Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Because It Is My Blood

Monday, September 17, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Because It Is My Blood

Review of Because It Is My Blood
by Gabrielle Zevin

To be published by FSG/Macmillan BYR
on September 18, 2012

Source: Received ARC from the publisher at BEA. Read my review policy/disclosure here.

Series report: Dive right in! Gabrielle Zevin ingeniously uses Anya's exit interview from the Liberty Children's facility to recap a few major plot points.

Spoiler-free summary of All These Things I've Done: It's 2083 in Manhattan. Coffee and chocolate are illegal and water is scarce. Anya Ballantine is a mafia princess -- her family manufactures and sells black market chocolate -- who looks after her brother, sister, and grandmother after her parents' deaths. A power struggle is brewing over control of the Balanchine empire, and Anya's stuck in the middle. Then Anya's ex-boyfriend is poisoned by a bar of Balanchine chocolate, and she's the prime suspect. All this complicates her growing attraction to Win Delacroix, son of the city's district attorney. Needless to say, neither of their families are very happy about the relationship.

Spoiler-free summary of Because It Is My Blood: Anya's just been released from juvie and is determined to put her life back together. That could be a bit of a problem. Her old high school doesn't want her back, and Win Delacroix seems to have found a new girlfriend while she was locked up. If that's not bad enough, strange "accidents" seem to be happening all around her. Anya is forced into hiding on a cacao plantation, where she'll learn more about the strange plant that is so much a part of her birthright, and also have time to reflect upon the part she needs -- and wants -- to play in the Balanchine empire.
"I regretted nothing."
My thoughts:  If I ever played matchmaker between two YA characters,  I would introduce Anya to Cassel Sharpe in the Curseworkers series by Holly Black. Both of them have had to grow up way too fast, both of them want to do the right thing, and neither of them ever seems to be able to get away from their close-knit but amoral families. Even if there wasn't a romantic spark between them, they could be great friends.

Anya's a fantastic female character: tough and wry and world-weary. "Poor me" just isn't in her vocabulary. Whatever the job is, she gets it done. I loved her deadpan humor, and her humorous asides to the reader.
"That was the thing about organized crime families -- you shouldn't bother getting too attached to anyone."
Win. He's not a big part of this book and I have mixed feelings about that. I recently pointed out that often in book two of a trilogy, the couple gets separated. Because It Is My Blood definitely follows that pattern. On the plus side, the story doesn't have to balance real plot developments with make-out sessions and stuff. Also on the plus side, Anya really gets a chance to grow as a person in this book. On the negative side, Anya felt a little bit adrift emotionally and geographically for a large stretch of the book.

Yes, I was also sad to see this book move away from Manhattan, but I like Anya enough to follow her wherever she want to go. The cacao plantation was interesting, though, and I gained a new appreciation for all the varied uses of the machete. Anya eventually does make it back to New York, where she makes a decision and a new alliance that will spin her life -- and this series -- into an interesting new direction.

Have you tried this series?

I'm giving away a paperback of All These Things I've Done. Open internationally.

Just enter in the Rafflecopter below! a Rafflecopter giveaway

35 comments:

  1. I haven't started reading this series yet. I really don't know much about it. Thank you for the review. BTW - I love The Curse Workers series and Cassel, so I think I will check out this series.

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    1. I really liked it -- if you like the Curseworkers, try it out!

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  2. This is one of the books which intrigue me the most now! I've read many positive reviews about it and yours definitely convinced me! Also, seeing that in Italy (my country) it will see the light in an undefined future, I think this is a really good chance. I cross my fingers, thanks a lot for this giveaway! :)

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  3. I loved the first book and I'm psyched about this one although disappointed to hear there isn't much Win as I loved him. Thanks for the review!

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  4. Any book based on chocoalte is a win for me!

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    1. I love the black market chocolate concept. Very cool!

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  5. I haven't read the first book in this series. It sounds really good and I have been meaning to, I just haven't gotten around to it. I am glad to see that you enjoyed the second book too!!

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    1. I did enjoy both of them and can't wait for the next!

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  6. I read the first book and felt kind of detached from the characters. I loved the premise and the plot was entertaining but I just didn't feel much for Anya or Win. But I totally agree with your assessment that Anya and Cassel Sharpe would be great pals!

    Btw, my temp blog is up until I can access my old blog. Here is the URL:
    http://theflyleafreview2.blogspot.com/

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    1. Anya is kind of a tough girl, but I like characters like that!

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  7. I really enjoyed the first and am looking forward to this, thanks for the chance. I loved Win and even though he may not be in this as much as Id like I still cant wait to find out what happens.

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    1. Don't worry -- he's there! I just wanted to see him more!

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  8. Really nice review. Ive seen the first one in my B&N but havnt gotten around to buying it. Your review pulls me a little closer but right now I need to finish my others lol! Thanks for the giveaway as well ;)

    Haley@www.passingthepages.blogspot.com

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  9. I'm still mad at myself for not reading the first book yet! Quick, I need a time-turner and a pot of Gevalia coffee, stat!

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  10. This series never really grabbed me. For some reason I don't feel a sense of urgency.

    I wasn't a fan of the Win situation either. They barely got to know each other in the first book so I didn't really see the need to tear them apart already.

    I liked it but not as much as I would have hoped. I'll probably still read the third book anyway just so I know what happens lol

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  11. I saw All These Things I've Done at the library and was always attracted to the cover but have never gotten around to reading it. Then I saw Because It Is My Blood on order at the library and loved the title and knew I needed to hope on this series. Now you are giving away the 1st book! I love the idea of indulgences become illegal and the mafia. Thanks for the spoiler free review and giveaway!

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    1. This is a new cover -- the old one was very simple. I'm still deciding how I feel about it. In the book, I'm pretty sure Anya has all this wild hair, and this girl has a razor-sharp bob.

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  12. Wow, this book sounds really interesting! I haven't read the first one yet, so thank you for the giveaway! But based from what you wrote, I think I'm gonna like Anya... I mean, Cassel is my absolute favorite con artist, so if you think they might be perfect together, then I must "meet" Anya! :)

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    1. I definitely see parallels between the two characters. This is more of a dystopian than a paranormal, but check Anya out for sure!

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  13. I have not tried this series. I'm still stuck on coffee & chocolate being illegal. If this is the future, I'm hoarding, starting right now.

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  14. Man...I told myself I wasn't going to read further in this series because I just didn't enjoy the first book all that much. But you're making me reconsider...just a little, though. :)

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    1. Boo! This one has a different feel. Check it out!!!

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  15. I just started All These Things I've Done so due to my spoiler phobia I have not read your review. So I hoped you liked it because I hope to read it soon :)

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    1. Okay, I'm sure you aren't reading this then. But I can't wait to hear what you think!

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  16. Cassel is way too good for Anya, but I'll admit there are similarities. Anya annoyed me in the first book, but I'm curious about where this second book is going.

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    1. Really? Well, I think Cassel needs to get over Lila, because that's one effed up relationship. I think he and Anya could be a great couple.

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  17. I was just looking at this series the other day (which I only discovered because of #2's release) It sounds very interesting! Crime organizations and *shudder* coffee and chocolate being illegal?!

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  18. Gah! I can't wait for the next one. Something about Birthright trilogy is addicting. Here's mine if you don't mind: http://lorxiebookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/02/because-it-is-my-blood-by-gabrielle.html

    Thanks and have a nice day! :)

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  19. Great pick! I definitely need to pull All These Things I've Done from the reading pile soon. I'm definitely adding this one to my must-read list. Thanks for sharing.

    regards,
    charmaine of Plumber Burien

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