Gabrielle Zevin (Elsewhere; Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac) continues to write smart, captivating novels. Her latest is a wicked combination of star-crossed love, whodunit, coming-of-age and dystopia that will keep you turning the pages. In the future of Zevin's crafting, life is not as we know it: chocolate and caffeine are controlled substances, camera phones are illegal, and no one remembers what OMG means. New York City, bankrupt and deteriorating, is home to Anya Balanchine, a no-nonsense 16-year-old and daughter of a crime lord. With both of Anya's parents dead, her grandmother's health failing rapidly, and her siblings relying on Anya to be the head of the household, she has more than enough responsibilities to keep her busy. She's managing pretty well, all things considered--until her brother unwittingly gets mixed up in "the family business."
When a batch of poisoned Balanchine chocolate starts to land people in the hospital, Anya's family is immediately suspect. To make matters worse, Anya is falling for the new district attorney's son--the DA who has sworn to crack down on organized crime and families like the Balanchines. As events spiral out of control and Anya tries to discover who is responsible for the frame-up, she will also discover how far she is willing to go to protect herself and her own. Zevin has created a frank, entertaining and thought-provoking read that will appeal to teens across the board. The best part? It's just the first installment! --Jenn Northington, events manager at WORD bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y.