Title: All These Things I've Done
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Release Date: September 2011
Published By: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Goodreads Rating: 3.94 stars
Review: In 2083, New York is rife with poverty, but Anya Balanchine, the teenage daughter of a famous and dead crime boss, lives a fairly normal life of watching her siblings, caring for her dying grandmother, trying not to fall in love with the new assistant D. A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. At least, until her boyfriend is poisoned and the police think she's to blame. Anya finds herself thrust into the spotlight at school, in the news, and worst of all, in her mafia family.
I really enjoyed ALL THESE THINGS I'VE DONE, and one of the factors that contributed to this the most was the character of Anya herself. She was an unequivocally strong female lead who not only dealt with her arguably dystopian environment but supported her entire family, from her mentally challenged older brother to her frail and ill grandmother. Even as times got increasingly hard and she had to struggle with issues that would render others hopeless, she remained brave and stoic.
One aspect that surprised me about this novel was how emotional it was. Anya went through some very trying times, and her situation would have been heart-breaking whether it took place in the 2080s or the 1820s. Several times while reading this, I found myself tearing up at the events that occurred while having some serious admiration for how she was able to deal with them without descending into emo whining or black hopeless depths.
I was completely prepared to give this book five stars, right up until the last chapter. That, unfortunately, is where things sort of fell apart for me. I was hoping for a nice, satisfying ending to wrap everything up, or at least some things up, but instead the ending was quite abrupt and sudden. At first I even though that there was perhaps some sort of error and there were really more pages, but that was not the case.
Still, I loved ALL THESE THINGS I'VE DONE so much more than I expected to. Anya was courageous and strong right up to the very end, while remaining an honest and real character with flaws like anyone else. Many scenes were emotional and heart-rending, and even though this book took place in the future, it had a bit of an almost timeless quality. The ending did bother me a lot and detracted from my overall opinion of the book, but I would still highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good read.
I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher. This is no way affected my review.