Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In the Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle Zevin Review

"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 of Elsewhere. It will make you remember why you loved her writing in the first place."

In the Age of Love and Chocolate takes over four years of Anya Balanchine's life. She did a lot of things, from opening a nightclub to almost being killed by a very Bitter person. And yes, pun intended. There was a lot of things happening in this book, from conversations with Win to fights with the Family. Too many things yet also too little things. I really want the author to write a good conclusion for the end. I mean, like a short story or something that comes after this book. I just want to confirm my theories. 

The book is great. It's a change for Anya. Instead of having others being taken care of by her, she gets the special treatment. It seems that she will live a lonely life by herself and she says she wants it that way. Of course, it would had been that way if it weren't for a boy named Win. I'm not saying that she ended up that way, but let's just say that she becomes more than friends with Win. From a wreck in their relationship to a better place, those lovebirds may become something even more (if only Zevin will write something to confirm it). 

I love the comparisons. I didn't even realize it until the author finally mentions it. Comparison, symbols, whatever. Shall I mention it? Yes, I shall. (BTW: This is the third and final book of the trilogy). Chocolate stands for life. And there was one more comparison I realize. Um...what was it? It was... I can't find it. I admit defeat. But if you do, please tell me. I seem to lost my memory of the second comparison. 

When I received my copy of this book in the mail, I was kind of hoping it smells of chocolate. Silly, right? I don't know why I still thought of this even now. Maybe I'm still hoping for the smell of chocolate. I'm crazy. Please ignore this paragraph. 

Ah! I think I remember the comparison (symbol). Love is work. That's the second one. Actually, no. That doesn't sound right. But for the most part it is, but I can't seem to remember the second comparison correctly.

(I'm hungry for chocolate). 

What I love most about the trilogy is Anya. Her kicking butts attitude totally made me fell in love with her. If I was a guy (which I'm not), I'll totally hit that. Unfortunately, Win got there first. Actually, I got that wrong. I'm born too early. And in the wrong body. Anyway, ignoring my rantings, I say that Anya is a great character. It's so cute to see her rise from a young girl to a strong woman. I remember a few words from Red Rising (couldn't resist; a copy was selling in Costco, but I only read first chapter). "Sharpened by hate. Strengthen by love." Or something like that. But that those words totally reminds me of Anya. 

Overall, I think In the Age of Love and Chocolate is perfect. Perfect plot, even though it's pretty fast (it covers four years of Anya's life in that two hundred page book). Perfect words, I never get tired of reading Zevin's work. Perfect characters, I will never get over the utterly shocking transformation of Mr. Win's father. His last name is kind of hard (too much effort to type it) to spell.  

Rating: Five out of Five

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