All These Things I’ve Done, the first novel in the Birthright series, introduced us to timeless heroine Anya Balanchine, a plucky sixteen year old with the heart of a girl and the responsibilities of a grown woman. Now eighteen, life has been more bitter than sweet for Anya. She has lost her parents and her grandmother, and has spent the better part of her high school years in trouble with the law. Perhaps hardest of all, her decision to open a nightclub with her old nemesis Charles Delacroix has cost Anya her relationship with Win.
Still, it is Anya’s nature to soldier on. She puts the loss of Win behind her and focuses on her work. Against the odds, the nightclub becomes an enormous success, and Anya feels like she is on her way and that nothing will ever go wrong for her again. But after a terrible misjudgment leaves Anya fighting for her life, she is forced to reckon with her choices and to let people help her for the first time in her life.
In the Age of Love and Chocolate is the story of growing up and learning what love really is. It showcases the best of Gabrielle Zevin’s writing for young adults: the intricate characterization of Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac and the big-heartedness of Elsewhere. It will make you remember why you loved her writing in the first place. (from GoodReads)
First off, I can't get over the titles of this trilogy. All the titles together form one long sentence which I absolutely love. All These Things I've Done Because it is my Blood in the Age of Love and Chocolate. It has an awesome ring to it!!!
I feel like this trilogy is very understated. Not that many people talk about it and even the story isn't super flashy or thrilling. But it's such an interesting and fun trilogy. Anya is one of my favorite characters in YA literature because she's so strong and smart. For goodness sakes, she's practically the head of crime family and I just love that. YA needs more heroines that aren't afraid to get their hands dirty. Even though Anya isn't the most innocent person out there, she has a good heart and does things for the right reasons. She loves her family and it's so easy to see that in the book. Not because she says it a lot but because the author shows us through Anya's actions.
I also like that romance isn't the central point of the series. It's important and Anya's relationship with Win goes through many ups and downs but Anya doesn't need a guy in her life. She does great things alone and recognizes the fact that she needs to be single in order find herself and to do the things she wants to do. In many books the romance is the most compelling part because there's not much else going on. But in In the Age of Love and Chocolate, Anya setting up the chocolate clubs and dealing with her mob family take precedence and allows the story to actually develop.
I just really really enjoyed the Birthright trilogy and I hope everyone picks up this conclusion to an amazing series.
Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library.
2013/Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux/286 pages.