Title: Mafia Girl
Author: Deborah Blumenthal
This young adult novel depicts a few months in the life of Gia, the daughter of a mafia boss. She meets and falls in love with a police officer named Michael, or “Officer Hottie”, who at first wants nothing to do with her, but slowly falls to her charm. With the help of Ro and Clive, her two best friends, Gia vows to beat the reputation that comes with her name and her family.
Oh my goodness, where do I start my review. Let’s begin with a bit of good; the novel’s premise was good. Despite the flagrant Italian stereotypes, I enjoyed the characterization of the family. I liked the Don, I liked Super Mario, and I would hug Gia’s mom in a heartbeat. The food in the book literally had me gnawing at something through most of the read, I swear. It was really easy to read, also.
Now, I’ll explain why I gave this only two stars. Even though “Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess distorts language to help us get into Alex’s head and culture, it is obviously done on purpose. I’m not sure if the author meant to have so much grammar mistakes in her book, but I cringed at least once every chapter. Now, it could simply be that Gia’s point of view is more of a stream of consciousness, but for me it didn’t work at all. To give credit, though, I can imagine the Italian teenage girl going, “What? What? WHAT?” repeatedly, so I hope it’s the author’s intention. If that’s your style, then you’ll enjoy it.
Gia herself was a silly most of the time. The only time I truly related to her was when she was bullied, or when she revealed the true nature of her “dream” for her future. Atta girl, really; it’s a good dream and it was probably the only moment in the novel that I felt truly fond of her. Clive was such a great character, though! I didn’t really expect him to be asexual, but it would seem that he is. Atta boy! He felt more developped than Gia, at times.
Plot wise is where it lost another star. What happened to the plot? I was convinced that the plot was about having Gia overcome the stigma about her family… <spoiler>But the novel ended with her sleeping with Michael, whose age is never revealed, but it seems utterly illegal and completely immoral considering they speak about ten times, she’s a teenager, and he has such a huge hatred for her family. Their relationship felt weird, as did the ending with their speaking game, and it left many unanswered questions in my opinion. However, her father’s descent into jail after Frankie’s betrayal did feel really believable. I would’ve been highly dissapointed if he had escaped. I think that the most beautiful part of the book is her conversation with her father, up to her realization of Beppo’s secret.</spoiler> There were also a couple of plot holes and rapidly switching sceneries… It just definitely wasn’t my style of writing and, overall, I was a bit disappointed.
I wouldn’t recommend this novel to anyone over eighteen. Despite my love for YA books, this one felt both stretched and rushed. I did love the concept, however, and to the appropriate audience, I’d say it could be easily a 3-4 stars.
I would also like to thank Albert Whitman & Company, as well as Netgalley, for the free ARC of this book to review.