What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ink is a supernatural story of gods and monsters set in Japan, and the first book in The Paper Gods series. American Katie Greene has been sent to live with her aunt in Japan and falls in love with Yuu Tomohiro, a boy in her high school class. Tomo's an artist whose drawings come to life because he has a powerful connection to the Shinto gods of ancient Japan -- which also makes him a target of the Yakuza. Katie and Tomo are both in Kendo Club, where they learn hand-to-hand combat, which comes into play when fighting dangerous monsters and humans. Katie and Tomo kiss, and he also takes her to a "love hotel." Strong language and insults include "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," "hell," "stupid," "jerk," "crap," "pissed," "f--k," and "screw you."
What's the story?
Sixteen year-old Katie Green feels like a fish out of water in Amanda Sun's debut novel, INK. After her mother's death, Katie moves to Shizouka, Japan, to live with her aunt. Despite constantly worrying about being a ganjin (foreigner), as well as struggling with the language and culture, Katie makes friends and tries to make the best of it. But then mysterious Yuu Tomohiro steps into the picture and turns Katie's world upside down. And not just because he's cute. Tomo's an artist, and Katie notices that his drawings move. When even stranger things start to occur, including the thick ink that flows constantly in his presence, Katie becomes curious and follows him. When Katie come face-to-face with why Tomo's drawings come to life, she's not prepared to grasp Tomo's powerful connection to the ancient Shinto gods.
Is it any good?
Author Amanda Sun does a fairly good job creating an atmospheric novel set in a Japanese high school. The concept of Ink is interesting and unique, but it has a very Twilight feel. The mysterious guy who's untouchable and elusive and the girl who pines for him isn't anything new in YA literature. For the most part, Katie complains at every turn. She doesn't like living in Japan and she can hardly speak the language -- despite understanding what the other characters (who are speaking Japanese) say. Japanese words are scattered throughout, but it feels as if they're dropped in just to remind readers they're in Japan.
Katie instantly falls for Tomo. At first, he doesn't want anything to do with her, and who can blame him? She's a stalker. She follows him around everywhere, despite Tomo clearly expressing that he doesn't like it, and readers might not, either. What Ink does have going for it are Japanese culture, the feel of Japan, and the paranormal element of the Shinto gods.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about Katie and Tomo's relationship. Could Katie have befriended and learned more about Tomo without stalking his every move?
What did you learn about about Japanese culture in Ink?
What did you think of the ending? Will you read the second book in the series?
|Topics:||Magic and fantasy, Sports and martial arts, Adventures, High school, Misfits and underdogs, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires|
|Publication date:||June 25, 2013|
|Number of pages:||384|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||14 - 17|
|Available on:||iBooks, Kindle, Nook|