YA Fiction

All These Things I’ve Done, by Gabrielle Zevin

Actual Rating: 2.5 stars

“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.”

When I had first read the synopsis for this book, I was thrilled and super excited. Let’s just say I was very disappointed at the end result.

The first problem was the world-building. In the summary, there is so much build-up of the mafia and crime in their city, but none of this was actually shown. There was no explanation of why chocolate and coffee were banned, and also no explanation of why they were banned instead of alcohol, which I found thoroughly crazy. This world could have been really interesting, if it made sense. The lack of explanation is essentially what made the world “lame”.

The writing surprised me; usually when you read a science-fiction or a fantasy novel, you would expect somewhat deep and lyrical writing, but All These Things was very straightforward and to-the-point. I can’t say I enjoyed this, but it was a little easier to understand, I suppose.

The characters can only be described as…meh. Each one of them lacked depth except for Anya, whom I actually liked. Anya was practical, logical, and very wise. I loved how she was determined to take care of her siblings, and how she didn’t lose her mind after a boy came into her life. Although her “Daddy said this” and “Daddy said that” notion was annoying, I would consider her a breath of fresh air from other YA heroines. I found Win to be quite boring and redundant. He was funny at the beginning, but it didn’t stick. There was nothing wrong with the other characters, but they just needed a push, something to make them stick out. I didn’t find them very different from any other characters I had read about.

The story started out great at the beginning, but eventually became dry and detached. There was nothing special about it that had me on the edge of my seat.

Overall, a great premise ruined on a boring story. I don’t know who I could recommend this to, but I suggest checking out some other dystopias.

This can also be found on my Goodreads here.



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