Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 354
My Rating: 4/5
In 2083, chocolate and caffeine are illegal, paper is practically non-existent and many places we know of today are in ruins. Anya's father used to be a notorious crime boss (who is now deceased), so people judge her for her background. With her sick grandmother and her two siblings to take care of, it's hard to try to juggle life as is along with school work and relationship problems.
When Anya's ex-boyfriend, Gable, gets poisoned and nearly dies from the chocolate she gave him, the police thinks she is the culprit. Unable to get away from it all, the attention is now all on her.
Never have I read a novel where I found three characters, THREE, that I could totally see myself in. Usually the main character is the easiest to relate to (unless it's written in first person but different POVs). First, I want to start off with Anya's best friend, Scarlet. Scarlet is a hopeless romantic who has crushes on guys really easily. It was hilarious to read (for me personally) because it was the first time I have seen a character with this personality since I am exactly the same. But then you have Anya who is a complete realist. Anya and Win (the obvious boy interest) admit to liking each other but Anya understands that with her situation, she is unable to date Win because his father is the new assistant DA's son. Win likes Anya but is not the kind of guy to relentlessly pursue if she clearly is not interested. I have never had any favourite quotes from the books I've read before but here is one from Win:
"Yes, because if you don't like me, I'll stop bothering you," Win said. "I'm not the type of person to linger where I'm unwanted." - page 176
I very much saw myself in this quote because I know that even if I like a guy and I told him but he is not interested, I'll back off. I'll still be friends if he wants but I'm not going to do anything to further the relationship. It's refreshing to read that the male character won't go through that cliche plot of trying to chase down the girl.
Story-wise, I thought there was going to be a lot more action considering there is the mafia involved. Instead, it mainly focuses on Anya's everyday life, some of which gets really complicated but nothing with car chases or things blowing up (action movies much?). It is written with a steady pace and plenty of character development, just not a lot of bang as expected.
Overall, a nice read with tons of great characters. It's great for anyone who wants to read with a future setting but none of the dystopia or robotic futuristic feel. It's definitely something different (though I still can't understand the logic of banning caffeine and chocolate). I will close this review with another favourite quote from the book:
"...You can either be a bystander who lives his life in reaction to the decisions that others make, or you can be the leader who is making those decisions." - page 281
Review copy provided by Macmillan.