All These Things I've Done
by Gabrielle Zevin
Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011. 354 pgs. Young Adult
Anya’s just trying to hold her small family together, hoping her extremely frail grandmother (and legal guardian) dies when Anya is old enough to resume legal guardianship of her younger sister Natty. Anya’s parents are dead from hits by other crime families; ever since her mob boss father has died, she has kept her distance from the rest of the family. But when her ex-boyfriend falls extremely ill from eating her family’s illegal chocolate, Anya becomes the number one suspect. That suspicion, along with dating the district attorney’s son, thrusts Anya’s relatively private life into the public and it becomes fraught with possible dangers from many sides, including her mob family.
Set in the future where chocolate is illegal and the water supply is quickly dwindling, this doesn’t feel like a science fiction novel, but I see how the author might be setting this up for future books where these matters are more of an issue. I have been a fan of Zevin’s previous young adult books and this was just as good, but different. The characters are well thought out, including the supporting ones and the romance is realistic and not over the top. The whole idea of Anya’s proper birthright in the mob family, but wanting to shield her family makes this feel more real, and not some clichéd mob story. Hopefully there will be more stories featuring Anya and this slightly different world.