Published: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (9/6/11)
Series: Birthright #1
Source: won during Armchair BEA
GR 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 accidently 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.
My Thoughts: First off, I love the name Anya, so I instantly connected with the character on a completely superficial level. Luckily, she was audacious and spunky enough to back up her awesome name. Secondly, living in a world without chocolate and ESPECIALLY coffee is a world I wouldn't want to live in. And if I had no choice, I'd break the law all the time, assaulting fools for some coffee. I sympathized with the addicts and supported the mafiya.
This book did not disappoint me in any way. It wasn't action-packed or guns a-blazin' or collecting-thumbs-to-get-my-money, but it had just the right amount of subtle suspense to keep me satisfied. I thought Anya's ex-boyfriend was a complete tool, so I'm glad the romance redeemed itself. New love interest, Win (aka Goodwin), was all kinds of cute and fun and sweet and I had a total crush on this couple. And then there's the fact that Anya's a mafiya daughter and Win's daddy is the D.A. Starcrossed lovers. WORD.
OH. And three cheers for the awesome best friend. I think I liked her more than Anya. Not to mention a seriously sad backstory involving Anya's family that makes me want to hug mine tight.
Though the word "dystopia" usually makes me think of cyborgs and bionic arms and technology beyond my wildest imagination, All These Things I've Done is a pretty interesting addition to the genre. It's not so different from the world we know today, except no caffeine or paper and the showers are like 5 milliseconds long and freezing because there's a water ration. Not a fate I'd wish upon anyone, but it was fun to read about.