An impossible romance,
a family living
outside the law,
and the ties that
forever bind us.
In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidentally poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.
I really enjoyed Zevin's past book Elsewhere so I was looking forward to this one. I wasn't sure if the mafia topic would interest me but I was pleasantly surprised. The author seems to make any topic interesting and has mixed together an unusual and original combination. Her writing style is so good that the story easily flows. While it is a dystopian novel it is more believable than some books. Society has changed but it is still recognizable from our time.
The characters are flawed but human. No one is all good or all bad and relationships change in a realistic fashion. Although Anya is only sixteen her circumstances have matured her quickly but again it's believable. She has developed into this person and wasn't instantly transformed. She was taught many lessons, especially from her father and grandmother, to prepare her for this life and it's challenges. Now she has many responsibilities, including the care of her brother and sister, and she will do what she must to protect them at the expense of her own life. Although she attempts to enjoy a few normal teen activities they don't always go as planned. As heavy as Anya's burdens already are it feels like there may soon be more to come from her mafia family. I will be reading the next book in this trilogy to find out.
Thank you to Macmillan for an ARC of this book in exchange for my review.
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
Release date: 9/27/11
Type: young adult