Volume 2 of this classy series finds Mia still living in Italy under the protection and guidance of her extended family, learning the family trade (Della Torres have been trapping Milan’s demons for centuries) while she gathers strength to confront the demon that once possessed her.
Mia’s secret infatuation with distant cousin Emilio is history after she meets Bernardo, a family friend. He is equally smitten, and with both families’ approval, the two embark on a romance. But as their connection grows, so does Mia’s equivocal bond with her demon. Like their human counterparts, demons vary widely; they change and evolve. Interacting with them sets up a kind of symbiosis between demon and human host. Mia discovers that demons can simultaneously instigate and reflect family tragedies that may play out over many generations. (She’s still not sure what to make of the two friendly spirits haunting her bedroom.) With Bernardo an intoxicating distraction, Mia’s guard slips with calamitous results. These humans and demons are vividly multidimensional; Mia’s happily free of most teen-literature tropes and clichés. Often portrayed as a dour banking center, rainy Milan shines as well, dressed up in centuries of rich history and tradition, especially culinary.
Readers, like Mia herself, will find her birthright, human and supernatural—from risotto alla Milanese to the roof of the Duomo—as delicious as it is scary. (Fantasy. 12 & up)