Mafia Girl - Deborah Blumenthal

"What's in a name? Everything… if you have my name." At her exclusive Manhattan high school, half the guys lust after seventeen-year-old Gia. The other half are afraid to even walk near her. After all, everyone knows who she is. They know that her father doesn't have a boss. He is the boss--the capo di tutti, boss of all bosses. But they don't know the real Gia. She's dreaming of a different life--one where she can be more than her infamous name. And lately, she's thinking way too much about Michael, the green-eyed cop who's wrong for her for so many reasons. And yet being with him feels so right. Now the real Gia is keeping secrets of her own alongside her family's. And she's breaking all the rules to get what she wants.





Gia is the teenage daughter of a Mafia don who is accustomed to a life of luxury, status, and getting whatever she wants. One day she's riding shotgun in a car stolen by her friend Ro (Rosemarie). They get pulled over for speeding and once the arresting officer finds out both girls are underage and neither seem to be the legal owner of the car, he hauls them into the station. Gia's family connections get her free of charges in a hurry, but not before she develops a hardcore crush for that officer, Michael, whom she cringingly dubs "Officer Hottie". Gia then sets out to get him to fall for her, basically stalking him at all his hang-out places while he's off-duty. However, her lust-driven activities are quickly halted when her father finds himself in serious legal trouble, a mess his top-notch lawyer might actually be unable to get him out off. Suddenly, instead of enjoying a fun flirtation, Gia is watching her family and life as she knows it crumble before her eyes. 


Being quite the fan of mafia-themed fiction (one of my all-time favorite movies is GoodFellas!), I thought this would be right up my alley. I figured this would be a more light-hearted take on the theme... mafia girl going for young cop... could be cute, right?  But man, the writing here felt all over the place. Incredibly amateurish, just riddled with mediocrity. I was disappointed at how unlikeable Gia turned out to be. I honestly struggled to find anything that would firmly plant me on the Team Gia side. Her dialogue was made up of SO much unnecessary profanity and annoyingly abbreviated words. Sure, a lot of teens like to speak that way, but Gia's speech went far past what you'd hear from the average American teen. It struck me more as the type of thing where an adult was trying to take on that way of speaking but overreaching it, killing the believability. 


Then there was the whole what-are-they-exactly confusing relationship between Gia and Michael. Gia plays the sex-kitten image so hard it's actually embarrasing to read, because she's just going at it too hard. You want to scream for her to pull back and stop being a creeper! And Michael was just odd. She's in high school, he's on the police force. There should have been no question where his stance should be but he goes from "aww no I shouldn't" to "nope, I totally need to be all up in that". His "sexy" dialogue -- if anyone could even remotely call it that -- pulled as many grossed out groans from me as Gia's did, maybe more! I'm sorry, there was just something about the way he was written that came off as too To Catch A Predator to me. And Gia spends the majority of the story in a pretty consistent spoiled brat mode, so... hard to root for a guy who clearly just wants her because she's hot, regardless of how irritating she'd be long-term. 


The few things that I give a few redeeming points for: I liked the scenes between Gia and her father and the ones with Gia and her best friend Clive. Clive was actually my favorite character in the whole book and offered the one and only plot twist for me -- I did not expect his story to have such a dark vein in there. In fact, it was only after Clive reveals his secret, and Gia's response to it, that I started to see a glimmer of something admirable in her. There was also a scene shortly after that moment when Gia fights back against having her life uprooted yet again.... but just I was starting to think her character was having a turning point, she went back to her old bratty ways and the story was lost for me again.



I still think the concept for the story is a cute one, but my impression was that it might have worked a bit better for me if Gia had been even just a few years older. Giving her those few extra years to mentally mature could've made all the difference in this wannabe love story.