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All These Things I've Done  - Gabrielle Zevin There aren’t many novels set in the future that read as a contemporary; as if your reading the present. All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Evans achieves this and at no time did I contemplate if the dystopia (or, rather utopia?) world such as the one that Gabrielle had imagined, would or would not happen in the [near] future. I took and accepted the society as it was given to me. Many have been commenting on the fact that they wanted to learn more about how and why chocolate and coffee in this foreseeable future are illegal as well as the issues to do with alcohol. For me, I felt so connected and absorbed in Anya’s story that I had no reason to question those sorts of things. I went through the events in All These Things I’ve Done as Anya did, and that is what made this novel such a joy to read. I didn’t rush through it – I couldn’t rush through it. It’s not because it was slow . . . no, heck no! It was just captivating.Anya’s parents have been killed: murdered purposefully (her father) and accidentally (her mother). Therefore Anya has the role and responsibility of looking after her intellectually disabled older brother Leo, her adorable sister Natty, and their ailing grandmother Galina. It’s not that having deceased parents is a burden and made her young life become arduous, but rather that her father was a criminal who headed the back market trade for and produced the illegal Balanchine chocolate. And because of her family’s background, being frowned upon by others or convicted for the attempted murder of her abusive ex-boyfriend, is nothing completely new; she’s used to it. Falling in love with the District Attorney’s son Win however, is something new to her all together. What must she do now to keep this relationship undiscovered whilst also trying to keep her family together and safe from her disruptive relatives? At this same time, Anya must attend to other things too without losing herself completely. And what makes her even more loveable is that she doesn’t pity herself because of all these things she’s done and all those things that have happened. The fact that the society is governed by so many laws and restrictions is the real reason and trigger for the canon of events that occurs in Anya’s life and in the book.Gabrielle Zevin has used many narrative techniques and devices so cleverly that they separate All These Things I’ve Done from many – rather all – other novels. Each chapter is titled with what Anya does (which is why the book is called what it is) and although you know basically what happens within that chapter, you just want to keep reading and learn the finer details of why and how these things happen. It doesn’t deter you but engages you. Also in Anya’s narration, we are spoken to directly a few times which further engages us as a reader. And this isn’t a technique or device, but the inclusion of Japan in the plot just makes me love Gabrielle even more. Although I said that it felt more contemporary than futuristic, Gabrielle has provided a character for us as beings of 2011 and today’s real world to physically resemble and mirror as we may see where we could be in seventy years time. Anya’s grandmother Galina is the figure that would most resemble us. This is seen when at one point she gets excited and says, ‘OMG! Do you know what OMG stands for?’ This resemblance is definitely achieved.All These Things I’ve Done is a great start to what I predict will be an exceptionally spectacular trilogy from an exceptionally talented writer. Gabrielle’s prose is alluring and I will be back for more of her novels. And with that, I’m looking forward to where Gabrielle Zevin will take Anya and the enjoyable cast of characters next. This novel features an engrossing plot which I am sure you will find yourself stocking your cellar, pantry, safe, or house shortly after with chocolate and coffee, filled from floor to ceiling so you don’t run out or find yourself racing into depression, without them in the future.