Ink (Paper Gods #1) by Amanda Sun
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Goodreads link: (click here)
What's it about?
After the sudden death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Katie Green is left with no family near her to live with. Her father left years ago, her grandparents live in Canada and her aunt lives in Shizuoka, Japan and Katie is alone in her house with the ghost of her mothers memories. If Katie had it her way, she's be moving to Canada to live with her grandparents. She's been there to visit and even has a few friends there, but her grandfather's health isn't very good right now, so she can't move there until he's doing better. That leaves only one other option...uprooting her entire life and moving halfway around the world to live with her aunt in Japan. Japan, where they speak Japanese and Katie doesn't. Not only will Katie be dealing with the grief of losing her mother, but she's going to have to adapt to a whole new culture. She convinces herself it's only temporary until her grandparents are ready to take her in, but for now she has no choice but to eat from bento boxes, struggle through the language barrier, remember to take her shoes off when she enters buildings and enjoy the cherry blossoms.
Katie soon makes a few friends (and figures out how to figure out where the bathrooms are since the signs aren't in English) and is reluctantly settling into school. She's getting to know her aunt better, but she still wants to take the first plane out of this place as soon as she can. That is, until she meets Tomohiro. Tomo is a quiet, tough and gorgeous kendo star at the school Katie is attending. She knows he's probably trouble, but there's something about him that intrigues her. Strange things happen whenever they are near each other. Pens explode, ink appears from nowhere and drawings appear to move off of the paper. If anything, Katie wants to figure out what's happening and why. Her curiosity and her growing feelings for Tomo may put them both in terrible danger.
At first she fears Tomohiro is connected to the yakuza, but what they will be facing is far more dangerous. Katie discovers that the strange occurances with the ink have something to do with the kami, ancient Japanese gods. The powers she and Tomo wield together are far more perilous and harder to control than they could ever imagine, and there are a lot of corrupt people who want to take this power for themselves.
Romance, adventure, gods and paper monsters await Katie in her new life in a foreign land. Hopefully, she can survive to see another beautiful Japanese sunrise.
I am officially...
I loved it! This is one of my new favorite series and I'm so happy.
In all seriousness though, this is a gorgeous book. The writing is beautiful and makes you feel like you are right there in Japan. The characters are wonderful and the story is fun, exciting and imaginative. Oh, my goodness, the romance...totally swoon-worthy! Tomohiro would can totally be my book boyfriend any day. If you are an anime fan or if you love Japan/Japanese culture, this book is a must read. I included it not long ago in a list I made of books that anime fans will enjoy. You can see the list HERE . There are a lot of Romanized Japenese phrases throughout the book, which I loved since I can understand some Japanese from watching anime. Don't worry if you don't, because if it's not explained immediately within the sentence or by context, there is a handy glossary in the back of the book. There are also beautiful drawings interspersed throughout to enhance the experience since it is, after all, about drawings that come to life. This is a magical adventure with romance, ancient powers, breathtaking settings, Japanese culture, cute boys and a spunky, likable herione. Like I said, I'm obsessed!
The short prequel, Shadow (Paper Gods #0.5) is currently available as an eBook. Even though it's a prequel, I recommend reading it AFTER reading Ink. It tells the story of before Katie arrives in Japan and it begins during her mother's funeral. It alternates between Katie and Tomohiro though, and in his chapters it gives away some of the mystery surrounding his powers.
The sequel to Ink, Rain (Paper Gods #2) is available right now as well. The final installment, Storm (Paper Gods #3), will be realeased June 30th, 2015. Sadly, there is no cover yet to post (those covers are so pretty!).