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Ink

Ink

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Ink

évaluations:
3.5/5 (20 évaluations)
Longueur:
403 pages
5 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Jul 1, 2013
ISBN:
9781460315231
Format:
Livre

Description



Ink is in their blood.

On the heels of a family tragedy, Katie Greene must move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn't know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks and she can't seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

When Katie meets aloof but gorgeous Tomohiro, the star of the school's kendo team, she is intrigued by him and a little scared. His tough attitude seems meant to keep her at a distance, and when they're near each other, strange things happen. Pens explode. Ink drips from nowhere. And unless Katie is seeing things, drawings come to life.

Somehow Tomo is connected to the kami, powerful ancient beings who once ruled Japanand as feelings develop between Katie and Tomo, things begin to spiral out of control. The wrong people are starting to ask questions, and if they discover the truth, no one will be safe.

Éditeur:
Sortie:
Jul 1, 2013
ISBN:
9781460315231
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Amanda Sun was born in Deep River, Ontario, and now lives in Toronto. The Paper Gods series, which includes Ink, Rain, and Storm, was inspired by her time living in Osaka and traveling throughout Japan. She is an avid video gamer and cosplayer. Visit her on the web at www.amandasunbooks.com and on twitter @Amanda_Sun.

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Ink - Amanda Sun

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I made it halfway across the courtyard before I realized I was still wearing my school slippers. No lie. I had to turn around and slink all the way back to the genkan, the stifled laughs from my classmates trailing me as I mustered what slippered dignity I could.

God, way to scream foreigner. You’d think after a couple of weeks I’d have the routine down, but no. I’d gone into that mode again, the one where I forgot everything for a minute and walked dazed through the sounds of the Japanese being spoken around me, not fully comprehending that it wasn’t English, that I was on the other side of the world, that Mom was...

Katie!

I looked up to see Yuki running toward me, breaking from a group of girls who stopped chatting, staring at us. Their stares weren’t unfriendly—they just weren’t exactly subtle. I guess that’s expected when you’re the only Amerika-jin in the school.

Yuki grabbed my arms with her slender fingers. "You do not want to go in there," she said in English, motioning at the school entrance behind us.

Um, I kind of have to, I answered in broken Japanese. Forget English, Diane had said. It’s the easiest way to get fluent faster. It’s easier to forget everything, I guess. Forget I ever had any other kind of life.

Yuki shook her head, so I pointed at my slippered feet. You still shouldn’t, she said, this time in Japanese. I liked that about Yuki—she knew I was trying. She didn’t insist on English like some of the other kids. "There’s an ugly breakup going on in the genkan. Really, really awkward."

What am I supposed to do, wait? I said. I’ll just be in and out, ten seconds. I held out my fingers for emphasis.

Trust me, she said, you don’t want to get in the middle of this.

I peeked around her shoulder, but I couldn’t see anything through the glass. I tapped the toe of my slipper on the ground; it felt so flimsy.

Some big shot? I said in English, and Yuki cocked her head to the side. "You know, a daiji na hito or something?" If Yuki was worried, it was probably gossip-worthy.

She leaned in conspiratorially. Yuu Tomohiro, she whispered. In Japan, everyone went by their last names first. He’s fighting with Myu.

Who?

Yuki’s friends giggled behind us. Had they been eavesdropping the whole time?

Myu, his girlfriend, she said.

No, I know Myu. The other one, I said.

Yuu Tomohiro? Yuki said, her arms waving wildly as if that would jog a memory I didn’t have. Top of the kendo team? They let him get away with almost anything. You don’t want to draw his attention, trust me. He has this cold stare. I dunno...he seems dangerous.

So, what, he’s going to stare me down?

Yuki rolled her eyes. You don’t get it. He’s unpredictable. You don’t want to make enemies with a third year in your first two weeks, do you?

I bit my lip, trying to peer through the glass door again. I didn’t need more attention, that’s for sure. I just wanted to blend in, get my homework done and drift through school until Nan and Gramps could take me in. But I also didn’t want to stand in the courtyard in a pair of slippers, stuck for who knows how long. Anyway, it’s not like they could make my life a living hell if I left Japan, and it would all be sorted out soon, right? This wasn’t where Mom intended me to end up. I knew that.

I’m going in, I said.

You’re crazy, Yuki said, but her eyes shone with excitement.

They don’t scare me.

Yuki raised her fists up to her chin. "Faito," she said. Fight. In her most encouraging, you-can-do-it voice.

I grinned a little, then stepped toward the door. Even from outside I could hear the muffled yelling. When it died down for a minute, I took my chance.

Just in and out. I’m in slippers, for god’s sake. They’re not even going to hear me.

I pulled open the door and let it close quietly behind me before I stepped onto the raised wooden floor. My heartbeat pounded in my ears. The yelling was still muffled, and I realized the couple were on the other side of the sliding door into the school. Perfect—no way they’d see me now.

I snuck between the rows and rows of shoe cubbies looking for mine. It wasn’t hard to find—it was the only one with a pair of leather shoes sticking out approximately a mile, surrounded by the neatly tucked-away slippers in everyone else’s boxes. We all wore slippers in the school to keep it clean, but they weren’t your typical cozy bedroom slippers. They were more like papery white flats. Japan had slippers for everything—school, house, toilet room, you name it.

I reached for my shoes as Myu’s high and whiny voice echoed from the hallway behind the sliding door. Rolling my eyes, I pulled off the first slipper and then the other, clunking my shoes onto the floor and sliding my feet in.

And then the door slid open with a crash.

I crouched down, jolted by the footsteps stomping toward me. I did not want in on this performance.

"Matte! Myu shouted, followed by a flurry of shuffling footsteps. Wait!"

I glanced at the door to the courtyard—too far to make it without being seen. And just by trying to plan my escape route, I’d waited too long. If she saw me now, the way I was pressed against the wall all spylike, she’d think I was eavesdropping, and I didn’t need rumors circulating about me. I was already a gaijin, an outsider—I didn’t need to be a weirdo, too.

"Oi," said a second, annoyed voice. It was deep and rich—must be Yuu Tomohiro, dangerous kendo star. He didn’t sound that dangerous. In fact, he sounded pretty disinterested. Cold, like Yuki had said.

Myu rapidly churned out Japanese words I didn’t know. I caught a particle here and a past tense there, but let’s face it—I’d only been in the country for a little more than a month and studying for five. I’d crammed all the Japanese I could, but I realized the minute I was on the plane that it had all been useless if I wanted to have a real conversation. At least I could name just about all the fruits and vegetables in the grocery store.

Great plan there. Real useful. Things had improved since I arrived, but still, talking to Yuki or taking notes in class was not the same as following the high-pitched babbling of a major social breakup like this one. That was hard enough in English. I could really only make out the most important detail, which was that she was seriously pissed. You didn’t need much vocab to tell.

I peeked around the wall of cubbies, hugging the wooden frame so I wouldn’t be seen. Yuu Tomohiro had stopped in his tracks, his back to me and his head tilted back, staring up at her. Myu’s long legs made her school uniform look scandalously short, her kneesocks slumped in coils around her ankles. She clutched a black book at the top of the steps, her nails painted neatly in pinks and glittery silver.

What is this? What is it? she said over and over, waving the book in Yuu’s face.

Um...I thought. A notebook?

Yuu Tomohiro shrugged and climbed the steps back up to the sliding door. He reached for the notebook, but Myu whisked it behind her. He sighed as he leaned back against the opened door, his slipper pressing against the wooden frame.

Well? Myu said.

What’s it look like? he said. A notebook.

I rolled my eyes, even though my answer had been pretty much the same.

"Baka ja nai no?" Myu shrieked at him.

He was taller than her, but not when he slouched like that against the wall. And the more she fumed at him, the farther he seemed to slouch into the door. He shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his navy blue school blazer and tilted his head down, like he couldn’t stand to even look at her or something. His copper hair, too bright to be natural, flipped in every direction like he hadn’t taken the time to brush it, and he’d grown his bangs long—the way he was staring at the floor made the tips of them brush against his eyelashes.

I felt the heat rise up my neck. Yuki had not warned me he was so, well, pretty. Okay, gorgeous. I almost expected sparkles and rainbows to burst out of the walls anime-style, except his lips were turned in a smirk, and the way he crumpled against the wall exuded a smug superiority.

It was obvious Myu got the message. She looked absolutely livid.

You think I’m stupid? she said again. Or are you?

Does it matter?

What the heck had I walked into?

I couldn’t tear my eyes away. Myu’s face was puffy and pink, and every now and then her words got all choked up in her throat. She threw a string of questions into the air and they hung there with no reply. She became more frantic, the silence more tense.

What the hell did he do?

Cheat on her, maybe. That was the obvious answer or she wouldn’t be so pissed. And he had no reply for it, because really, what could he say?

Yuu Tomohiro shook his head, the copper strands dancing around, and his head suddenly twisted to the cubbies beside me.

