Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)'s Reviews > All These Things I've Done

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
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Mar 29, 12

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bookshelves: books-i-own, arc-or-review, dystopian, young-adult, title-appeal, series-or-companions, sci-fi, read-in-2012, let-down
Read from March 26 to 28, 2012

I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of this book as the premise sounded very original. I've read two of Zevin's other books (Elsewhere and Margarettown) and enjoyed them. All These Things I've Done certainly has that unique edge that Zevin's writing usually has. If you have read and enjoyed her other works, then you'll probably like this. I'm always cautious about being critical of the first book in a trilogy or series, as there is potential to expand and develop later on, but I simply feel that there is something missing from this book.

The idea of a future where substances such as caffeine and chocolate are illegal and things we often take for granted today, such as paper, are scarce, isn't impossible but it is very intriguing. I think that the idea is great, it's something that interests me and it could have been portrayed so well. I thought that the world building was very lacklustre though - there were little, if any explanations as to why things were the way they were and the policing was very poor so it almost didn't matter that things were classed as illegal. I think that this is the thing that disappointed me the most as I was so excited about the setting. I was lead to think that this would be dystopian, but it certainly didn't seem that way.

This book does have a 'thriller' feel to it, centralising around our narrator, Anya (Annie) who is torn between the boy she loves and her birthright - this is especially difficult for her as she was born into a mafia-type family, her murdered father being the head of the organisation. I have already read one mafia based story this year (Arcadia Awakens) which I found surprisingly enjoyable. The mafia aspect of this book was effective and didn't feel too dominating or complex. It added a sense of mystery and intrigue to the book and made me rightly cautious of a lot of the characters including the bad guy, Jacks, and some of Anya's other family members. I am surprised that Anya wasn't more suspicious herself! Caught up in dealings with Jacks and some others is Leo, Anya's brother who had an accident which left him with the mental age of an eight year old. I found Leo to be a super interesting character who was formed very well. I found both him and Natty, Anya's younger sister, to be very endearing and I loved their relationship with Anya.

A huge aspect of this book is the romance between Anya and Win, a new boy at her school. Anya later finds out that Win's father is the District Attorney and although he doesn't think that it's a good idea for his son to be in a relationship with her, he doesn't completely forbid it, at least not at the beginning. If he had, then the forbidden relationship may have been more interesting. I did, however take to Win and found myself really liking him. I'm not entirely sure how I felt about Anya. I completely respected her family loyalty. I did, at times, find her to be a little frustrating and harsh - she didn't always think about what she was saying or doing.

Whilst this book did manage to hold my attention, I felt as though it dragged at points. I felt as though I was waiting for something huge to happen, but it never did.Of course things did happen, but nothing that excited me or made me desperate to read on. I thought the most exciting part was perhaps the time Anya spent at Liberty (a camp for children who had committed crimes), but just when it was getting interesting, she was released!

I don't think that this was a bad book, it just lacked something which could have made it more compelling. I'm not overly eager to read the next book, but I hope that it will develop the world building and be a bit more captivating. There was a lot going on in this one, so perhaps some focus is needed. A reasonably easy, but somewhat slow, book which I'd recommend to those who are perhaps already fans of Zevin's books.
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Quotes Stephanie Liked

Gabrielle Zevin
“I did learn something about insanity while I was down there. People go crazy, not because they are crazy, but because it's the best available option at the time.”
Gabrielle Zevin, All These Things I've Done

Reading Progress

03/26/2012 page 40
11.0% "Chocolate doesn't solve everything, but it does solve a heck of a lot."
03/27/2012 page 208
59.0% 1 comment
03/28/2012 page 282
80.0% "Not sure how I feel about this book... hmm..."

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Kim (new)

Kim Smiley That title is one of "The Killers" songs from their 1st cd, lol.

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