Tatiana's Reviews > All These Things I've Done

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
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Aug 13, 11

bookshelves: 2011, ya
Read from August 09 to 13, 2011

2.5 stars

Mixed feelings about this book.

At first, I was enamored with All These Things I've Done. Mainly because of its originality. Even though the novel is pushed as another dystopia, it is more of a mafia crime drama, at least in the beginning. The setting is futuristic - 2083, but hardly dystopic. The end of the century US is overrun by lawlessness, corruption and rationing, however there is nothing particularly oppressive about it. In fact, it actually reminded me of 1990s Russia - the civilization is still there, but the change in political regime destroyed the country's infrastructure and order, not irreparably though.

16-year old Anya Balanchine is the daughter of the deceased head of the Russian-American mafia family. Although she still gets the perks of being affiliated with this organization (money, connections, easy access to illegal substances - chocolate among other things!), she is not a part of the criminal network. Anya is busy going to school, looking after her mentally disabled older brother, little sister and dying grandmother and fighting off her good-for-nothing ex. Her life is moderately difficult and later becomes even more so, when she finds herself attracted to the wrong boy (a new DA's son) and when her ex gets poisoned by what appears to be the chocolate bar Anya gave him.

Up to that point the book was great, except the occasional misspellings of Russian words and chocolate-is-now-a-drug bit which I thought was almost as ridiculous as love-is-a-deadly-decease premise. And then something happened in the second half of the novel.

The crime subplot is almost completely abandoned then. No new backstory or external information is introduced, there is hardly any conflict. What is in there is a lot of Anya's immediate family repetitive drama and romance. The strange thing is, all of this is written in a very detached way. You no longer feel like you are with Anya being a part of the events or romantic scenes. Everything reads as recaps, many plot points (proms, school theater production, dates) are introduced and then recounted in a couple of sentences. Even all the lovey-dovey stuff is recapped! Yes, a string of recaps and very poor and uninteresting dialog. My connection to this story was lost then. My interest was killed by excessive telling and minimal showing.

All These Things I've Done could have been so much better with more mafia, more crime, narrower time frame, and less recapping.

Such a wasted premise! Probably won't be back for the sequel.
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Reading Progress

08/11/2011 page 36
10.0%
08/11/2011 page 66
18.0% 3 comments
08/12/2011 page 95
26.0% "I like it a lot so far, except the ridiculous chocolate-is-illegal-substance part"
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Comments (showing 1-27 of 27) (27 new)

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Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead I think I'll wait to see what you think on this one before I decide on it.


Tatiana I can't seem to get to it. Will probably start on it this week and let you know. The reviews have been mixed.


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Tatiana wrote: "I can't seem to get to it. Will probably start on it this week and let you know. The reviews have been mixed."

I'm always cautious with YA books like this. I guess if you can't get into it, that says something right there. :)


Tatiana Actually, I haven't even opened it yet. It's been on my desk for a couple of weeks now. Probably because no gushing review forced me to look at it so far.


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Tatiana wrote: "Actually, I haven't even opened it yet. It's been on my desk for a couple of weeks now. Probably because no gushing review forced me to look at it so far."

It's definitely a different type of book. Hopefully, it will surprise you.... in a good way that is.


Emily May This sounds... interesting. I can't wait to hear what you think:)


Emily May How is it?


Tatiana Liked it a lot for awhile, not so much right now.


message 9: by Beth (new) - added it

Beth ooh, what happened/changed?


Dark Faerie Tales I have this one in my TBR pile. Want to know if it's worth the time.


Amelia, the pragmatic idealist YES. Completely agree. You said everything I wanted to say, only less rant-y :)


Emily May Another interesting premise down the drain? It seems to be all I'm hearing lately :(
I still might check it out if I get hold of a copy but I'm not going out of my way to get it.


Tatiana There is something to like here, to be sure. I wish I could love it though...


message 14: by Midnite (new)

Midnite I've been meaning to read a Gabrielle Zevin book, but I won't start with this one. It wasn't high on my list, but now I'll remove it. Thanks for your review.


Tatiana Midnite, I remember reading Zevin's Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac and enjoying it much more than this one.


Shannon (Giraffe Days) It seems to be the latest trend in YA - publish science fiction but call it dystopian... Since when did a futuristic setting and a couple of new laws equate a dystopian society?!


message 17: by Tatiana (last edited Sep 19, 2011 02:34PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tatiana It's like the top selling point right now - just call a book dystopia and it will be flying off the shelves (supposedly). Probably like "vampire" tag a couple of years ago?


Shannon (Giraffe Days) Tatiana wrote: "It's like the top selling point right now - just call a book dystopia and it will be flying off the shelves (supposedly). Probably like "vampire" tag a couple of years ago?"

Exactly. But what a shame - what's wrong with science fiction that you can't call a book science fiction? And when people tire of it they won't want to read real dystopian fiction...


message 19: by Tatiana (last edited Sep 20, 2011 07:15AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tatiana I would love to read more good YA sci-fi! And you are right, I am already preemptively sick of anything that is called YA dystopia these days.

It's disheartening how many books get published now to chase a trend rather than because they are good.


Krystle I'm still in the beginning and I like it a lot so far but oh boy... Not excited to read about the not so stellar second half. >_<.


Tatiana I am curious to see your reaction. Hope it is better for you, but, unfortunately, I've seen quite a few reviews pointing to the same problem. Good luck!


message 22: by Nina (new) - rated it 1 star

Nina there's a sequel to this???!!! I didn't even finish... no heart for it... I agree, I really loved the idea and plot of it but I felt it wasn't well-executed as it could've been.


Ruthanne IA with your review. I felt the book was rushed with recapping. I also felt there wasn't enough backstory as to why society when the way it did.


Piseog I completely agree with your review on this book. Exactly what I was thinking.


message 25: by Beth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth Dailey Kenneth I listened to it on CD and I think it helped move it along. I liked the romance and family drama...it made her feel more like a person to me and less like another mob daughter.


Lemongirl15 Oh my gosh I adored this book! I have yet to find a review that you wrote that you actually liked. :) Seriously though, (and not trying to be mean) if I was so negative and critical of every book I read, I would hate reading.
p.s. It really kind of annoys me when people haven't even read a book yet but they put up a review so that there's will be the first to show up. Sorry, but I mean that with the greatest respect possible, I'm just trying to express my opinion.


Tatiana Do you really need me to respond to you? If you wanted to know what kind of books I like, you would have checked my shelves and figured it out. Instead, it's the same boring complaining I've heard too many times before. I don't have to like what you like. End of story.

P.S. Yeah, respect. Your comment is full of it.


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