Sara Jane, high school student and reluctant Mafiosa, continues to explore her psychic powers and search for her kidnapped family in this sequel to Cold Fury (2012).
She and her best friend, fat schlub Doug Stuffins, have holed up in the Bird Cage Club, her family’s hideout, where she studies her family’s secret notebook for clues to their hinted-at “ultimate power.” When in public, she watches for the mysterious black ice cream trucks, which are driven by grotesque, asexual creatures; they were behind her family’s disappearance and are, terrifyingly, now pursuing her. She juggles her romance with dreamy Max from school with her responsibilities as Outfit counselor at large, which find her using her hereditary “cold fury” gaze to keep the peace. As in the first book, genuinely intriguing details about the Outfit clash with the book’s paranormal elements. Sara Jane’s conveniently discovered psychic ability to generate electricity feels superfluous; the “ice cream creatures” are creepy but so over-the-top they clash with the real-life menace of such figures as Lucky, the Outfit boss (who, brilliantly, achieves catharsis by watching sad Disney movies). Narrator Sara Jane does a lot of telling, not showing, as she makes choices readers will find both inconsistent with her character development and repugnant.
The occasional flash of humor or graceful turn of phrase is not enough to save this sophomore outing but holds out hope for future, better integrated tales. (Paranormal thriller. 12 & up)