I shrunk flat against the wall, squeezing my eyes shut and praying he didn’t see me. Myu had stopped ranting and a thick silence fell over the genkan.

Is someone there? she said.

Oh, crap—he had seen me. It was all over. I’d forever be the gaijin who has no life and eavesdrops on bad breakups to sate my emo side.

No one, he said, but it sounded off.

I couldn’t bear it and I peeked around the cubby wall. Yuu was looking away. So he hadn’t seen me after all. Thank god—I could go back to just being the Slipper Slinker.

Myu’s eyes puffed up and overflowed, the tears streaming down her cheeks. So it’s really true, she said. She’s pregnant.

Oh my god. What is this? Who are these people?

"Sou mitai," Tomohiro smirked, which was way too casual a yes. A response like that was downright cruel. Even I knew that.

Myu’s glittery fingernails tightened around the book. She raised it high above her shoulders, the loose papers inside it slipping until it was a mess of corners.

Then she hurled the book at the floor.

The notebook exploded with pages as it trailed down, the papers catching in the air and filling the room like rain. They twirled and twisted as they came down, white edges framing thick lines of black ink and charcoal. They fluttered down to the floor like cherry petals.

One of the drawings fell in front of me, tapping gently against the end of my shoe as it came to a rest.

What the hell? Yuu shouted, picking up the book from the floor.

What did it all mean, then? she whispered. What was I to you?

Yuu straightened to his full height and tilted his chin back until his gleaming dark eyes gazed straight into hers. He took two swaggering steps toward her, bending forward until their lips almost met. Myu’s eyes widened.

He stood silently for a moment. Then he looked to the side, and I saw a pained look in his eyes. He breathed heavily, his cheeks pink, his eyes glossy. So he did have feelings after all, the beast. He started to reach for her chin with his fingers. And then his hand suddenly dropped into his pocket and he laughed.

"Betsu ni," he said in a velvet voice. Nothing special.

You’re lying, I thought. Why are you lying?

But Myu looked like she’d been punched in the gut. And even with the cultural barriers that stood in my way, it was clear to me that he’d just discounted all her suffering, her feelings—the whole relationship. He looked like he didn’t give a shit, and that’s pretty much what he’d said.

Myu’s face turned a deep crimson, and her black hair clung to the sides of her snot-streaked face. Her hands squeezed into fists at her sides. Her gaze of hope turned cold and listless, like a mirror of Yuu’s face.

And then Myu lifted her hand and slugged him right in the jaw. She hit him so hard his face twisted to the left.

He lifted his hand to rub his cheek, and as he raised his eyes, they locked with mine.

Shit.

His gaze burned into me and I couldn’t move. Heat flooded my cheeks, and shame tingled down my neck.

I couldn’t look away. I stared at him with my mouth open.

But he didn’t call me out. He lifted his head, flicked his gaze back to Myu and pretended I didn’t exist. I let out a shaky breath.

"Saitei," she spat, and I heard footsteps. After a moment, the door to the hallway slid shut.

I let out a breath.

Well, that was today’s dose of awkward.

I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.

A girl lay back on a bench, roughly sketched in scrawls of ink as she looked out over the moat of Sunpu Park. She wore a school uniform, a tartan skirt clinging to her crossed legs. Little tufts of grass and flowers tangled with the bench legs, which had to be creative license—it was still too cold for blooms.

The girl was beautiful, in her crudely outlined way, with a lick of hair stuck to the back of her neck, her elbow resting against the top of the bench and her hand behind her head. She looked out at the moat of Sunpu Park, the sunlight sparkling off the dark water.

A pregnant bump of stomach curved under her blouse.

The other girl.

A queasy feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.

And then the sketched girl on the bench turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.

A chill shuddered through me.

Oh my god. She’s looking at me.

A hand snatched the paper out of mine. I looked up, my mind reeling, straight into the face of Yuu Tomohiro.

He slammed the page facedown on top of the pile of drawings he’d collected. He stood too close, so that he hovered over me.

Did you draw that? I whispered in English. He didn’t answer, staring hard at me. His cheek burned red and puffy where Myu had hit him.

I stared back. Did you draw it?

He smirked. "Kankenai darou!"

I looked at him blankly, and he sneered.

Don’t you speak Japanese? he said. I felt my cheeks flush with shame. He looked like he’d settled some sort of battle in his mind, and he turned, walking slowly away.

She moved, I blurted out.

He stumbled, just a little, but kept walking.

But I saw him stumble. And I saw the drawing look at me.

Didn’t I? My stomach churned. That was impossible, wasn’t it?

He went up the stairs, clutching the papers to his chest.

She moved! I said again, hesitant.

I don’t speak English, he said and slammed the door. It slid into the wall so hard it bounced back a little. I saw his shadow against the frosted glass of the door as he walked away.

Something oozed through the bottom of the sliding door, sluggish like dark blood. Did Myu hit him that hard?

The liquid dripped down the stairs, and after a moment of panic, I realized it was ink, not blood. From the drawings she’d thrown, maybe, or a cartridge of ink he’d kept inside the notebook.

I stood for a minute watching it drip, thinking of the burning eyes of the girl staring at me, the same flame in Yuu’s eyes.

Had Myu seen it, too? Would anyone believe me? I wasn’t even sure what the heck I’d seen.

It couldn’t be real. I was too tired, overwhelmed in a country where I struggled to even communicate. That was the only answer.

I hurried toward the front door and out into the fresh spring air. Yuki and her friends had already vanished. I checked my watch—must be for a club practice. Fine. I was too jittery to talk about what I’d seen anyway. I ran across the courtyard, sans slippers this time, through the gate of Suntaba School and toward the weaving pathways of Sunpu Park.

* * *

When my mother died, it didn’t occur to me I would end up on the other side of the world. I figured they would put me in foster care or ship me up to my grandparents in Deep River, Canada. I prayed they would send me up there from New York, to that small town on the river I had spent almost every summer of my childhood. But it turned out that Mom’s will hadn’t been updated since Gramps’s bout of cancer five years ago, when she’d felt it was too much of a burden to send me there. And Gramps still wasn’t doing well now that the cancer had come back, so for now I would live with Mom’s sister, Diane, instead, in Shizuoka.

So much sickness surrounded me. I could barely deal with losing my mom, and then everything familiar slipped away. No life in Deep River with Nan and Gramps. No life in America or Canada at all. I’d stayed with a friend of Mom’s for a while, but it was only temporary, my life stuck in a place where I couldn’t move forward or back. I was being shipped away from everything I knew, the leftover baggage of fading lives. Mom never liked leaving American soil, and here I was, only seven months without her, already going places she wouldn’t have followed.

And seeing things, hallucinating that drawings were moving. God, I’d be sent to a therapist for sure.

I told Yuki about the fight the next day during lunch, although I left out the part about the moving drawing. I still wasn’t sure what I’d seen, and I wasn’t about to scare off the only friend I had. But I couldn’t get it out of my mind, those sketched eyes glaring into mine. I wouldn’t imagine that, right? But the more I thought about it, the more dreamlike it felt.

Yuki turned in her seat to eat her bentou on my desk. I wasn’t used to the food yet, so Diane had packed my bentou box from side to side with squished peanut-butter sandwiches. Yuki gripped her pink chopsticks with delicate fingers and scooped another bite of eggplant into her mouth.

You’re kidding, she said, covering her mouth with her hand as she said it. I still can’t believe you went in there. She’d pinned her hair back neatly and her fingernails were nicely painted, reminding me of Myu’s delicate pink-and-silver nails. I wondered if they’d chipped when she hit him.

You didn’t even wait for me to come out, I said.

Sorry! she said, pressing her fingers together in apology. I had to get to cram school. Believe me, I was dying inside not knowing what happened.

I’m sure. Yuki did like her share of drama.

She lifted her keitai phone in the air. Here, send me your number. Then I can call you next time I abandon you in the middle of the biggest breakup of all time.

I turned a little pink. Um. I don’t have one?

She stared at me a minute before shoving the cell phone back into her bag, then pointed at me. "Get one. Maa, I never realized Yuu Tomohiro was so mean."

Are you kidding? You told me he was cold!

I know, but I didn’t know he was cheat-on-your-girlfriend-and-get-someone-pregnant cold. That’s a different level. I rolled my eyes, but secretly I tried to break down the number of words she’d just used. I loved that she had faith in my Japanese, but it was a little misplaced. We switched back and forth between languages as we talked.

Across the room, Yuki’s friend Tanaka burst through the doorway, grabbing his chair and dragging it loudly to our desks.

Yo! he said, which sounded less lame in Japanese than English. He tossed his head to the side with a friendly grin.

"Tan-kun." Yuki smiled, using the typical suffix for a guy friend. I looked down into the mess of peanut butter lining the walls of my bentou. Tanaka Ichirou was always too loud, and he always sat too close. I needed space to think about what I’d seen yesterday.

Did you hear about Myu? he said, and our eyes widened.

How do you know? said Yuki.

