Review: Ink by Amanda Sun

PJV Quickie: Ink is the tale of a young girl in Japan. Think the Karate Kid only with more romance, and a supernatural flair. The story was unique, fun, but at the same time it felt familiar. It was a good comfort read and a book that I truly enjoyed reading.
inkTitle: Ink
Author: Amanda Sun
Source: eARC through NetGalley
Genre: YA/PNR
Pub Date: June 25th, 2013
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I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.

Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.

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

And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is 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.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they’ll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

INK follows Katie around as she stalks Tomohiro. She knows he has a secret and she won’t leave him alone. Not until she finds out why his drawing looked at her. No worries though, although Tomohiro seems to not want Katie’s attention, her really does, because let’s face it, he’s a teenage boy, and she’s a pretty girl. He just doesn’t want Katie to get hurt when she learns the truth.

Let’s be honest here. We have all read that YA book where one of the MC’s is hiding a paranormal secret. We’ve also read that YA book where stalking is ok and even seen as romantic. We’ve even lived through the epic love triangle between the heroine and the two male leads, both of whom are hiding a supernatrual secret. Yep, we have all read that book, and if we think really hard the title might just pop into our heads. Hmm…stalker, paranormal otherness, romance, love triangle, YA…..
While that list seems dense and makes INK seem like it’s not an original book, really that’s where the similarites stop. Sure, sure those elements smack of familiarness, and might give you flashbacks to the time when you were a noob in the YA genre and thought this certain book was the cats meow. But really the flashbacks fade after awhile and you lose yourself in Amanda’s writing, and story.
The Ink takes over.
I have a slight obsession with all things Japan in fiction. It started with MEMOIRS of a GEISHA and hasn’t let up. If a book has Japan in it I am instantly drawn to it. If it’s a YA or Romance, forget it that baby will be gracing my shelf or kindle. While I personally know nothing about the culture other than what I have read in fiction, seen in movies, and read in history books way back when I was in HS, INK seems to be genuine in it’s representation of Japan. It wasn’t over the top, but realistic. Which is always nice in a paranormal, some familiar ground, something that feel anchored to the real world always resonates with me. I’m not one of those readers that can totally dislodge myself from reality. So when I read things that are so over the top and out of this world I usually find myself mocking the ridiculous unreality of it.
The characters in this book weren’t anything new. As I’ve said before there are things in this book that we have seen in other books, but that’s ok because they are likable. Even Katie with her stalker ways. I liked her, I felt her pain as she was adjusting to this new world. Better yet, she’s not a wallflower. Sure when she thinks the boy doesn’t like her she gets down, but really who doesn’t. But she doesn’t stop her whole entire life because of it.
I was most definitely drawn to Tomo. He’s a dark character, he’s flawed and has scars. He has a bit of an edge to him. I like that in a male MC. I like it a lot.
INK is a weird mix for me because while I can legitimately say I have never read anything like it before! I can also say I have read books that have similarities to this one. And really, it’s not just the one book I allude to in the beginning of the review. Love triangles, secrets, and stalking are all very common themes in YA these days. It’s that aspect of the “WOW this is so cool. I love that ability,that’s cray! Tomo is so dreamy. Katie is so strong” that sets this book apart from the rest of the flock.
By the end of the book I was so engrossed that I didn’t even realize I was reading the preview for book 2. When it ended I was so mad. There is promise in these pages. Promise that this series could become on of my great book loves.
Oh and let’s not forget that cover. OMG! I love it! It’s so pretty, I must have it on my shelf!