York City setting
- Love the concept of illegal caffeine and chocolate and its ties to the Prohibition era in the 1920s
- Writing lacked suspense so the novel felt a bit anti-climactic
In the near future of 2083, chocolate and caffeine are illegal in the United States. When you’re Anya Balanchine, life is hard when you’re the daughter of a dead crime boss who was once the head of the illegal family chocolate operations. Mix in a tale of star-crossed lovers and you have a recipe for a bitter sweet story.
I stumbled upon this book at BEA knowing next to nothing about it. All I knew is that when I read the description, I was so glad to have picked it up. I’m a bit hesitant to label this one as a dystopian novel mostly because of the lack of power that the government seems to have in this book. Sure they are the reason why chocolate and caffeine is illegal, but to me, the power really lies with the organized crime mobs. I feel like they are the ones that make the shots in this world and the government simply reacts to what happens as a result.
I love the concept of ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE. I’m drinking coffee as I write this review and I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have caffeine and chocolate to be both illegal. One, okay. But both? That’s just crazy. The idea is absurd which is why I love that Zevin makes connections to the Prohibition era of the 1920s very early on in the story. By establishing this connection, she makes her story more realistic for readers. If alcohol had been illegal in the past, what’s to say that it can’t happen to chocolate or caffeine?
Setting is one of the key reasons why I enjoyed ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE. I have a soft spot for books that are based in New York City and I love Zevin’s futuristic portrayal of the Big Apple. I love to read about an author’s perspective on how the city has changed due to different circumstances. I loved recognizing places based on the descriptions alone. You know an author’s a great writer when you can pinpoint a certain location without them having to say it straight out. Little Egypt was one of my favorite places in the book.
The story lacked suspense for me. I think it was the writing that didn’t quite keep me on the edge of my toes while I read. Sometimes, I felt like Anya was simply just telling me what happened instead of showing me. In addition to the lack of suspense, the romance was just okay for me. It wasn’t as epic as I thought it would be. Anya and Win were cute, but they aren’t going to be on my list of favorite couples any time soon.
As for the actual audiobook, I liked Ilyana Kadushin who read Zevin’s story. I wish she sounded a little younger, but overall I was very impressed with her performance throughout the book. Kadushin’s voice brings out the different personalities of the characters, and when she reads, it is possible to distinguish one character from another. Since I had actually already read the story, it was a lot easier to follow the audiobook. I usually have a hard time concentrating on an audiobook, but I found this one surprisingly easy. On the downside, I did already know what was going to happen, so it wasn’t as suspenseful to listen to.
ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE is a decent start of a new series. I’m not exactly counting down the days for the next book, but I was highly entertained to see New York City in Zevin’s 2083.