In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”


My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Monday, February 27, 2012

ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE by Gabrielle Zevin



copyright date: September 2011
primarily marketed for: young adults (8th grade and up)


I wish I would’ve known this was the beginning of a series before I started this book.  Then again, I might never have picked it up if I thought I might be committing to multiple books…

At any rate, this is not a story I will be sad to return to this fall when the sequel is released. 

Anya’s story takes place in New York City, in the future.  Around the time you will be old enough to be grandparents. This is a sort of post-apocalyptic, dystopian kind of book in a mild way.  Basically, the United States has self-destructed, and yet life seems to go surprisingly similar to the way we live nowadays.  Except that water and paper are costly and hard to come by.  Chocolate is prohibited.  Caffeine is an illegal drug.  Which is all to say that the setting alone is intriguing.

Add to that setting, the fact that Anya is the oldest daughter of the biggest mafia boss, and you’ve got a great story.  Anya’s parents were both murdered by mobsters and she is left to care for her older brother Leo, who suffered brain damage in a terrible accident, and her younger sister Natty.  Anya’s only support system is the grandmother being kept alive by life support and the nurse who cares for her.  The rest of the family cannot always be trusted.

Mix with Anya’s already complicated life story a romance between Anya, member of a family connected with criminal activity, and Win, son of the future District Attorney, and you have an incredible story you won’t want to end. 

Lucky for you it doesn’t!  When I neared the last pages, I was just starting to enjoy that Anya had figured out some of the people she could truly trust and some of the people who she should have been more suspicious of all along.  Then it occurred to me that the action was still too thick to be resolved in so few pages.  This could only mean one thing: a sequel!

Although, I was frustrated to not have Anya’s story neatly tied up at the end for good (only temporarily), I will be happy to return to Anya’s world to continue to follow her journey. 

Anya’s world is definitely a place I think some of you would enjoy.  If you enjoy the intrigue of the mafia lifestyle, Romeo and Juliet star-crossed lover romances, or complex mysteries, this is the book (well, series) for you!

3 comments:

  1. Hadn't heard about the sequel in the fall! My students will be sooooo excited. (Of course, if they would let me have the library copy I could finally read it!)

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  2. Christy, finally had some bit of time to read these recent few reviews. You are adding to my YA list every time. Thanks for sharing all this with us. The books do sound worth reading & some I've not heard about. See you tomorrow!

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  3. I'm a new fan of your website and happy to find it. I find myself rejoicing when I read a stand-alone book since there are so many series these days. Still, I will be checking out the sequel to this one when it comes out, particularly for more scenes with her Japanese friend!

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