The year is 2083 and chocolate and coffee are illegal. The Balanchine family is one of the five leading chocolate families and produces some of the best quality chocolate in the world. Chocolate and coffee are two of the most sought after items on the black market and where the black market runs rampant – organized crime is usually present as well. The Balanchines control the OC in this future New York City.
Anya Balanchine is the daughter of the city’s most notorious crime boss. Since his death, when she was 9-years-old, Anya has had more responsibility than she should have. She has to assist in the care of her dying grandmother, her little sister, and her mentally challenged older brother. Her main goal is to keep what is left of her family safe and the only way she can think to do that is to keep clear of the family business.
This becomes the most difficult thing ever when her ex-boyfriend is poisoned by some Balanchine chocolate that she gave him from her family’s secret stash. In addition to the stress from the unwanted publicity from the tainted chocolate, Anya also has to deal with her growing feelings for the son of the new assistant district attorney – a difficult relationship since their families are on the separate sides of the law. Anya has a lot on her plate and it is hard for her to always do the right thing – especially if she is trying to be a “good Catholic girl.”
ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE is a fascinating look at an alternate reality. What if chocolate and coffee were illegal and alcohol were available to all ages? What if paper were in such short supply that “real” books are very rare and you can’t have any unless you have a permit. Water is in such short supply that taking a shower of more than a few seconds is almost too expensive and, really strange, cells phone with cameras are illegal.
I listened to ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE on audio and thought it was a wonderful option for this book. The narrator does an excellent job portraying the different characters and accents needed for the story. The only problem in the audio was the fact that the narrator pronounced the assistant district attorney’s last name (Delacroix) one way through the first half of the book and then changed her pronunciation the second part of the book. It isn’t a big deal, but it did distract me sometimes.
MacMillan audio will be giving away a copy of the audio to one of my blog readers. Be looking for the Giveaway post tomorrow.