Rating: 4.5 TBLs
In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city’s most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.’s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she’s to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight—at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family. (this and photo via Goodreads)
This book was recommended to me by a teen librarian at Cambridge Public Library. It was so fun to chat with her and get some new recommendations!
I took this book with me to Panama and it was such a great poolside read. A bit dark, a bit seedy, but with a very clear narrative voice and a really interesting plot! I loved Anya as the main protagonist. Her devotion to her family was well done, and you could feel her love for them as well as her guilt. The twists and turns of the book were engaging, and I found myself totally wrapped up in what was happening. My friend had to say my name several times to get my attention while I was reading.
My favorite part of this book was the way Anya’s religion and sense of duty governed her actions. Zevin did a great job of making Anya relate-able, and not a caricature. Also, even though I’m someone who generally doesn’t give religion much of a thought, the incorporation of Catholicism in this book actually added to it’s depth, and I didn’t feel like I was being bashed over the head with it like with other books I’ve read.
Leo, Anya’s brother, was the most interesting minor character, and I loved his relationship with Anya. He also played a major part in the climax of the book, which I totally didn’t see coming. It was awesome.
The love story was a little trite, but it wasn’t the major plot line of the book, more like the second major plot line. Anya and Win as a couple didn’t overwhelm me, but I certainly wasn’t opposed to it. I just found the criminal underworld plot line more interesting.
8/10, would definitely read again. And I’ll be picking up the second book in the series this weekend, hopefully.