Release Date: September 6, 2011
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
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Sixteen year-old Anya becomes the head of a mafia family after her parents are both murdered by rival gangs. Although Anya is embrolied in the criminal world, she is determined to keep her brother and sister out of the mafia family, but her father's relatives aren't so keen to let them go. When Anya's violent ex-boyfriend is poisoned with contaminated chocolate – chocolate that is produced illegally by Anya's mafia family – she is arrested for attempted murder and sent to the notorious jail on Manhattan Island.
Eventually she is freed by the new D.A. in town, who believes she has been framed. But this D.A. is the father of Win, a boy at school to whom Anya feels irresistibly drawn, and her freedom comes with conditions. Win's father wants to be mayor, and he can't risk having his ambition jeopardised by rumours spreading that his son is seeing a member of a notorious crime family. Anya knows she risks the safety of her family by seeing Win again, but the feeling between them may be too strong to resist...
All These Things I've Done is set in the year 2083. Chocolate and coffee are illegal, water is rationed, books aren't printed because of how scare paper has become, phone calls are heavily taxed, production of clothes ceased a decade ago and you need vouchers for simple things like candles. Lakes in New York are dried up, once flourishing green parks are dead and the city is riddled with crime.
Anya is definitely not a typical teenager. She is the primary caregiver for her ailing grandmother, her older brother who hasn't been the same since an accident when he was younger and her highly intelligent kid sister. I really enjoyed seeing the difference sides of Anya. She's a realist and wiser than her years and very protective towards her siblings. Because of their grandmother's failing health and death of their parents, Anya is more of an unintentional mother figure towards her siblings. While it's a lot of responsibility to have on her young shoulder, she's too busy caring to ever complain and I respect her for that.
The situation Anya and Win find themselves in reminds me of Romeo and Juliet — not the romance side of the story, but the difficulties they will have being together because of their family's standing in society. Anya is the daughter of a slain mob boss and Win the son of New York's new DA. Win's father doesn't want Anya in a relationship with his son because of how it might look to the public associating with the daughter of a known crime family. Their romance developed overtime, making it more realistic. Anya is cynical when it comes to love and tries to push Win away because of the possible danger a relationship with Win could put her family in, but ends up getting closer to him.
I loved Gabrielle's writing style. When it came to the facts about the world she's created, the information was succinct and to the point, which kept the story fast-paced.
All These Things I've Done is not a dystopian. I don't mean that in a negative way, just as the way I personally see it. While it's set in the future, it reminds me of the past and interpretations of New York that I've seen through movies depicting a time when economy was stagnant and the city had become notorious for high rates of crime. Instead of being a dystopian, it's more of a possible natural evolution of the world and not the result of a major disaster or oppressive government.
It's a unique story with complex characters, mystery and forbidden love. I'm really looking forward to reading the next book in the series.