My sister’s in her homeroom, he said. Myu and Tomo-kun split up. She’s crying over her lunch right now, and Tomo didn’t even show up for class. Tanaka leaned in closer and whispered in a rough tone, I heard he got another girl pregnant.

I felt sick. I dropped my peanut-butter sandwich into my bentou and closed the lid.

That curve of stomach under the sketched blouse...

He did! Yuki squealed. It was all just drama to them. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the way her head turned, the way she looked right at me.

It’s just a rumor, said Tanaka.

It’s not, Yuki said. Katie spied on the breakup!

Yuki!

Oh, come on, everyone will know soon anyway. She sipped her bottle of iced tea.

Tanaka frowned. Weird, though. Tomo-kun might be the tough loner type, but he’s not cruel.

I thought about the way he’d snatched the paper out of my hands. The sneer on his face, and the curve of his lips as he spat out his words. Don’t you speak Japanese? He seemed like the cruel type to me. Except that moment...that moment where he’d almost dropped everything and kissed Myu. His hand reaching for her chin, the softness in his eyes for just a second before it changed.

How would you know? I burst out. Tanaka looked up at me with surprised eyes. Well, you called him by his first name, right? I added. "Not even as a senior senpai, so you must know him pretty well."

Maa... Tanaka scratched the back of his head. We were in Calligraphy Club in elementary school—you know, traditional paintings of Japanese characters. Before he dropped out, I mean. Which sucked, because he had a real talent. We haven’t really talked much since then, but we used to be close. He got into a lot of fights, but he was a good guy.

Right, I said. Cheating on girls and making fun of foreigners’ Japanese. What a winner.

Yuki’s face went pale, her mouth dropping open.

"He saw you? She put a hand over her mouth. And Myu? Did she?"

I shook my head. Just Yuu.

And? Was he angry?

Yeah, but so what? It’s not like I meant to spy on them.

Okay, we need to do damage control and see how bad your social situation is. Ask him about it after school, Tan-kun, Yuki said.

I panicked. No, don’t.

Why?

He’ll know I told.

He won’t know, Yuki said. Tanaka’s sister told him about the breakup, remember? We’ll just slip the conversation in and see how he reacts to you.

I don’t want to know, okay? Drop it please?

Yuki sighed. Fine. For now.

The bell rang. We tucked our bentous into our bags and pulled out some paper.

Yuu Tomohiro. His eyes kept haunting me. I could barely concentrate on Suzuki-sensei’s chalkboard math, which was hard enough considering the language gap. Diane had been so set on sending me to a Japanese school instead of an international one. She was convinced I’d catch on quickly, that I’d come out integrated and bilingual and competitive for university programs. And since she knew how much I wanted to move back with Nan and Gramps, she wanted to hit me over the head with as much experience as possible.

Give it four or five months, she said, and you’ll speak like a pro.

Obviously she didn’t realize I was lacking in language skills.

When the final bell rang, I was relieved to find out I didn’t have cleaning duty. I had a Japanese cram school to go to, so I decided to cut through Sunpu Park and get on the eastbound train. I waved to Yuki, and Tanaka flashed a peace sign at me as he rolled up his sleeves and started lifting chairs onto the desks. Pretty sure that counts as two friends, I thought, and in spite of everything, a trickle of relief ran through me. I headed toward the genkan to return my slippers—I wasn’t going to make that mistake again—and headed out into the courtyard.

School began in late March at Suntaba, and the spring air was fresh but cool. Green buds had crept onto each of the spindly branches of the trees, waiting for slightly warmer weather to bloom. Diane said everyone in Japan checked their cell phones daily to find out when the cherry blossoms would bloom so they could sit under them and get drunk. Well, okay, that wasn’t exactly what she said, but Yuki said a lot of the salarymen turned as pink as the flowers.

I was nearly at the gate when I saw him. He slouched against the stone entranceway, hands shoved deep in his pockets. The sun glared off the neat row of gold buttons down his blazer and splayed through his hair, gleaming on the copper streaks.

Yuu Tomohiro.

My footsteps slowed as dread leached down my spine. There was no other way off school grounds; I’d have to pass him. The back of his hand curved over his shoulder, his book bag pressed against his back. He stared straight at me, as if he was waiting for me.

He wasn’t...was he?

Maybe he wanted me to keep my mouth shut about what had happened. But he hadn’t understood what I was saying, right? He didn’t speak English.

His face was turned down in a sour frown, but his eyes shone as he stared at me, like he was trying to figure me out. A bluish bruise was set in his cheek, and the skin looked a little swollen. I looked down first and then straight at him, but I couldn’t stare at him long. Nothing could settle the pit I felt in my stomach, like I was going to be sick.

If he did make that drawing move... No, that was impossible. I’d been tired, that’s all.

I stood there ten feet from the gate, unable to move, squeezing the handles of my bag as tightly as I could. My navy skirt felt short and ugly against my bleached-out legs. I was out of place at this school and I knew it.

Move! Just walk past and ignore him! Do something! my brain screamed at me, but I couldn’t move.

I let out a shaky breath and took a step forward.

He uncoiled from his slouch like a snake, rising to his full height. I wondered why he always slouched when he could look like that, but the thought sent prickles up my neck. He was a jerk anyway, even if I hadn’t seen the drawing move. He’d cheated on Myu, got someone else pregnant and still had the nerve to laugh at it. Except that he looked like he’d been lying that he didn’t care about her. And Tanaka had said he was a good guy deep down.

Must be really deep down.

His shoes clicked against the cement as he stepped toward me, and despite all my common sense, I couldn’t stop shaking. His eyes burned as he stared me down. He was only two feet from me, and now only a foot. I’m sorry, was I the only one at the school who worried he was psycho?

His eyes flicked to the ground suddenly, his bangs slipping forward and fanning over his face as he walked straight past me, so close that his shoulder grazed mine. So close that I could smell spices and hair gel, that I could feel the warmth radiating from his skin.

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3.7
20 évaluations / 28 Avis
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  • (4/5)
    I'll be straightforward with you and explain that the reason I picked Ink up in the first place was that it was set in Japan. I love Japanese mythology, and I definitely love Fantasy reads. Needless to say, I was really excited to read this book. I couldn't wait to see where Katie Greene's new life in Japan would take me.

    It was so interesting to watch Katie as she settled into her new life. I can't imagine living in another country, much less one where the language is still new. I felt her reactions to everything were really spot on. In fact, I can't deny that I liked Katie immensely. She was kind, honest, and just sarcastic enough to create some lightheartedness for the story. When Tomo came into the picture, I knew things were headed in a fabulous direction. A boy with a dangerous side, who Katie just can't stop thinking about? Yes, please!

    Japan was a gorgeous setting for this story. It's really obvious that Amanda Sun did her research on the culture and the mythology laid out between these pages. Katie's new home comes to life on the pages. I could see the cherry blossoms, feel the breeze, and fell in love with the descriptions of her surroundings. If I didn't already love everything about Japan, I know I'd be intrigued after reading this. It was a perfect backdrop for all the dark, menacing events that take place.

