July 02, 2013

When passion leaps (literally) off the page

By Amanda Sun
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Sixteen-year-old Katie Green is a displaced American orphan who moves in with her aunt in Japan. Homesick and grief-stricken, Katie struggles to adjust to a foreign culture and language while trying to navigate the social hierarchy of a Japanese high school. Then Katie meets Yuu Tomohiro, an enigmatic senior boy with a bad reputation. Tomo warns her to keep away, but she can’t resist him, especially when she begins to suspect that makes drawings that move.

Tomo reveals to Katie that he is descended from the Kami, Japanese gods with great supernatural powers, and this allows his drawings to come to life and cause destruction. And somehow Katie is connected to the Kami as well. When she’s around Tomo, the ink reacts to her in unimaginable ways. The power to create moving illustrations can have disastrous consequences in the wrong hands, and Katie and Tomo soon find themselves running from the Japanese mob. As they fall passionately in love, their relationship seems doomed. When Katie has an opportunity to return home, she questions whether to return to safety or to stay in Japan with Tomo and face the dark world of the Kami.

At first, Ink reads a lot like Twilight. Katie, like Bella Swan, is a girl far from home who meets a brooding boy who warns her that he’s dangerous and she should stay away from him. However, the Japanese setting and intriguing mythology make this novel a standout. Amanda Sun, who lived in Japan as an exchange student, grounds her readers in an authentic Japan and even uses Japanese vocabulary in context. Katie doesn’t just have a cell phone—she has a keitai. The first in a series, Ink will draw in fans for its setting first, romance second.

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By Amanda Sun
Harlequin Teen
ISBN 9780373210718

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