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I Belong

Review: Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin

Title: Because It Is My Blood

Author: Gabrielle Zevin

Genre: YA Dystopian

Series: Birthright (Book 2)

Publication Date: September 18, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 0374380740 (MacTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0374380748 (MacTeen)

Reviewed by: Kayla


“Every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in.”- Michael Corleone, The Godfather

Since her release from Liberty Children’s Facility, Anya Balanchine is determined to follow the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, her criminal record is making it hard for her to do that. No high school wants her with a gun possession charge on her rap sheet. Plus, all the people in her life have moved on: Natty has skipped two grades at Holy Trinity, Scarlet and Gable seem closer than ever, and even Win is in a new relationship.But when old friends return demanding that certain debts be paid, Anya is thrown right back into the criminal world that she had been determined to escape. It’s a journey that will take her across the ocean and straight into the heart of the birthplace of chocolate where her resolve–and her heart–will be tested as never before.

Quick & Dirty: A girl tries hard to get out of the family business, but it keeps pulling her family back in. For fans of Ally Carter’s Heist Society.

Opening Sentence: “Come in Anya, have a seat. We find ourselves in the midst of a situation,” Evelyn Cobrawick greeted me, parting her painted red lips to reveal a cheerful sliver of yellow tooth.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Anya thought that once she got out of Liberty Children’s Facility she would be able to put the past behind her and move on with her life – separate from the Balanchine family business…and Win. But really, it’s for the better, or at least that’s what she keeps telling herself. But when a picture of Win and her holding hands hits the newspaper, Win’s father’s wrath comes down, especially with the election for the new DA growing closer. But Win’s father isn’t the only one after her. A new force is taking hold of the chocolate company – and they have set their sights on Anya. Fleeing to the birthplace of chocolate, Anya creates a new life in the country, but her old life is still waiting for her to come back. New events twist her arm behind her back until the only thing left to do is face the enemy. As if graduating high school is hard enough.

I’m not quite sure what to think of this book. Don’t get me wrong – I loved the plot and the characters to death – but was it as good as the first? I think the jury’s still out. As far as writing goes, Zevin’s voice is still utterly hilarious and witty. Just not as creative and witty as the first book. There weren’t as many scenes with witty banter as the first, and “Daddy’s sayings” were scarce. But I see why. Anya is growing and learning on her own throughout this book, and Daddy’s sayings wouldn’t help in her situations. But I still miss them.

While the first book was mainly an introduction to the chocolate family arc and the romance arc between Win and Anya, the second book is all about Anya and her family. Anya develops so much through this book as she learns more and more about chocolate and her family. She’s a very strong-headed girl with a concrete back-bone and witty remarks. She’s similar to Kat from Heist Society by Ally Carter – she’s trying to escape her family business, but it keeps pulling her back in. Anya’s relationships with her friends and family are dynamic and complex. In this book, the romance isn’t the number one arc, but don’t worry there’s enough to satisfy. I appreciate Zevin for not using the “misunderstanding” arc throughout the whole book. And the creation of a new arc between Win and Anya will throw you…It definitely threw me across the country and back.

If you loved the first book, I’m positive you will love the second. It is full of character development and action scenes (and even a scene where someone’s hand is cut off!) but beware! MAJOR cliffhanger alert! Only another year to wait for the next one…

Notable Scene:

Natty and I got on the bus with our parcels. “Why Alison Wheeler?” Natty asked after we’d been on the bus a couple of minutes. “He loves you.”

“I broke up with him, Natty.”

“Yes, but–“

“And I got him shot.”


“And maybe he’s tired of me. Of our family. Of how difficult it all is. Sometimes I get tired of me, too.”

“Not Win, no,” Natty said in a soft but resolute voice. “It doesn’t make sense.”

I sighed. Natty might have looked twenty-five, but her heart was still so very twelve (thirteen!) and this was comforting to me. “I can’t think about him anymore. I have to find a school to go to. I have to see Cousin Mickey. I have to call Yuji Ono. But from now on, we’re going to the market at Columbus Circle,” I said. “I don’t care if we do have to cross the park!”

Birthright Series:

1. All These Things I’ve Done

2. Because It Is My Blood

3. In The Days Of Death And Chocolate (September 24, 2013)

FTC Advisory: Farrar Straus Giroux / Macmillan provided me with a copy of Because It Is My Blood. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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