    The absolute only thing that I had a problem with was the slow beginning. Some of Katie's reactions to Tomo were a little over the top, but I was willing to forgive them for the most part. Once everything took off, once I learned what Tomo's dark secret was, I was lost in the story. The story is wonderful, the setting is perfect, and I definitely enjoyed reading Ink.
  • (3/5)
    There were aspects of this book I really enjoyed and others I didn't. Firstly, I absolutely loved the front cover and enjoyed the book's premise (although there were many similarities to "Twilight"). The beautiful ink sketches that were scattered throughout the book were an added bonus. I also loved how the story was seeped in Japanese mythology, language and culture. At first I liked Katie, but unfortunately that didn't last. She tended to stalk her love interest, dessert her friends and be obsessed with Tomo's copper bangs. Personally, I preferred her easy-going classmates, Yuri and Tamaka. Despite my reservations I think this book will appeal to those who enjoy paranormal romances.
  • (5/5)
    Find this review and more at On The Shelf!The first think that caught my attention with this book was the cover. It is beautiful and graceful and the dripping title is ominous. Then I read the synopsis and found out it takes place in Japan and I knew I had to read it for sure! Thanks to Brittany and Alyssa at Literary Lushes I got to be the first stop on the Ink book tour they are hosting and was able to enjoy this great book.This author writes incredibly well and I loved the descriptions throughout the book, especially with the cherry blossom trees. The way she wrote out the imagery was very artistic and beautiful. It is obvious that she had spent some time in Japan and I liked how she included Japanese words through the book. My only complaint on that would be that some of the words I still couldn’t figure out and they were italicized everytime (stupid complaint I know, but my brain kept accenting the words as I read it since they had italics).As for the characters, I liked Katie pretty well, though I’m not sure why she really felt the need to know what Tomo was up to. She did well as a character who was learning the ways of a new culture and I liked how the book started out with her making a foreigner’s kind of mistake. With Tomo for some reason I didn’t have the connection I wanted, though I’m not really certain why. He was mysterious and confusing at first, but we get to see who he really is eventually.This story felt very Japanesey to me (not that I’ve been there just seen a lot of movies, anime and manga) and pretty much the whole time it played out like an anime in my head, lol. The concept of having Japanese gods is really cool, though I didn’t learn as much about the mythology as I would have liked.All in all I felt it was a really good story and beautifully written. I definitely will be reading the next book since the characters stuck with me and I must know what happens to them. Thanks again to the ladies at Literary Lushes! Check out there website to see what tours they are hosting and even join our awesome bimonthly Twitter chats!Beautiful writing, good characters, great concept, would have liked to have seen more about the mythology.
  • (2/5)
    I am never going to pick up a book because of its cover again. It serves me right, it really does.Do you know how excited I was about Ink? It is probably the YA début I anticipated the most in 2013, I'm even on a video saying it's the HarlequinTeen release I'd love to read the most. So you can probably imagine how heart-wrenching it is for me to say this - Ink isn't the book it's pretending to be.The juvenile, non-sensical plot elements that made Twilight one of my most hated reads are present in full force throughout Ink, and the only differences I could discern are the change in setting (Forks to Japan) and mythology (vampires to Japanese Kami). The unbalanced insta-love, the lack of self-preservation instinct on the heroine's part, the stilted story telling and hazy world building all contributed to my disappointment.Remember Bella? Remember how she was so irrationally convinced that a vampire, who craved her blood specifically, wouldn't hurt her? Well Katie sees a mysterious boy at school, one who tries to intimidate her, and she decides the best thing to do is follow him around after school. Because he's hiding something and she damned well wants to know what it is. Her stalking skills give Edward Cullen a run for his money, and even when it became painfully obvious that Tomohiro was bad news, she continues to follow him around and force her company on him.When the whole 'I can do freaky things with the things I draw' part comes to light, Katie is strangely accepting of the whole thing. No thinking she's losing her mind, no avoiding Tomohiro because he's obviously dangerous/crazy/magical. It just didn't feel realistic to me.Remember Jacob? Remember how he was just there, Bella's friend, and then suddenly he was a love interest and it gave you (me) whiplash? Katie makes a mysterious friend named Jun, who's indescribably hot, but she doesn't see him in that way. It never, never strikes Katie as weird that Jun turns up everywhere she goes. She's basically too busy stalking Tomohiro to realise she's got her own stalker, and even when Jun knows things about her and her friends that prove he's been following her around, it doesn't click to Katie as weird until much later.On the topic of Bella's Katie's friends, Yuki and Tanaka are as stereotypical as they get. Yuki is the over-excitable Japanese girl, kept around to provide Katie with alibis and for her to vent her boy-gossip to. Tanaka is the cute guy friend who might be interested in her, and Katie keeps thinking to herself that life would be so much easier if she'd fallen for him instead (remember Mike Newton anyone?).What I did like about the book is its setting in Japan. I haven't ever been there, so I can't comment on whether the descriptions are accurate, but the place that is described in the book is magical, and I'd really love to go there. I feel this novel has a very strong sense of place, and I really enjoyed getting to know a bit more about Japanese life and culture. I'm not sure about the grounding of the supernatural element in Japanese mythology. I don't feel like it was explained well enough for me to truly understand, but this might be because the characters themselves are stumbling around in the dark.I also really liked the illustrations that pepper the novel, they bring Tomohiro's drawings to life and helped me imagine what Katie might be seeing a bit more.I wish Ink was more. I wish it was stronger, had a tighter plot line,that Katie and the rest of the characters stood out from the pages. I wish I wasn't so disappointed. I hope, that if you pick it up, you find it to your liking. I pray the undoubtably pretty cover of the sequel won't pull me in.A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic.
  • (4/5)
    This book was pretty awesome. It combines alot of things that I like: Japan, Japanese, hot guys, superpowers, drama; yeah so good!I do admit the story doesn't pick up until 1/3 of the way there, and the first 1/3 reads like a Japanese school drama. The type with friends, love triangles, breakups and the like.The story is about Katie Greene who went to live with her aunt after her mother died. There, she struggles (not much) to learn the language, fit in, etc. One day, she witness a bad breakup with a hot guy named Yuu and saw a drawing of his that....moved.Katie couldn't believed what she saw, and pursues the matter relentlessly, until she falls for him and he, for her.Turns out he's a Kami and whenever Katie is around, his power goes haywire (even more so than before). There they have a run-in with the Yakuza and a secret society.I like how the book integrates a lot of Japanese language and culture, it makes it a lot more believable. As a student of Kendo, I say, the author have done her research well! Though, there's some minor details that are wrong (not enough to hurt). Overall, this book a nice find. More books like this should exist! Can't wait till the sequel! Yuu and Katie are a good couple, even if he tries to protect her too much :)
  • (5/5)
    Plot/Setting:After the death of her mom Katie Greene moves to Japan to live with her Aunt Diane who is a English teacher. All Katie wants is to go live with her Grandparents in Canada and escape Japan. However, all chances of returning to normalcy vanishes when she witnesses Yuuto Tomohiro break up with his girlfriend and sees one of his drawings moves.Ink is Amanda Sun's debut novel and a start to a new series called the 'Paper Gods'. It was an amazing book and I highly recommend it. The author steps out of a North American/or fictional setting and takes reader to a whole new country, writes about it culture, foods and the hardship Katie faces with language barriers and cultural differences. Readers are able to leave there comfort zone and embrace something new. I cannot think of one other book that focuses on someone from North America going to Japan.This paranormal-romance debut is unlike others in that Amanda Sun has skipped the norm (vampires, werewolves etc;) and brought to light Japanese mythology which I haven't seen present before in recent YA novels. This makes Ink stand out from others recently released in that genre.The book is fast paste and easy to understand. There is a Japanese glossary in the back to translate the Japanese words.The plot is well done and flows nicely throughout the book. However, I felt that there could of been more action involved.Characters:YA needs more asian boys :D Man...Tohomohiro is so sexy. Ever since I found out this novel was being released, thanks to Goodreads, I had been patiently awaiting it release date because a) I am moving to Japan this fall for University and b) sexy asian boy as the main love interest ^_^Katie: Katie is very much a brave, determined, curious and headstrong character. She is the type that runs towards danger without thinking it through. Also given with all her hardships (mother death, moving to foreign country, learning a new language) she does pretty well and does not give up. I did not find myself, as a reader, annoyed with Katie at all. I personally envied her and found her quite enjoyable as a protagonist. However, during the Love Hotel scene I wanted to shake her and say "connect the dots".Tomohiro: ^_^ He has got the whole "I'm in pain", bad-boy, confident and modest thing going on and I liked it. I really felt a lot of sympathy towards his character and there were times when I wanted to hug him, shake him and say 'your awesome' and then there were moments when I wanted to beat the crap out of him. However, Tomohiro always puts others above himself and that is enviable quality. However, I think he needs to be a bit more selfish and realize he is super awesome.Also bonus...my best friend (she is japanese) is in a relationship with a guy and for the life of me I could never remember his name. However, thanks to Ink I can since the first part of his, first name, is Tomo :DJun: I am conflicted at who I like more...Jun or Tomohiro.Yuki, Tanaka, Diane: the side characters were the best. Yuki and Tanaka cracked me up. Diane tries so hard to make Katie fit into her life in Japan. She also pushes Katie to cross new boundaries (learn a new language) and helps Katie develop into a better person :DYakuza: I hope we learn more about them in the next book ^_^Artwork:This a paperback book...and it has the most awesome artwork both on the cover and inside the book. Readers will be delighted to find flip art ^_^ I really wanted there to be more of that and hope the second book will have it as well.I am actually excited to see what the second book will look like.Also the book contains Q&A with the artists, the author , discussion questions and a sneak peak at Book #2. BTW when is book #2 coming out. I do not think I can wait a whole year haha !!Overall:This is definitely a book that everyone should be on the lookout for. I finished this a week ago and I am still replaying it in my head.The Author gets points for bringing something new to the paranormal romance genre, stepping outside of YA normal boundaries and making the readers starve to death as they read about all the delicious foods they are missing out on.Things I did not like: could of been more action, a little more physical descriptions of the characters and some of the places around themThing I loved: all the characters, flip art, storyline, the japanese glossary, cover and the japanese mythology.This book definitely deserves 5 stars :D
  • (4/5)
    Ink is such a fun read with a unique setting. I can't remember reading a YA novel that wasn't set in the US or Great Britain, so this is really refreshing. Katie is an American girl who moves to Japan to live with her aunt after the death of her mother. How hard would that be? Katie's reactions to her new life are realistic and, quite frankly, brave. I loved her determination. She's so blatantly American, which really makes her stand out in this society. Honestly, I could do without the paranormal aspect of this story. There was enough here to make it a great novel that the paranormal took away from everything. Not that the paranormal aspects are bad, but the book would've been just as good without them. I really enjoyed how Katie changed and grew in the novel. Her growth was subtle and realistic. Never did I feel like she was acting outside of her characteristics. While some parts were predictable, the overall plot didn't disappoint. I recommend this novel to everyone.
  • (3/5)
    See my review of this book, and many more, at Tales from the Great East Road.

