Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Series: (Birthright, #3)
Published: October 29th 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Categories: Dystopia, Crime, Romance, Young Adult
External Links: Book Depository • Goodreads
Synopsis: All These Things I’ve Done 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 of Elsewhere. It will make you remember why you loved her writing in the first place.
Review: Zevin-san, doushite? Naze koushita no desuka?
I’ve been thinking about it for days and I’m still not sure about it. Rationally speaking, it was actually a nice conclusion. I loved how it portrayed Anya’s growth from being this naïve girl thrown to the wolves (enemies, responsibilities), to the one of the most known person in the cacao business. I’m glad that it showed, magnificently I may add, Anya’s transition. So what’s pulling me back from giving a well-deserved rating than the one I gave? One character: Yuji Ono.
I was thrilled when Ms. Zevin not only linked my review for Because It Is My Blood but she said that there were going to be lots of Yuji I can’t handle. Oh, there were that, she wasn’t lying and as a matter of fact I couldn’t handle it. And not because he had so many page time, it was because of how things turned out for him. And in the words of my sister, In the Age of Love and Chocolate is bitter and it was all thanks to Sophia (who has appropriate last name: Bitter).
I didn’t hide my overflowing affection to Yuji and it made me love him even more when I found out about things he had done for Anya. And while his motivation wasn’t exactly crystal clear at the beginning, I still think the end result matters most. I just hoped that Anya didn’t think of what she had done for him was a mistake. I think he deserved a bit of sincerity and love even as a friend. It showed how he trusted Anya to continue the legacy and as well as redefining the business. I think what he saw most on Anya was her resiliency, her strength to face her problems.
Honestly, my review would most likely filled with regrets and agony if I don’t stop right now. So I’m stopping my Yuji centric rant now, but as my final piece, I didn’t like it. I don’t hate it and I’m not going to go berserk about it. It just happened and while I firmly believe that it was unnecessary and I’m still thinking if there was a purpose behind the decision, I’m going to accept it. I don’t think it has something to do with her moving forward and saw things differently in life, and her position, but let me pretend that there was so I can move on and see things accordingly.
I guess I didn’t like the romance. I think it was undeveloped and lacked thrill than the one I’m rooting for. But even after all that, I’m still happy that I’m rewarded with few stolen moments with them, even though it was sort of short. I still saw how she took care of him and with that I’m still contended. But in more important things, I’m really happy for Anya that in the end she may not like chocolates but she sure knows now that bitterness in chocolate is now what people see in it. It is the velvety sweetness that made it appealing. I guess, she will apply that symbolism in real life context.
PS: I’m curious on how different In the Age of Love and Chocolate from In the Age of Death and Chocolate. And what did happen in there that made the author revised it. I guess we will never know.
Preview Quote: “Perhaps the irony of my life was that I had never truly loved the taste of chocolate. …Once I surrendered to it, all I tasted was the sweetness.” — Anya