Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

All These Things I've Done

All These Things I've Done - Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker.So there's this book here, All These Things I've Done. In it, chocolate is illegal, water is heavily rationed, you can hardly find paper anymore, and new clothes haven't been made in decades. The world has gone to hell in a handbasket, pretty much. Our main character is a mafiya princess whose father ran it before he was murdered. With both of her parents dead, she takes care of her brother, sister, and dying grandmother. The new DA's son has a crush on her and she might like him back, but then her ex-boyfriend gets poisoned and she's arrested for it, then sent to a juvenile detention facility located in the Statue of Liberty. Upon her release, all eyes are on her and she can't escape the spotlight that comes with her family name.That sounds interesting right? You would be surprised at exactly how boring it is when you're reading the book yourself. Anya and the other characters lack depth and miss all of the many opportunities to throw it into the story. How does Anya really feel? Her parents were both dead by the time she was nine and she had to grow up quickly to take care of her grandmother, her brain-damaged brother Leo, and her little sister Natty. Are there no feelings there of resentment or anger for having to do that? No, it wouldn't be right for her to feel that way toward her family because they can't control it, but it would make Anya more human. People who have been in that situation and even the people who haven't will know she doesn't really mean it and empathize with her. It's a classic move, but nothing of the sort ever happen. They're all flat as can be.Nothing happens. Really. The ex-boyfriend doesn't get poisoned until about page 100 (inciting incidents need to happen more quickly than that, as I've said on the DNF review of another book) and even that didn't get me very excited. It's all about Anya hanging with Scarlet and Win or talking to her brother Leo or being with her family and I wanted more to be going on. Slow-builder? There is a limit on how slowly a book should be building. This was too slow.And my biggest complaint: What's the point?The book is marketed as a dystopian. This may just be me, but I think one qualifier for being called a dystopian is that it has a point and is trying to say something. If there is none, it's not a proper dystopian. All These Things I've Done just floats along for half the book without depth or a point or anything. It's so forgettable despite its promising premise.This is going to be found unhelpful or unreliable because I didn't finish it. I know that and frankly, I don't care. By the halfpoint, things should be happening and I should find at least one little piece I like, but nothing was happening and I was totally disinterested. Good books are good from start to finish; a reader shouldn't be forced to wade through a mediocre or bad first half to get to an amazing second half and if they do, it's a flaw of the book. It doesn't excuse a book's sleep-inducing qualities to say that it's doing set-up work for the good stuff. We should have already been at the good stuff with the set-up work being deftly weaved in.So in short, a pointless, boring book that wasted an interesting premise and spent less time on the plot and more on the drama: that is All These Things I've Done in a nutshell and this is why I couldn't finish it. I tried because I hate leaving books unfinished (it's bad for me in the long run, you see; I will want to know how it ended but I never will and that drives me nuts), but I have better books waiting for me.One my best best friends and I bought this book as a gift for another best friend who describes herself as a chocoholic. It was a very special birthday and she needed a good gag gift like that, especially after her dramatic reaction to it when she first heard of it. I now feel bad for buying it for her because it means I gave my friend a boring book.