    After the pain of losing her mother and the huge culture shock moving to Japan to live with her aunt, Katie could be forgiven for suffering from stress and seeing things that aren’t really there; drawings moving, staring at her with blank eyes, or crawling towards her with razor sharp teeth, and ink that pools and oozes like blood. If only Katie could believe it was just stress, but she knows different – this is all somehow linked to Tomohiro Yuu, the good looking senior with amazing artistic skills and a bad attitude. Is he human, or kami – a person with god-like power?

    As Katie gets closer to Tomohiro they discover that her being near him causes the ink he uses to act strangely. With her Tomohiro’s power is increasing, and his control is slipping. Soon, Katie isn’t the only one who has discovered what he can do.

    Ink had so much potential to be an amazing book, full of monsters and Japanese culture – and whilst it is clear a lot of research has been put into this book, in the end it just doesn’t do enough to break through the typical YA paranormal romance cliches. The setting is very fleshed out (at least to a Westerner who has never visited Japan) and described beautifully, especially the images of the cherry blossoms in bloom. The romance also began rather sweetly – for all its “insta-love” problems, they can be forgiven as they fit with the character of Katie. She is alone in a foreign country, living with an aunt she barely knows, and often struggles with her new life. She has trouble speaking and reading Japanese, she keeps forgetting every-day customs like bowing and when it is acceptable to address someone by their first name, and she is the only white person in her school. For her, falling in love with Tomohiro so fast is about finding someone who also feels like an outsider, and their shared pain over loosing a mother is the beginning of their bond. Throughout the novel we see Katie’s confidence grow until she feels at home in Japan, in a realistic and sweet way.

    Unfortunately, the romance soon gets fairly boring, and has practically all the annoying stereotypes of a YA paranormal romance. Insta-love (not even half way through Katie claims she can’t live without him now), not being able to be together because one of them will get hurt, ignoring or dropping friends the moment a guy comes along – these are just a few of the cliches used. The mythology of the Kami was such a unique idea, and the few scenes that depicted Tomohiro’s power (like a dragon coming to life and attacking them) were amazing to read, but they were few and far between, ultimately not enough to save the book. There is also far too much of Katie running around, stalking Tomohiro, and generally being paranoid.

    If a standard YA paranormal romance, with a beautifully described setting, is what you are looking for then Ink is perfect – but if, like me, you where hoping for something special and memorable then prepare to be disappointed.

    3 stars.
  • (5/5)
    I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I was so intrigued by this title when it came up on NetGalley because it just seemed so different from other books in its genre, paranormal young adult books that also include mythology, something new to shake up the lovers of this genre. And shake me up it did! To begin with, it was set in Japan and dealt with Japanese mythology, something I admit I know little about, which just made me want to read it more so I could learn about it. I had no idea there were such things as kendo or Kami (the Japanese Gods), but I enjoyed learning about all of this, and much more about Japan in general. The descriptions of the sights, smells and tastes of Japanese life were amazingly well done, and when ink started dripping off of drawings and out of notebooks, I got chills!The main female character, Katie, was very likable. She lost her mother and was sent to live with an aunt she doesn't even know very well in Japan. Instead of crawling into a shell and just trying to get through each day until she can go back to the US and live with her grandparents, Katie takes the opportunity to immerse herself in the Japanese culture. She soaks up as much as she can, and even begins to thrive, especially after she meets the "gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school's kendo team." She finds that she has a weird connection with Tomo, but unfortunately Tomo also has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being around Katie is making him lose control of his abilities, which I will not describe here because it is a long and very interesting story that you must read the book to learn.I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the next book in the series, Rain. I would enthusiastically recommend this book to my friends, and to all lovers of paranormal young adult books that have a bent towards mythology, because unless you read YA books that deal with Japanese mythology on a regular basis, this book will definitely appeal to you. I happily give it 5 stars.
  • (5/5)
    A gorgeous cover and the imagery really suits the story.
    Full review to come.
  • (4/5)
    Thanks to the publisher for an eARC.

    Where do I even start with this one?

    I am going to be completely honest. I can completely see why a lot of people compared this to Twilight. A lot of the situations and scenarios in the book really gave me the deja-vu feeling. Now, in my personal estimation, this is not a bad thing. I am a fan of the Twilight series, but for others, this may be a turnoff.

    The writing was not bad at all, though. I enjoyed the fact that the setting was unique. I have never read a novel set in Japan before. I have never had an interest in Japanese culture before, but I was completely intrigued by the way it was laid out in this novel.

    Katie was.. Interesting. She has suffered a terrible loss and has to start over somewhere she never wanted to go, where she is faced with language barriers and cultural differences that to her seem insurmountable, but ultimately become a part of who she is. And the boy that she should stay away from becomes what draws her, in a way. She had no idea what lurked inside her, or what the connection would be in the end, but once she realizes it, she cannot deny the pull it has.

    Tomo struck me as the typical bad boy, and very much reminded me of Edward from Twilight. "I'm the bad guy, stay away from me," being his driving characteristic.

    I did find Yuki and Tanaka a little flat, but they were really background characters. Diane kind of reminded me of the aunt on the TV version of Vampire Diaries. But I found her likable and endearing for some reason.

    If you like angsty teen romance, this is an excellent read. If you are a fan of Twilight or The Vampire Diaries, then you have to read this book.
  • (3/5)
    Thank you Netgalley for the ARC of this book. **Spoilers**

    The idea of this story is a brilliant one, a YA paranormal romance set in Japan based on Japanese Mythology. And the blurb of the book sounds incredible and makes you want to pick it up right away.

    The start of the story - the heroine Katie Greene moves to Japan after the death of her mother, thrown into a different world and culture. Its easy to see how difficult it is for her to try and fit in, and it was an interesting start to the story, and we meet Tomohiro, the love interest when she has to go back to get something she's forgotten and needs to pass through somewhere he is when he's arguing with his girlfriend. Right off its a oh look, bad boy warning. He's gorgeous, he's dangerous and he's a complete jackass. But of course, she's fascinated by him when. And he has strange powers.

    The moving drawings were interesting, and the story itself wasn't actually a bad one. It kept me going enough so I read it reasonably quickly because, like Katie, I wanted to know more about the drawings, why they moved and what his powers were and how the mythology came into it. Katie was likeable enough, Tomohiro was kind of flat with his stay away I'm dangerous, but I can really care about you and you see the real me kind of thing. The love connection and the whole romance thing was unfortunately, way too cliched for my liking. Katie's friends Yuki and Tanaka were quite fun and entertaining.

    There's also a potential for a love triangle as well, and danger from the Yakuza.

    I did find the Kami quite fascinating, even though they are powerful, they are also quite dangerous, which leads to oh noes!! Forbidden love when Katie realises she's the reason Tomo's powers and drawings are going haywire.

    I enjoyed the book, even though it is full of annoying YA Paranormal romance cliches, and in certain parts of the book, even though he annoyed me, even Tomohiro was quite likeable particularly towards the end of the novel. Same with Katie.

    I read the book on a Kindle and a Kindle for iPad/iPhone app and found the drawings inserted in random paragraphs very distracting and annoying. It broke up the flow of the story. I would have liked to see a section at the back with the glossary maybe five or ten pages with the drawings all together. Maybe they work better in an actual paperback.

  • (3/5)
    Thanks to Netgalley.com and Harlequin for allowing me access to this title.

    This was an interesting story. It was a lot different from what I normally read, and yet it was similar at the same time. Perhaps it was the Japanese setting and culture that threw me off for a bit. It was good to get a dose of the culture without having it shoved down my throat.

    Overall, I think that those who read a lot of manga will really like this one for the mix of culture and the art aspect.
  • (4/5)
    NOTE: I received the eARC from Netgalley. Thanks!

    I read a couple of negative reviews about Ink, and I started off thinking this book would be bad. But it wasn't. None of the things I read in the reviews were true. And in fact I enjoyed it very much. It had a nice story that isn't overbearing with historical facts, too much world building or anything that could ruin the experience of the plot. There was mystery and action that really got to me so much that I stayed past midnight to finish the book.

    Some bloggers say there wasn't enough Japanese culture interwoven with the story. In my opinion, there was enough. Just the right amount actually, so you wouldn't be left to grasp at straws, and you wouldn't be overburdened either.

    So yeah, it was really amazing. I'm not saying there were no flaws, because there were. But hey, perfect books aren't that easy to come by.

    Anyway, what I can say annoyed me a little was the stalker that Katie turned out to be. I guess she was just curious and out to hunt the mystery revolving around Tomohiro, but it still bugged me. I mean, she's a foreigner in a land she doesn't know the language of, the customs of, or anything really. And she just up and goes to follow this guy who seems to be super creepy in the beginning. Of course it's a thrill, and without her Nancy-Drew-type-of-curiosity-for-solving-a-case inclinations we wouldn't ever get to see the real side of Tomohiro and his story, but still. It was unsettling.

