It's 2083. Chocolate is illegal. Caffeine is illegal. And any number of other things have been outlawed as well. Anya Balanchine is the daughter of a well known crime boss and trader in chocolate. Anya knows all too well the dangers of being a Balanchine: her mother and father are both dead and her brother has been irreparably damaged thanks to a botched hit attempt years ago. Now it's up to Anya to make sure her family stays safe. She does this by distancing herself from the Balanchine family's activities as much as possible. But when her ex boyfriend is hospitalized after eating a poisoned Balanchine Special Dark bar, Anya finds herself directly in the middle of the whole ordeal. Making matters worse is her budding relationship with the Assistant District Attorney's teenage son.
Gabrielle Zevin's All These Things I've Done is a truly unique twist on so many classic elements! Mob families, Romeo & Juliet, the challenges everyday teens face... all in a futuristic and slightly dystopian setting. I say slightly because although the government definitely has a big brother feel here, it's more an element of the setting rather than a major plot point thus far. Given the progression of the ADA's role in the story, I'd expect more government issues to come.
The narrator, Ilyana Kadushin, is a good choice here in my opinion. She sounds young and since Anya is the narrator, often breaking in to talk directly to the reader, Kadushin sounds right for the part. She also makes an effort to differentiate between characters "speaking" in the narrative, as well as male and female voices, and does this successfully for the most part.
All These Things I've Done is the first book in the Birthright series. It'll be interesting to see Anya's character progress. She's dealing with a lot in All These Things I've Done, including her anger and other issues that would be spoilers. All These Things is available now in hardcover and on audio. The paperback edition is due out May 8 and book two, Because It Is My Blood, is due out in September.