Monday, May 6, 2013

Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin

The blurb:

Since her release from Liberty Children's Facility, Anya Balachine is determined to follow the straight and narrow.  Unfortunately, her criminal record and mafiya family are  making it hard for her to do that.  And when old friends return demanding that certain debts be paid, Anya is forced right back into the world that she had been seeking to escape.  It's a journey that will take her across the ocean to the birthplace of chocolate, where her resolve -- and her heart -- will be tested as never before.

I worry sometimes that I'm too enthusiastic about the books I review.  There are some books that I skim over and am not that fond of - I often opt not to review them as I'd much prefer to spread the word about books that I believe give a good return on the time spent.  I've been told that I should write a bit more about these books, if only to show that I am able to discern the good from the bad.

But this time, yet again, I have to enthusiastically recommend the second book in the Balachine novels, Because It Is My Blood. 

The book is set in the future and it follows the story of Anya Balanchine and her family after her brother has escaped to Japan to avoid incarceration.  Anya has survived her stint the NY juvenile facility but finds her future uncertain.  She has been expelled from her old school before her senior year.  Her best friend is pregnant with her ex-boyfriend's child.  Her love and other ex-boyfriend has moved on despite his vows of eternal love.  

Anya faces these heartbreaking problems with humor and spirit. Her resilience and grit -those characteristics that had us cheering for her in the earlier novel All These Things I've Done - are back in spades and we find ourselves hoping that Anya beats the odds yet again.  This time, she faces larger grown up problems - the loss of her guardian, the threat of assassination, the possible loss of whatever is left of her family. 

ISBN-10: 9780374380748 - Hardcover $14.00
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (September 18, 2012), 368 pages. 
Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

About the Author:
Gabrielle Zevin is the author of many acclaimed books, including All These Things I've Done and Elsewhere. She lives in New York City.

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