    Also, Katie brought all those misfortunes over them both, but she only blamed Tomo. He'd been dealing with his burden on his own quite impressively, thank you very much. It was her side of the equation that didn't quite add up.

    I definitely will be waiting for the next installment to come out, that's for sure! I can feel that Katie is going to grow as a character, and that gives me the jitters!
  • (3/5)
    Due to copy and paste, formatting has been lost.ACTUALLY 3.5 STARSFirst off, when I began Ink, (based on some reviews and the info) I was expecting a paranormal-- one without much unique information, and with a wasted potential. I can't help it, but I am overly judgmental about paranormal type books in general. It's a side effect of not being impressed by one in a long time.But anyway, back on subject. I was fairly surprised by this one. Because the premise of Ink was done very well-- lots of details and wonderful Japanese myths. But...I felt like it was too much sometimes. I liked the fact that we got so much insight, but...well, it was just too much. For one, I am not a native speaker of Japanese. All of the interlaced phrases and random words just weren't ever explained to my standards. Because of the large culture differences (American and Japanese) I couldn't even deduct into what context the phrases were used. This was quite aggravating to me, as you can tell! I just....ARGGGHHHH. I wish that I could have understood them!But before I go on a rampage, I'll move onto something else. The gang thing. The way to know gang members in Japan is by whether or not they have tattoos...it seems like they're being very obvious, but that's their customs. Anyway, the gangs were at times very prevalent then at other times barely there. I could not get a feel for that. It's either a part of it or it's not, right?Some of the facts just didn't add up. *SPOILER*Like this one: only Kami or people with "ink" in their blood can see Kami drawings move, according to the man in the temple. But...Ishikawa saw the dragon and now the Japanese gang is after Tomo because he can draw things into reality...BUT IF THEY CAN'T SEE IT HOW DO THEY KNOW IT'S THERE? Hello? Are you listening to me? No one but the Kami/ink in their blood folks should have seen. *SPOILER END*Ahem. Anyway. Katie seemed like a very hesitant character to me. Sometimes she was just so brave, and she took charge of her own destiny and I liked her for that; but other times...she was different. Sometimes she wasn't courageous. Sometimes she was all careful and such. I guess that makes her a normal girl, though, so I applaud her for that one.Tomo was very strange-- I don't even know that by the end I even liked him. Sometimes he was such a jerk-- and he was doing it on purpose. Other times, well, he was all sensitive and sweet and I just wanted to give them this huge hug. But then he'd be a jerk again and I'd want to hit him. (That doesn't sound like I have a dysfunctional relationship with him at all.)Speaking of which, the relationship between Katie and Tomo came too soon. In my opinion, of course. It seemed like they weren't friends for very long before it got all awkward and romantic like. It was introduced way too quickly.All in all, in spite of my issues with Ink, I really do think that it was a good read. A definite change from the norm...I just...well, you know.
  • (2/5)
    *I was provided with an electronic copy of this book from the author and Harlequin (UK) Limited in return of an honest review. No monetary compensation was provided in this exchange.*

    'They'll tell you you'll forget how it used to be,' he said suddenly, and the sound of his voice startled me. 'You'll get used to it, that it's better to move on. They don't realize you can't. You're not the same person anymore.'
    Ink is, by far, one of the most creative stories that have been released this 2013. It is the story of Katie Greene, who finds herself recently transferred across the world and living in Japan with her English teacher aunt after the death of her mother. To Katie, Japan is a mystery - new language, new culture, new people. Not only does living in Japan represent her inability to truly belong, but it is also a constant reminder of what she has lost, and her struggles in dealing with the loss of her mother.

    Enter Yuu Tomohiro - gorgeous, mysterious, and incredibly talented in the arts of drawing and calligraphy. In Tomohiro, Katie finds a companion. She accompanies him as he draws and becomes attached to the undeniably handsome Kendo fighter. Only Tomohiro has secrets of his own... and his inability to keep Katie away brings into light a truth within Japanese history that has long been forgotten. And it has put them both in incredible danger.

    You're a weapon, and you have to decide which side will wield you.
    The art in this book is undeniably beautiful. I looked forward to the drawings and it was wonderful to see literature combine different forms of art in the way that Amanda Sun has. The concept of the story itself was so creative and fantastic, but there was just a lot within the story itself that had no originality, most especially in the main characters themselves. Katie is a typical YA heroine, defenceless and weak and often too curious for her own good. The romance between Katie and Tomo was rushed and I just didn't believe in their feelings and their relationship. The climax was... anticlimatic. I thought a lot more would result. A lot of cliches and stereotypes within YA novels are present in this story, which disappointed me as I had high hopes for it.

    Despite this, Amanda Sun's writing is wonderful and I enjoyed the glimpse at Japan and it's culture, both topics that I do not have a large amount of knowledge about. I hope to see some real character development in the later books as well as a real depth to the relationship between Katie and Tomo. To fans of Japanese mangas and stories, Ink is definitely worth checking out.
    It was my destiny.
    I was going to face it.
    It was my life.
    I was going to live it.
  • (2/5)
    DNF at 37%.

    I'm sorry, this just wasn't my cup of tea. But look, still two stars.

    This isn't so much a review, just me explaining why I couldn't read on. Who knows, it might help you decide to actually read this.

    The cover is gorgeous and despite knowing better, I'm always drawn to pretty covers. LOOK AT THE PRETTY! The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous too, I particularly liked the wagtail. I would have liked to have seen those evil snails though.

    From the start I didn't like the main character Katie. There was just something about her that meant we didn't click. And it's always difficult to read a book where you can't connect. Perhaps that's why I couldn't read this book to the end. It just got too much. She over-reacted to pretty much everything and my stalker-alert was on high.

    I didn't like that there was lots of random Japanese that I didn't understand dropped in. Almost everything was written in English and then the speech was written in English, but Japanese words would be dropped in and I didn't understand what they meant. There was little (and often no) translation. It was so confusing and alienated me as a reader.

    I didn't like the oh-so-typical instalove. Amanda Sun tried to hide it and make it subtle but it didn't work. Katie was a crazy obsessed stalker. And she won't leave Tomo alone. Even when he says GO AWAY AND LEAVE ME ALONE YOU CREEP OR I'LL HURT YOU she's still there, following him.

    I did like that it was different. I don't think I've read a book with this unique idea behind it. It's such a pity that I didn't enjoy it as it was written, because I really thought, especially after reading the blurb, that I would. It had all the right ingredients on paper, but the cake just didn't rise. Maybe it was just me.

