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I Belong


Review: In the Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle Zevin

In the Age of Love and ChocolateTitle: In the Age of Love and Chocolate

Author: Gabrielle Zevin

Genre: YA Dystopian

Series: Birthright (Book #3)

Publication Date: October 29, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 286 Pages

ISBN-10: 0374380759 (Macmillan)

ISBN-13: 978-0374380755 (Macmillan)

Reviewed by: Roxanne

Synopsis:

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 ofElsewhere. It will make you remember why you loved her writing in the first place.

Quick & DirtyChocolate wars, love and death in the Age of Love and Chocolate!

Opening Sentence: “I hadn’t wanted to be a Godmother, but my best friend insisted.”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Anya is back in the last book of the Birthright trilogy, and she is making moves to open her club, The Dark Room and to legalize some aspect of chocolate so that she can take care of her family! Wyn still refuses to understand or get over the choices she made in the second book. However, Anya sweeps into adulthood with her decisions and choices in this book. Anya faces sabotage while opening her club, she garners new business partners and makes even more difficult decisions. In the end, it all comes full circle!

Usually I talk a bit more about what happens in a book, but I just have so much to rave about in this review that I decided to keep that part short and just focus on the why I love this book! I really enjoyed the first book and to be honest I didn’t quite get why the series was called Birthright other than they talk a lot about her being a Balachine, but a main part of the first book was Wyn and he was a huge focus in book 2 as well. Honestly, I loved them in the first book. I was so rooting for that relationship, but by book 2 I was so over them and I felt like instead of focusing on chocolate and the birthright aspect of this series, we got a whole lot of Wyn and Anya and I was not happy. However, this book brought it full circle. It would be a spoiler to give what happens away but I will say that I was back on board with the romance in this book.

Oh yes, I didn’t say it was Wyn. I guess you will have to read and find out. My favorite thing about this series is Scarlet and Anya. I adore that friendship, in fact I think I envy that friendship! Scarlet is such a great friend and finally things start to go right for her. My second favorite thing in this series is Anya and her family! I love the relationship she has with Leo and Netty, and even Mr. Kipling. This book finally brought the birthright aspect home and nailed it. I finally felt that Anya got it and not only did she embrace and help her family, she was embraced in turn by them and it was amazing.

I will complain that certain aspects kind of felt unresolved, however that didn’t diminish my love of this book! Anya spent a lot of the first two books with bad things happening to her out of her control and just trying to do the best she could to fix and contain the situations, but in this book even when things happened she was still in charge and it was a thing of beauty to see her grow and change into a capable, intelligent, and loving adult! Bonus, I actually adored her relationship with Charles Delacroix. It was another full circle in the series.

This is was a great change from the normal dystopian. There wasn’t some evil government oppressing everyone, it was just simply illegal to drink coffee or eat chocolate. So refreshing and different! If you haven’t read this series, start with book 1, you won’t regret it. Anya is one of my favorite main characters of all time.

Notable Scene:

“Pip Balachine continued. “We ask you today what we should have asked you two years ago. Anya, will you lead the Balachine Family into the twenty-second century?”

I did not want to lead this family.

And yet…

As I looked down the long stone table at the pasty complexions and light eyes that recalled my father’s, my brother’s, and my own, and unfamiliar feeling began to stir within me.

Obligation.

I felt and obligation to those men (and women though mainly there were men) that I had been born a Balachine had been the defining circumstance of my life.”

Birthright Series:

1. All These Things I’ve Done

2. Because It is my Blood

3. In the Age of Love and Chocolate

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FTC Advisory: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)/Macmillan provided me with a copy of In the Age of Love and Chocolate. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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