Release Date: 24th July 2012, preorder a copy!
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Add it: Goodreads
Sara Jane Rispoli is just a normal sixteen-year-old girl coping with school and a developing crush— until her parents and younger brother are kidnapped, and she discovers her family has been a key figure of Chicago’s Outfit (aka the mob) for decades. Her father, grandfather and great grandfather all used their special ability, cold fury, to settle disputes between the two mob factions—the muscle and the money. And unless Sara wants the mob to think her now missing family has turned state’s evidence, she will have to fill her father’s shoes as the mob’s peacemaker, using her own cold fury.
Turning sweet 16 is anything but sweet for Sara Jane Rispoli. When she comes home to find her family missing, the place trashed and walls smeared with blood, her entire life is rocked straight into Crazy Town. Population: Her, a ski-masked freak, crooked cops and a dizzying rollercoaster that has no intentions of letting her off anytime soon. The further she digs into her family's disappearance, the more she tangles herself in this scary new world and the more dangerous her life becomes. On the run with only a gun, a suitcase full of cash and a notebook that if in the wrong hands, could bring down an entire criminal society, Sara Jane must not only fight for her family, but her own survival if she has any hope of reaching them alive. But perhaps her greatest weapon is one buried deep within her, a cold flame of fury that could give her a power far greater than that of guns and fists.
I have to say (as a compliment!), Goelgein really managed to into his inner teenage girl! Sara Jane is the kind of heroine you instantly find yourself liking. She could have easily become a character who was too badass, with her fighting skills and inner steel, but he balanced her power and strength with vulnerability and your typical teenage worries. She still cares about going to prom dateless and longs for her gorgeous friend to treat her like more than a friend, but they're subtle notes in her life. She has far more pressing issues to worry about like the fact that there's always someone in hot pursuit of her, she has no idea if her family is alive or dead and one of the few people she once thought she could trust has made the ultimate betrayal. Add to that a powerful ability burning at her core and it's a wonder the poor girl is still emotionally stable. She's an incredibly admirable heroine who you can still relate to, even if your right-hook is a pitiful intimidation of hers. Don't feel too bad, she's had years of boxing training under her belt.
I love the whole idea of the Outfit. Who isn't fascinated by the mob? It's a dangerous world for the best of the baddies, but for a 16 year old girl to have to navigate her way through this corrupt underground society wrought with all kinds of criminal dealings, it's going to take some serious strength, brains and determination to see it through. And Sara Jane has that in spades. It's definitely a shock to her though, the family she's shared such a close bond with all these years has been hiding some pretty big secrets. But no matter what, she's still fueled by her love for them and it's endearing to see just how strong those bonds of loyalty are. Through flashbacks and memories we gain a deeper understanding of her home dynamic before the events that changed everything and slowly we're given pieces to the mystery that lay at the heart of this novel. Both Sara Jane and the reader must figure out who to trust, the secrets of the family business and what the heck is waiting around the corner, because you can guarantee something is. And it's not likely to be anything good.
Goeglein balanced the realism of High School and the danger of the Outfit perfectly. He also touched on the gritty reality of bullying in a believable way; not with a sugar-coated resolution but one that rang true for this story. I liked that while Sara Jane was still caught up in intense mob drama, she still tried going to school, still tried for that for that tiny shred of normality in life with her friends and perhaps even a touch of romance. Something I think she needed amongst the brutality of her new life.
Goeglein's writing leaps off the page in a way that is so easy to visualise. Packed tight with a thrilling mystery, explosive action and a heroine who you'll be cheering for until the very last page, Cold Fury is an addictive novel. It feels fresh compared to what's lining the majority of YA shelves at the moment and those are the type of books I love discovering, the ones that offer something new and engaging. I can't wait to see what new dangers and discoveries lay ahead for Sara Jane, because it's clear that her journey is far from over.
4.5/5 Golden Apples!
Be sure to check out the Extra's section of T.M Goeglein's website, where you can find Sara Jane's notebook and the first in a series of webisodes to give you a taste of the novel!