I piked this book up sort of impulsively at a cheap used book sale. I didn't really know much about this book except that it's a thriller. I was a bit disappointed, it wasn't as actiony as I expected, but it was very interesting!
Sara Jane thought her family was normal. They're a bunch of bakers, that's all. Then she comes home to find her family missing and her home ransacked. Turns out her family is part of the Chicago Outfit, basically a long-running mob. Now, Sara Jane is the keeper of the notebook, full of the Outfit's secrets, and must prevent it from getting in the wrong hands, as well as trying to survive, and find her family.
My main problem with this book is that it takes forever for things to happen. The first 150 pages is mostly just backstory. It isn't until then that her family disappears, though Sara Jane alludes to it in the very beginning. I was expecting a thriller, but the first half was a bit dull and just was leading up to the family disappearance, which it took way too long to get to. The second half was much more action packed, with made me happier. I finally got to know what was going on, though was some info-dump but that's okay mostly because Sara Jane didn't know what was going on either. I ended up finding the whole Outfit interesting as well as how everything was organized!
As a main character, Sara Jane is a great one. She's tough and smart. Many others in her situation wouldn't know what to do, but she was able to keep it together and figure things out. Still, she felt real. The other characters in the book didn't feel so real, they felt like there were just there, but most of them were necessary so...
As for romance, there is supposed to be some, but it's hardly there and it just felt so important. Sara Jane kind of has a crush on a boy, but nothing really happens with him. I also really didn't care about him because he was really flat. Good news: the romance didn't distract from the plot.
I sound like I'm just complaining, but I did like this book. It had a compelling plot and a great MC, it just was slow-paced for a thriller and the other characters felt too flat. I don't know if I'll read the next book or not, mostly because I've heard the the second book is a bit of a slump. Maybe I'll read it if I come across it, but otherwise I might pass.