Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publication: October 29, 2013
By: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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4.5 Balanchine Dark Chocolate Bars!
All These Things I’ve Done,
the first novel in the Birthright series, introduced us to timeless
heroine Anya Balanchine, a plucky sixteen year old with the heart of a
girl and the responsibilities of a grown woman. Now eighteen, life has
been more bitter than sweet for Anya. She has lost her parents and her
grandmother, and has spent the better part of her high school years in
trouble with the law. Perhaps hardest of all, her decision to open a
nightclub with her old nemesis Charles Delacroix has cost Anya her
relationship with Win.
Still, it is Anya’s nature to soldier on.
She puts the loss of Win behind her and focuses on her work. Against the
odds, the nightclub becomes an enormous success, and Anya feels like
she is on her way and that nothing will ever go wrong for her again. But
after a terrible misjudgment leaves Anya fighting for her life, she is
forced to reckon with her choices and to let people help her for the
first time in her life.
In the Age of Love and Chocolate is
the story of growing up and learning what love really is. It showcases
the best of Gabrielle Zevin’s writing for young adults: the intricate
characterization of Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac and the big-heartedness of Elsewhere. It will make you remember why you loved her writing in the first place.
Thank you Ksenia Winnicki for providing me with a finished copy for review! Thank you Gabrielle Zevin for such a wonderful end to this series!!
What I Loved: I have to say that I was afraid of how this would end. Like, legit scared I would end up in a corner somewhere mumbling about chocolate and coffee, which is why, I did something I rarely do - I read the last chapter first. Once I saw how it all ends I was able to take a breath and start at the beginning.
This is one of the best final books I've read this year. The character development is so good you feel as if you've taken this journey right along with them, especially Anya. We've seen her grow and mature over the course of three books and this one spans several years making her story feel that much more real.
Her struggles to make the right choices (the first time, all the time) for both herself as well as her family was often difficult to watch. She's so stubborn but she's also selfless, regularly putting the best interest and wants of others before her own. Her relationship with Win Delacriox matures too, and even though they spend the majority of this book separated by distance and circumstances, their emotional connection is always there. Their text messages were some of my favorite parts. I literally "LOL'd". The scene with the strawberries was one of the most heart-achingly beautiful things I've read! *clutches chest*
Anya finally learns it's okay to ask for help and to let yourself be loved and the ending was perfect.
What Left Me Wanting More: The only thing that could've made me happier (which is not the same as making the book better) is if Win Delacroix had been worked into every single scene. ;)
Final Verdict: Great end this series!
Favorite quote(s): "Because if you love someone, you love them all the way. You love them even when they make mistakes. That's what I think."
"So I will wait, because I would rather wait for you than waste my time with someone who isn't you."
Review also posted at YABC.