by Deborah Blumenthal
Publisher: Albert & Whitman
Genre: Drama, Romance, YA
Release Date: March 1st, 2014
Source: Received in exchange for review
"What's in a name? Everything if you have my name."
At her exclusive Manhattan high school, seventeen-year-old Gia is the most hated/loved girl in school. Why? Her father doesn't have a boss. He is the boss--the capo di tutti cappi, boss of all bosses. Not that Gia cares. But life gets complicated when she meets a cop she calls "Officer Hottie" and feels a suprising chemistry. Then Vogue magazine wants to feature Gia in a fashion spread about real-life bad girls. On top of this, she's running for class president.
Can Gia step out from under her dad's shadow and show everyone there's more to her than "Mafia Girl?
I decided to request this book on a limb, as I’m going to Italy during the spring and I thought this book would immerse me in not only Italian culture, but also the internal and external conflicts of the Italian mafia. Yeah, this book definitely didn’t deliver on any of those things. In fact, anything that could make me react negatively towards a book occurred in Mafia Girl.
First off, the writing in this book seemed amateur. Transitions were done abruptly, run-on sentences ran rampant, over description, random capitalization and lack/misuse of punctuation. I feel like the editing that happened wasn’t thorough at all, and it says something that a seventeen year old can notice these mistakes. These mistakes weren’t done once or twice either, they literally were on almost every single page. The writing also contained acronyms. Which I may have been okay with if they were contained in text messages. Alas, that wasn’t the case. The acronyms were said by the main character throughout the book. You get the pleasure of reading WTF, LOL, IMO and the lovely gem yada, yada, yada in normal ‘convo’. The writing also contained an overwhelming amount of Italian and mafia stereotypes. There was about one million references to the ‘Godfather’. Pasta and pizza was constantly eaten. One of the characters was even named Mario.
If amateur writing wasn’t enough to make you throw your kindle at the wall, then meet Gia, the immature main character of the book. Not only does she make stupid decisions that would even make my 3 year old cousin cover his mouth and yell “BAD!”, Gia also seems to have a fun time basically failing the bechdel test. She apparently does have a female best friend, but she plays a microscopic role in this books. You only get to see her in the first lovely chapter which features the two taking a drunken joyride without their license. Appears to me that some inspiration from Justin Bieber was taken. Since Gia slut shamed so much in this book, I could go on and on about it. Instead I’ll allow to view some quotes (that also display the bad writing), and you can shake your head with me. These are unfortunately word for word from the book.
” Ro and I and Dante and his friend Marco and someone I’ve never met before who they call Little Paulie’s who’s about six five and some skanky girl named Viv with pink hair who’s getting on my nerves because of her gluten-free diet thing, go down to Ro’s basement.”
Alright. Read around two and a half paragraphs after the previous quote then you get to this:
And then like the slut I turn to him and we start making out even though I know that’s the last thing I should be doing because tomorrow he’ll probably steal a diamond ring and ask my father if he can marry me. But I can’t worry about that now so I don’t. I pretend I’m into him and living for the moment, which is one way to justify being a slut.”
Let’s add one more quote that simply had my mind boggled at its utter stupidity and lack of proper punctuation.
“I could get over the skanky people at Morgan who hate me, because most of them are Spoiled, Stuck-up, Bitches who dress in paisley or what have you and wear things like Belgian shoes and have moms with names like Muffy who carry those stupid Nantucket baskets with scrimshaw medallions and talk interminably about going riding in Connecticut on the weekends or watching horse jumping or entering their purebreds at Westminster, or playing golf while the non wasp world are out of work and panhandling. I would love to drop kick most of them so that they would open their recessive gene eyes and get over that rarefied bullshit way of existing.”
Mind numbing writing and awful main characters not bad enough for you? Well we also got an insta-love romance with some stalking in Mafia Girl. Remember how Gia and her best friend went for a little drunken joyride? The officer that caught them and took them to the police station just so happens to be the object of Gia’s affections. Gia declared him “officer hottie” I cringed for the rest of the book whenever he was mentioned. I renamed him Officer Lukewarm. She was in the back of Officer Lukewarm’s patrol car and Gia was already talking about being inexplicably drawn to his “electric green eyes.”
The quote previously mentioned that included slut shaming and Gia making out with somebody even though it was apparently the last thing she should be doing?Yeah during the poorly written make out scene, Gia was fantasizing she was making out with the police officer. This was on page 19 of the book. Gia then moves on to literally stalking him, getting her friends to help her find where he hangs out. By page 28 we have her lurking in bars for her lover. At first Officer Lukewarm was actually smart and shuts Gia and her craziness down. Normally one doesn’t end up dating the person they arrested, nor the daughter of the leader of Italian mafia that his precinct has been trying to shut down for years or and neither somebody’s who only 17 meanwhile they’re a fully trained police officer who’s definitely in his late twenties. Of course Miss Gia fits all of these bills.
Sadly Officer Lukewarm didn’t run or move away. Gia continued to freak out over him and keeps track of the time she’s last seen/stalked the Officer, fourteen hours and thirty seven minutes by page 44. By page 72, Officer Lukewarm has seemed to be warming up to Gia’s stalking charms as she claims that “not being with him” scares her. Instead of getting a restraining order the officer flirts back. All of a sudden this romance doesn’t become so one sided and instead it becomes mutually creepy and even reciprocated by the officer. Gia compared this moment to feel like “being on top of Mt.Vesuvius with smoke and molten lava erupting around us.” It was with that awful metaphor I burst into laughter at 1 AM and got a few questioning looks. From that horrible metaphor on, the romance became even more overpowering and made myself dislike the book even more.
Now onto the mafia part of the book. Oh wait?! There was a mafia part of the book? Oh yeah it was in the summary! And the title of the book. Yeah if you were excepting details about that, you’re going to be disappointed. The book spent much more time showcasing the instantaneous and creepy relationship between Gia and her arresting officer.
Overall this is a book that a even seventeen year old noticed extreme writing problems with it. It focused on a insta-love romance with a side of stalking. It had slut shaming and general hating of females other than the main character. It took the most interesting thing about the plot and tossed it to the side. It had so many Italian stereotypes that an reviewer of the book could use sarcastic Mario gifs and still could argue its relation to the book.
Shockingly enough I wouldn’t recommend this book.
~Thank you Albert & Whitman for sending me this copy!~