Title: Because It Is My Blood
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Series: Birthright #2
Published: 2012 by Farrar Straus Giroux
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.
“’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 teeth.”
WARNING. If you have not read the wonderful first book, All These Things I’ve Done, you might want to go find that book, read it, and then come back and read this review for the sequel. :) My review of All These Things I’ve Done.
You know how a lot of series get better and better as they go? This is no exception! I loved the first one, but there was some lack of a cohesive plotline. In this one, the plotline kept heading in the same direction, there was great character development, and plenty of new characters and new discoveries.
In the sequel, the storyline picks up a few months after the end of the first one, when Anya was thrown back in jail after promising to break up with her boyfriend. Anya gets out and realizes that her life is much more different than it was. She has no clue what to do now.
And that is the prominent theme of this novel. Should Anya stay in the chocolate world, or move on and give up her “birthright” in her family’s company? After much time thinking this over with new friends and seeing the impact of her family on the her city, she makes her decision and it affects absolutely everyone and will change many things she took for granted.
I thought that Anya’s character didn’t change too much, but she finally stepped up and made a decision instead of just remaining indecisive about everything. She and Scarlet tried to work out their differences and she tried to work things out with Win too.
Although I like this book much better than the first one, I still have some complaints. Even though Win is in this story…that’s all he is. He’s just there and doesn’t change, doesn’t grow, doesn’t really help with anything. He is as adorable as ever, but you almost forget about him. And the whole thing with him at the end disappointed me. I just feel like he could have been further explored as a character in this book. While yes, the main focus of the book was Anya finally making a choice about her future, it would have been nice if Win hadn’t been so shoved off to the side.
Scarlet also disappointed me with the choices she made. I know that it is just the character making the bad decision and not the author, but it did seem a little weak for Scarlet.
However. I realize that this is the second book in a trilogy, and it’s usually the one where bad things happen that get mostly fixed up in the third book. So I’m hopeful that the final book (which comes out in 2013) will be even more excellent than this one!
Content Warnings: Mild language