cover image Mafia Girl

Mafia Girl

Deborah Blumenthal. Albert Whitman Teen, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8075-4911-7

Gia may be a smart, pretty, and hardworking 17-year-old, but she’s also the daughter of the “capo di tutti capi,” the boss of bosses. The rumors that her father will have teachers “whacked” if she doesn’t do well aren’t true, but she is driven to her Manhattan private school by an armed bodyguard. Blumenthal (The Lifeguard) tells a good story—there’s Gia’s friendship with rich but lonely Clive, her uphill fight for the school presidency, her instant chemistry with the cop she calls “Officer Hottie,” and her father’s declining fortunes—but the book suffers from a kind of moral blindness. Readers will root for Gia to live her own life, loathe the snobs who look down on her, and feel bad when Gia’s family loses everything, but there’s still the never-specified human cost of what her father does. There are consequences to his actions, yes, but the novel wants readers to both sympathize with Gia and be impressed by her lifestyle in a way that requires some selective vision. Ages 13–up. Agent: Abigail Samoun, Red Fox Literary. (Mar.)