    Thanks to Harlequin via NetGalley for providing a copy of this for review. I'm just sorry I didn't like it.
  • (5/5)
    Originally posted on Tales to Tide You OverIn a novel set in the United States, this story would be considered urban fantasy. The separation of the mystic and mundane in other cultures is different, though, so I would hesitate to apply those genre expectations here. Ink brings the cultural difference to life in a story that reminds me of Ran, a Japanese movie with a beautiful tale that I later learned covered only a portion of what it conveyed to the right audience because of the symbols used.Ink tells its tale through the eyes of an American teenager thrust into a culture she doesn't understand, where they speak a language she doesn't know, and where she must follow rules she's blind to. Reeling from her mother's death, tossed into the care of a hardly familiar aunt who has no more experience being a mother than Katie has in Japan where her aunt lives.The cultural interactions alone would have been enough to interest me in this NetGalley title, but that's only the start.Katie stumbles into a world where what she believes impossible is clear reality. Rather than denying what she saw as most would she starts on a personal mission to understand, much like how she's taking on Japanese culture.From that paragraph, you might expect a superhero approach full of noisy entrances and flashy colors.That's not this book at all.Ink is deeply personal.Katie falls for Tomohiro, a complicated boy with major issues that put them both at risk. She's bound to him by more than just feelings, though. The ink lies between them, but so does a shared loss of their mothers. He offers her the right to grieve and the right to learn to open herself again. She sees through the masks he uses to block out the world, and neither denies nor runs from what he is even when she should.These two struggle on so many levels, but amidst it all, Katie learns to define herself. Tomohiro and Katie fight demons, both spiritual and in the hearts of the people around them. It's a love story, a mystical journey, and a suspense thriller all wrapped in a cultural blanket where the results and reactions aren't what you might expect.Because this is an eBook, and though I didn't know it when I started, it has a glossary of the Japanese terms used throughout, I thought I had more to read as I approached the end. Because of this, the final words came as a shock. I wasn't ready to be pulled out of this world just yet.That said the book ended at the perfect moment based on the rest of the book. I can't say more than that without spoiling, but there was no letdown beyond the obvious one of a good read coming to an end. This story satisfied from first page to last.In case it wasn't clear, I enjoyed reading Ink and highly recommend it as a mystical growth book with an amazing atmosphere and wonderfully flawed characters.
  • (3/5)
    I had been looking forward to reading Ink since it was previewed at the Harlequin Summit in February. The first in a new young adult series, it promised an original mythic element set in an exotic but contemporary locale.Katie Greene is still settling into her new life with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, when she accidentally witnesses a nasty break up between Tomohiro and his girlfriend. Katie is shocked at the handsome, Kendo stars cruelty but wonders at his fleeting expression of pain and regret. She is further intrigued when she awkwardly gathers together the sketches flung at her feet and one of the figures appears to turn and glare at her. Despite being warned off by her friends Katie is drawn to Tomo, determined to discover just what she saw, and what he is hiding.The strongest element of Ink is the introduction of a fresh concept for the paranormal genre which has exhausted all things vampire, werewolf and fae. The myth of the Kami (Japanese Gods), and Tomo's ability, is interesting and creative. Tomohiro's sketches come to life, but the spirit that inhabits them is malevolent, turning on him and whomever is near. It's a power Tomohiro does not understand and tries to keep hidden but he is finding it increasingly difficult to control his ability.I also liked the way in which Sun incorporates the distinctive cultural traits of the Japanese, from changing footwear, to the popularity of Kendo and the normality of 'cram' schools, without bloating the text with details. The meaning of the few Japanese words used can be worked out using context (though there is a glossary at the back if needed) and the setting is a welcome change from small town America.Unfortunately, I was so frustrated with Katie that my notes while reading Ink consist almost entirely of complaints about her attitude and behaviour. I thought her character was inconsistent, I considered her weak rather than vulnerable and I struggled to make sense of several of her decisions.Sadly, my disappointment with Sun's character development affected my enthusiasm for the story considerable. There is definitely potential in the idea and room for the storyline to grow and mature but the characters will have to do the same to keep my interest.
  • (4/5)
    'Tomohiro's eyes grew vacant as he sketched...he couldn't stop.'Japanese intrigue and legend come together in this fascinating YA novel.The tension builds like the sweep of the calligraphy pen. One moment flowing musical lines, the next, staccato and angry. This off centre flow kept my attention, at once both riveted and yet dreamlike. Much of the action is set against Sakura, the backdrop of the cherry blossoms which to my mind become an analogous reference to the flowering of the story.Upon her mother's death Katie moves to be with her aunt in Japan.At school she chances upon a break up confrontation between two students. The male student is Tomohiro Yuu. Katie happens to see a drawing of a girl the two were both arguing about. When the image turns its head and glares at her, Katie's world begins to change. It seems that Katie is a catalyst to Yuu's strange talent, a talent that could destroy him unless controlled.Yuu is possibly a Kami, powerful Japanese mages whose ink and blood drawings could create alternative realities and mythical creatures. This gift has a dark side, dooming the Kami as the need to draw in ink and blood takes over their being. Their calligraphy is more cursed than blessed.Visually prompting, the story unveiled with an anime quality that made it even more compelling.A NetGalley ARC
  • (4/5)
    I really did not expect to like Ink. Obviously, I did when I requested the book (Japan! Fantasy! That cover!), but reviews started pouring in and almost all were negative and listed the sorts of reasons I generally agree with, like relationship dynamics and instalove. Here I am, though, having really liked Ink, almost loved it, in spite of all of that. While I can see why a lot of my trusted friends haven't enjoyed it, I had a ton of fun reading it and, minus some hiccups on the romance side of things, thought it was a strong novel besides.To explain this disparity between my opinion and those of others, I have to explain just how much of a nerd I am. In 2008, while interning at a public library, I picked up a love for manga, which has since bloomed into a love for anime and kdrama. Even before that, Asian culture fascinated me, but now it's verging (if we lessen my crazy) on obsession. There are a lot of upsetting elements in the average kdrama/manhwa/anime/manga/jdrama. Men tend to be dominant; women weak and easy to tears. Boyfriends tend to be overly physical, verging on abusive, with their girlfriends. I see this, but, for some reason, it's not as much of an obstacle to my enjoyment as it is in American pop culture. Now, I'm not saying that the romance is necessarily like this in Ink, but I'm trying to explain that my standards are subtly different for the stories set in this other culture.For those of you who are big fans of manga (which will be my shorthand for all those permutations listed above), Ink is delightful. Amanda Sun peppers the text with those classic scenes to be found in almost any shoujo manga: the wrist grab, the boy carrying the girl on his bike, the close stares that don't end in kisses but leave the heroine a blushing mess, the yakuza, the sakura. There were so many moments that made me laugh giddily because I recognized them from pop culture. Ink really does read like a manga, which is made of win.The premise, too, is fascinating, and I really think Sun does a marvelous job with it. I was impressed with her writing in general, but her descriptions of the ink coming alive really do burst off the page. In fact, her love for Japan, for kendo, for art, and for Japanese history really do shine through. Her twist on the mythology of the kami, Japanese gods really worked, and seemed pretty sensitive to Japanese culture thus far; I am so glad Katie, a white girl from the US was not a kami. Also, the plot takes a Death Note sort of turn near the end, which is going to become more of a factor in later books I think, that makes me want to take a chip and eat it...while cackling malevolently. Katie does stalk Tomohiro quite a bit in the beginning, but, even that, I'm okay with, for the most part. She's a bit of a creeper, but she does have reason to be curious: she saw his pictures moving and ink dripping seemingly from nowhere. Plus, she was really homesick and lonely, and the mystery of what was going on with Tomohiro was a good distraction. Getting caught up in that is what helps her transition from a foreigner to someone who really belongs. Once she gets more involved in life there, her Japanese improves much faster and so does her general quality of life.About the romance, I really wouldn't categorize it as instalove personally. For one thing, Katie and Tomohiro really do spend a fair amount of time together, and time elapses between their initial meetings and their declarations of love. They do move too fast once they start the relationship, and do the whole inexplicably drawn to each other thing, though. However, I'm willing to mostly let that slide, since Katie and Tomo do actually have chemistry and are occasionally quite adorable together, like when Tomo blushes. I won't say I'm shipping them hard, but I don't hate them as a couple either.The downside of their relationship was how serious their bond became. They do the whole "I'm ready to sacrifice myself for you" and "can't live without you" thing, which is really getting old. I really don't think most teens are this willing to die for love. Not only that, but the dialogue at these points always gets so hackneyed and melodramatic. Tomo definitely tries to do the manly keep Katie in the dark and protect her thing sometimes, but, what saved this book for me, Katie doesn't let him. Both Katie and Tomo know about the imperfections of the other, and they call each other on their bad habits. Katie calls Tomo out several times for not telling her things or for being a jerk, and Tomo does the same when Katie keeps stalking him. They're accepting one another's bad qualities, not unaware of them. Even if Tomo tries all that masculine nonsense, Katie doesn't let him. Though I don't approve of a lot of Katie's decisions, they are at least real choices, and not her being forced one way or another by other people in her life.Ink turned out to be a fantastic book, despite my expectations to the contrary. If book two were available now, I would not hesitate to read it right away. I highly recommend this one to fans of Japanese or Korean pop culture!
  • (2/5)
    When I read Shadows by Sun, I just knew that I was going to love this. Unfortunately I did not. I thought I was going to learn so much about Japanese mythology but most of my questions went unanswered in the end. What I most disliked about the book, was the first third of it. It was a bit confusing and the switching of Japanese and English and back and forth was weird for me. I felt like it needed a smoother transition. Then, the biggest drama filled thing that I remember from the first part of the book was what happened between Myu and Tomo, and after that I was a little disappointed. What I did enjoy was the romance. We all know I love me some swoony scenes, and this one definitely has some. I loved the way that Tomo and Katie interacted together. Well once they gave in and stopped avoiding each other. All in all, I'm not a huge fan of books that take a long time to get going, so I was a little disappointed when this one did. I wanted so bad to love it, but I just couldn't get into it. Then, as I reached the end, there were still some things I did not understand. I just couldn't get into it like I wanted.
  • (4/5)
