Genre: Teen, dystopian, crime, mafia, realistic, fiction
Rating: 4/5 stars
Sentence: I sentence Gabrielle Zevin to life of eating chocolate without getting fat. :)
Review: Now, this book may be shaped like a chocolate bar waiting to be unwrapped from it's dust cover (wrapper), but it's not exactly the milk chocolate-y sweetness I expected. Instead, I had bitten into something quite bittersweet; the kind that should be saved for baking only.
In other words, this book is not quite...done, nor is it a happy love story of epic proportions. That is not to say it isn't a fantastic read, however. I've been waiting for a Dystopian teen story like this. I mean, sure, it's got the typical and silly romance, but Zevin acknowledges something bigger than that. In the background of Anya's hectic and criminally-tainted life (her father was like a criminal boss, except the illegal item he was dealing with was chocolate), the reader sees glimpses of a ruined country, overrun by the corrupt. There is a lack of water; museums have become clubs; alcohol is legal for all ages; authorities and politics are corrupt (more so than in the present, haha). It's like future Gotham City (except it's NYC), but realistic and without Batman.
Anya is desperate to keep her younger sister and her older, damaged brother safe from the tragedy of her birthright. A birthright she fights with every last fiber of her being. It probably doesn't help that her family's chocolate has been poisoned and people are dying. Not only does she have to deal with accusations of purposely poisoning her ex-boyfriend, but her brother has decided to work for the very family she has been protecting him from: her own.
This read is very reminiscent of Holly Black's Curse Workers trilogy, except without the magic. Zevin has created a great world of her own, without the aid of any fancy tricks or crazy-worldwide rebellions. She has created something I can believe and appreciate; especially the reason why things are the way they are.
I cannot wait to read the rest of this series.