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Ink (Harlequin Teen)

Ink - Amanda Sun The Good
  1. Japan. This novel's big selling point is Sun's ability to create a true sense of place. As you read, you are totally immersed in Japanese culture, language, and customs. I liked how Japanese words were scattered throughout the story, leaving the reader to figure out the meaning based off of context clues. It made me feel a lot like Katie would have felt on a daily basis. She knows a little bit of Japanese, but she is thrown head first into a culture where she is expected to become fluent very quickly. It is unlikely she knows all the words that are said to her in any conversation she has.

The Bad
  1. The romance. The minute Katie is introduced to "the gorgeous Tomohiro," you know exactly where the romantic part of the story is going. She is infatuated, despite the fact that he is clearly a moody jerk. She has spent hardly any time with him at all before she starts worrying when she sees him hugging other girls. Really? Come on now. At least the kind-of love triangle that is created shortly after has a significantly less frustrating love interest, but it doesn't really matter because Katie doesn't give him the time of day. She's too busy following Tomohiro around like a puppy dog.
  2. The moodiness. In the true "Twilight" style, Katie continues to chase after Tomohiro despite the facts: 1. He is well-known by the majority of the school's population to be a violent jerk. 2. He TOLD her to stay away from him and that he is bad news. 3. He constantly jumps back and forth like a bipolar person between treating her like a princess and being an insufferable asshole to her for absolutely no good reason. This is completely stupid. I am so tired of YA doing this crap.

Overall Rating

2/5 - I think if I was more interested in Japan and Japanese culture, this book would have been significantly more enjoyable. That being said, the wonderful setting Sun creates is just not enough to offset the horrible romance that completely overwhelms the novel. Katie is ridiculously infatuated with Tomohiro, and the way he treats her is so reminiscent of "Twilight" that as I was reading I literally imagined Bella and Edward in Japan. I wish this had focused less on this badly-constructed romance and more on the Kami, as I think that part of the story was much stronger. I would recommend this book to people who love Japan and Japanese culture, keeping in mind that you are going to have to endure a LOT of "Twilight" romance for those culture tidbits.