Imagine life as you know it ends and you are dropped in a strange country where you barely know the language and a strange boy at school has drawings that come to life and attack you. Welcome to the life of Katie Greene; the unfortunate heroine of Amanda Sun's "Ink." After Katie's mother dies, she's sent to Japan to live with her aunt. With a rusty grasp of the language and customs, Katie struggles through school and tries to make some friends. She finds herself attracted to the resident bad boy, Tomohiro, who has these strange moving sketches.
This novel reads like a shojo manga; lost girl meets lost boy, one of the two is magical. and they fall in devoted love faster than the sakura bloom and fall. Most YA novels are following this pattern these days but the premise is very original and kept me reading despite how unrealistic the romance was to me.
The love story was the only part of this book I didn't have complete fun with. I loved the descriptions of regular life in Japan as Katie gets used to an entire new set of cultural norms. Even adjusting to the food was noted which was fascinating. You really get the sense of friction and frustration as a complete gaijin is thrust into a world she barely understands. However, ALL the boys wanna know Katie, she's just the girl everyone wants to date. I'm sure there's the draw of the exotic; the excitement of a foreign girl with blonde hair as a fresh transfer student is bound to draw the attention of all the other kids. But I still had trouble finding the romance believable. They were in love and willing to die for one another so fast, I had to take a moment to catch up.
Then again, I think the same about most shojo manga and the stories are designed to be that way; a light, whirlwind romance with the spice of danger of the supernatural. It's a fun, simple read that will talk to the heart of every young girl dreaming of an otherworldly bishonen to fall in love with. I recommend this to any fan of shojo who is looking for a novel along the same lines.
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