    I just came to the end of my eARC of INK and was surprised to see a glossary at the end. This would have been useful to have before (or while) reading the book. I did stumble over many of the Japanese words in this story that didn't always seem to be translated for the reader. I could feel what Katie felt being dumped into a culture not her own and trying to survive without drowning. Katie had the added burden of dealing with the sudden death of her mother which precipitated the move to Japan. She is also living with an aunt that she doesn't know very well.It seems natural that Katie would be looking for connections and anchors and she seems to have found one in bad boy, artist, and kendo star Yuu Tomohiro. Of course her first impression of him comes when she accidentally overhears him cruelly breaking up with his girlfriend. He is hard for her to understand because sometimes he is kind and other times he is cruel. This seems to me to be a case of insta-love where she falls for his pretty exterior when not knowing anything about him.The story takes a turn for the paranormal when Katie sees Tomo's drawing move and lift themselves from the paper. Katie's curiosity has her following him around town while he tries to discourage her interest. We gradually learn that he is a Kami and is afraid of the talents he has. Being a Kami also brings him to the attention of the local yakuza who want to use his powers for evil. Somehow Katie is enhancing Tomo's powers though her role wasn't really clear to me.I think the strongest part of this story was the setting and seeing how Katie adjusts to living in Japan. I thought the romance was the weakest because I didn't see Tomo's attraction. I thought the mythology of the Kami was interesting and hope it is developed more in later books in this series. Fans of the paranormal and especially my young anime fans who adore all things Japanese would be the best audience for this debut novel.
  • (5/5)
    Ink by Amanda Sun is the start of a new young adult series set in Japan. Katie Greene has been forced by the death of her mother to move to Shizouka, Japan to live with her aunt. She'd rather be in Canada with her grandparents, instead, she's stuck with cram school, a language she can barely speak or read. It's a major case of culture shock.Things go awry for Katie when she forgets to change her shoes before heading home. Embarrassed she has to rush back into the locker room where she over hears an argument. Not sure what to do, she ends up in the middle of it all, and sees the boy's drawings move. Thus Ink transforms from a YA romance into something more akin to YA urban fantasy with a horror undertone. Katie, rather than running from the things she has seen, is drawn to them. She seeks out the boy, Tomohiro, desperate to know his story.Although Ink is Canadian fiction set in Japan, it reads like a Japanese light novel. It's full of the tropes that populate anime and manga. It was an entertaining, quick read — perfect for my BART commute to and from work. The sequel is Rain and it's on my to be read list.
  • (5/5)
    Not everyone is keen on uprooting their life and re-establishing themselves in a foreign country. The idea of starting over from scratch can be both overwhelming and frightening. To some the thought of a grand adventure brings forth a migraine, while others thrive off of the magic of the unknown. This book is about a young girl named Katie who is uprooted from her life by the tragic death of her mother. By the order of the courts she is sent to live with her aunt in Japan. The death of her mother alone is almost impossible to bare, but the strangeness of Japan seems unlivable. With time and space Katie makes new friends that show her both grace and dignity. They allow her the space she needs to heal, but provide her the direction that she needs to thrive. Katie learns to open her mind to new surroundings and finds that sometimes a fresh environment, is what the soul needs to heal and start over. As she learns to live again Katie meets her soul mate Tomo, but with that comes both cultural and spiritual conflicts. Can Katie and Tomo work through the clashes that often arise in a diverse relationship? Can Tomo meet Katie half way and fight to keep their love alive? Will Katie stay in Japan if she is given an opportunity to go home?I loved this book. I know that many other people gave this book a poor review, but I honestly cannot understand why they did. The book was a fast read and had a great plot too it. I enjoyed the characters and I loved the Kami theme. I thought it was unique and I enjoyed the mixed relationship plot. As a person that has a diverse family I found this book to be refreshing. My aunt is Japanese, as well as my first cousins, and my sister-in-law is Cambodian. I am of mixed Italian Jewish/Austrian heritage and I am happy to see the author include this in her book (The Katie/Tomo pairing). I have a hard time understanding why some people might have a hard time enjoying a story because the main character is Caucasian while the love interest is Japanese. There are so many wonderful people out there that have been happily married or together for years that are in mixed relationships! Relax people! I am proud of my family. As for the Kami theme. This is not an anime or manga book. It is an author’s story and not a history book. It is a great book to read and if you are going to nitpick about the historical aspects of the Japanese cultural than I would not even bother reading this book. There is no point. I normally do not do this, but this is the one time that I truly felt that I had to defend a book that I enjoyed. So I must say that I look forward to this author’s other books and I hope she continues to publish more books and does not get discouraged!
  • (3/5)
    Review courtesy of Dark Faerie TalesQuick & Dirty: Still recovering from her mother’s death, Katie is thrown into a foreign world – not just a world of Japanese tea ceremonies and kendo but of mobsters and dragons that leap off the page.Opening Sentence: I made it halfway across the courtyard before I realized I was still wearing my school slippers.The Review:Katie Greene only has to suffer through a couple months in Japan before she can move in with her grandparents in Canada. After her mother’s death, Katie was shipped to her aunt in Japan until her grandfather was declared in remission from cancer. Until then, she must attend a school in a totally different country, take notes in a totally different language and learn the traditions and customs of a totally different culture. The last thing Katie expected was to actually make friends. Or fall for the jerk of the school. When she accidentally sees a scrap of paper with moving drawings from his notebook, all her friends’ warnings are thrown out the window. She has to figure out why his drawings move. And why, whenever he’s around, her drawings move too. Amanda Sun weaves a tale of a new mythology and a romance that will have readers dying for more.As much as the setting and new mythology intrigues me, the romance and plot was sort of a let down. Sun incorporates the Japanese culture and environment into the story beautifully, but the plot was very predictable. I could see everything coming 200 pages away. But that doesn’t make this book boring or not worth the read.Besides the beautiful setting, the characters also make the story a worth while read. Katie is a strong heroine. She’s stubborn, head strong and still mourning her mother’s passing. All she wants is to be back in the North America, where everything is familiar and she knows the language. But until her grandpa is in remission, she’s stuck with her aunt who insists she learn the Japanese language and culture. I love Katie and how she faces her new surroundings with a stubborn determination, but sometimes I want to smack her on the head. I mean, really? Some of her decisions are so naive and unrealistic, I become less engaged in the story. She became predictable, so the story became predictable.Now Yuu Tomohiro of course is the bad boy who’s actually really broken inside and has a bunch of secrets. As cliche as he is, he’s still a great character. He is the epitome of unpredictability; I never know when he’s going to turn from jerk face to sweet to completely broken and afraid. Tomo and Katie’s relationship has its highs and lows, and I really appreciate Katie being able to see through his jerk facade when he pushes her away. But this is also where Katie’s naivete comes through. She is so totally set on Tomo that she can’t see anything else – and they have only known each other for less two months!Don’t get me wrong. This is a good book. You should read it. Just be aware that there are boring parts. There are predictable parts. And there are parts where you want to smack some sense into the characters. But overall, I can’t wait to see where Sun takes this new story with likable characters and intriguing mythology.Notable Scene:The corner of my notebook flipped up, lifted by a cool spring wind. Wait, that couldn’t be – we were indoors, and the windows were shut. Then the whole side of the book started to ripple.The flowers I’d doodled started to bend in the breeze. One of the petals fell to the little bit of ground I’d sketched. A snail tucked himself into his shell.Is this happening? Is this real?The ben was hot in my hand and I gripped it tighter, watching the pages of my notebook flutter in the wind, watching the snails leave glittering trails across the page…Watching as they turned and came toward me, mouth full of sharp jagged teeth I didn’t know snails had, teeth that I hadn’t drawn…The pen shattered beneath my fingers, drowning the doodles in ink. Shards of plastic flew across the room and scattered on desks and floors. Students shouted in surprise, jumping back from their desks to their feet.And then I saw Yuu Tomohiro standing in the hallway, his startled eyes watching me, his fingers wrapped around the door frame. He looked almost afraid. Had he seen it, too? Or maybe – maybe he’d caused it.FTC Advisory: Harlequin Teen provided me with a copy of Ink. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
  • (5/5)
    A whole new world of adventure!Ok there are so many things about this book that I loved, but the first thing that caught my attention was the location, Japan! I love Japan and everything about it, but there aren’t that many YA books set in this place and the books that are tend to be based mainly in the past. The author gives us a glimpse into the contemporary Japan and using imagery and humor shows us many of the places and things that I would love to see for myself one day. I also loved how she was able to interweave a lot of the culture and mythology of Japan without making it seem like a history lesson.Then there was the paranormal aspect to the story. I really liked the unusual powers the characters had with Ink and trying to figure out exactly what it was and how it worked. There was a lot we learned about it, but just as many questions arose from it as well and I can’t wait to find out more in the next book.Katie is a really strong willed character and I really admired her spirit. I liked that although she made mistakes she still kept trying. Just like when she was trying to learn the language. At first she wasn’t that great at it and even though her friends didn’t mind speaking to her in English she chose to keep on trying and perfect her Japanese instead of just giving up. She is a fun character to get to know and a bit quirky at times too.Tomohiro was an interesting character and although I was a bit leery of him at first I really came to like him right along with Katie. He keeps to himself and for good reason, but once you get past that hard outer shell he really is a sweety and really funny. I love how he interacts with Katie and the way he sometimes teases her. It is so much fun to see them together. It was also great that he could also be so lighthearted and have a sense of humor about things given the situation he is in. I think he and Katie make a great team and I can’t wait to see more of them.I also loved Katie’s two friends Yuki and Tanaka. Yuki is one of her first friends and she is one of my favorites. She is always cheerful and a lot of fun to be around kind of likes Tanaka who is a bit of a goofball. I liked how supportive they were of Katie even when things got really weird. They are definitely the kind of people I would love to be friends with.Overall this is an exciting read with an imaginative new world that I am dying to read more of!
  • (4/5)
    This story is about Katie, who since the death of her mother is sent to live with her aunt in Japan. It’s here that she meets tough guy Tomoriho, but also learns a secret about him. Katie struggles with living in a new country and making friends.I found some of this text difficult to read, mainly due to the Japanese vocabulary. Other than this, I truly enjoyed this story.