Monday, June 25, 2012
High School Pick: Because It Is My Blood
by Gabrielle Zevin
Farrar Straus Giroux
Available September 18, 2012 (expected publishing date)
Book page count and expected publication date from publisher's arc
In Book 2 of the Birthright series, Anya Balanchine finds herself just released from prison, the Liberty Children's Facility, and she's ready to become a model citizen. She wants to break the family mob ties to her uncle and their family's black market chocolate operation. She finds that much harder than she thought. When all the local high schools refuse her as a student due to her prison record and family background, Anya decides to travel to Mexico and learn more about the chocolate business from cocoa pod to black market chocolate bar. Things are not as quiet in Mexico as Anya expected and her heart is tested.
While she is away, she finds out that her family is in danger and she must leave Mexico immediately to save her little sister. Anya is still wounded from the fact that she's in love with Win, a boy she can never have. Win is still in love with her, too. Throughout the book, the reader keeps hoping they will be together for that "Romeo and Juliet" love story moment, but then things didn't turn out so right for Shakespeare's star-crossed duo either!
At home, Scarlet, Anya's bestie, is in love with Gable and even Win seems to have a new girlfriend. Try as she might, Anya cannot escape the pull of the mob and the corruption of her family and the "chocolate wars." It seems every friend has secrets and everyone wants a piece of the chocolate business. When her closest alliances come into question, she will have to decide who her real friends are. Who is the double agent? Who wants her dead?
All These Things I've Done (book 1) was compelling and complex but equally entertaining and exciting. Book 2, Because It Is My Blood , is not as taut and thrilling as book one. Anya is still one of the best and brightest heroines in young adult novels, but the storyline plodded along in places.
Readers of book one will want to read this book.
Highly recommended for fans of All These Things I've Done. Readers must read book one to understand Anya's story and background.
Grades 9-up. Mature situations, violence, mob violence, killings.
FTC Required Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.