Blumenthal, Deborah. Mafia Girl. Chicago: Albert Whitman & Company, 2014. 978-0-8075-4911-7. $16.99. Gr. 8 and up.
Gia is New York’s current cutting-edge bad girl. Circulating rumors affiliate her family, and father more importantly, to the mob, so kids at school either revere or avoid her. She only has two genuine friends she can trust, Ro and Clive. When she’s joyriding with her bestie Ro in a borrowed car, Officer Cross or “McHottie” pulls them over and issues multiple citations as Gia’s conspicuous flirting and crude mouth build sensual tension. At the station, Super Mario, the family lawyer, smooths over the incident, but Gia can’t get the young, gorgeous officer out of her head. Her innocent schoolgirl crush soon turns to obsession as she stalks him at his local hangouts, hoping for a hot and steamy makeout session. When she confides in Clive, he helps her look into her crush’s past with the help of his hacking skills and father’s state-of-the-art computer only to discover a shocking secret link between the two families that may doom the star-crossed lovers before they have a chance at real intimacy.
While it’s tempting to view Gia as a pampered diva, there’s an underlying sweetness about her character shown subtly in the way she interacts with Clive and her family. Accustomed to getting what she wants, Michael Cross is a unique ambition since he refuses Gia’s advances in spite of his own growing attraction. Irreconcilable family backgrounds, promiscuous rendezvous, and intense passion all speak to the excitement and ardor of first love.
Realistic Fiction Christine Massey, JWP Middle School