Star Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: That ending was just…not acceptable. Book 2, please.
Published on/by: March 29th 2012 by Pan Macmillan (first published September 6th 2011)
Page Count: 352 pages
Synopsis provided by Goodreads:
Sixteen year-old Anya becomes the head of a mafia family after her parents are both murdered by rival gangs. Although Anya is embroiled in the criminal world, she is determined to keep her brother and sister out of the mafia family, but her father’s relatives aren’t so keen to let them go. When Anya’s violent ex-boyfriend is poisoned with contaminated chocolate – chocolate that is produced illegally by Anya’s mafia family – she is arrested for attempted murder and sent to the notorious jail on Manhattan Island.
Eventually she is freed by the new D.A. in town, who believes she has been framed. But this D.A. is the father of Win, a boy at school to whom Anya feels irresistibly drawn, and her freedom comes with conditions. Win’s father wants to be mayor, and he can’t risk having his ambition jeopardized by rumors spreading that his son is seeing a member of a notorious crime family. Anya knows she risks the safety of her family by seeing Win again, but the feeling between them may be too strong to resist…
Oh god. First book I’ve finished in MONTHS (followed by Midwinterblood), and although it took me a while to get through it (reasons: school, just didn’t feel like reading, etc) I actually really enjoyed it. It was, for lack of better words, unlike anything I’ve ever read. I loved the Mafia daughter theme this book had as well as the voice. Anya was a great character and the setting (a 2083 New York) was kind of peculiar but interesting at the same time too.
Reading the blurb of this book; I was prepared for the worst romance ever. The blurb made me anticipate something SO cheesy and THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why this book has been on my shelf for THREE years. Glad to say that the book was most definitely not the blurb as it had more than just high school romance like Mafia family politics (which I honestly expected to have more blood), and was, as a result, definitely not that cheesy.
The main character, Anya, was a great character. She was level-headed and not at all a Mary Sue and I think her voice was the strongest aspect of this book. (And I have to say; I LOVED the love interest, Win. Swoon, ok? Ok.) However, I felt like the book had a lot of plot holes and unanswered questions. Judging from the various italicised comments throughout the book, it’s easy to see that Zevin aimed for this book to be told in a journal-ish form (which I liked) but at the same time I felt like it didn’t really hold up and seemed very out of place. I also felt like after the 40% mark of the book, it got a little messy and aimless and I found myself WAITING for some action, and alas there was none… until the last 10% of the book (which I enjoyed thoroughly). Another thing that kind of irked me was how painfully obvious some mysteries were revolving the tainted chocolate and Leo’s involvement with The Pool. For a smart and resourceful girl like Anya, I would have thought she could put two and two together much quicker than she actually did.
Overall, it wasn’t a perfect read, but it was an enjoyable one. Definitely picking up the second book because there are SOOOOO many things I want to know, especially after that sad (but O.O) cliffhanger. TO THE BOOKSTORE, I GO!
PS. The story takes place in 2083, and Anya’s dying grandmother was born in 1995. Countless of times I’ve imagined myself as poor ole Galina, bedridden and on life support. *shudders*