Author: Amanda Sun
Format: Paperback and eBook
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Teen / YA Fantasy
Series: The Paper Gods, # 1
Best Read in Order: yes
Publication Date: 25 June, 2013
Pre-Order Now: Amazon § Barnes&Noble
About the Book:
I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.
Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.
A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.
And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.
Ink is in their blood.
On the heels of a family tragedy, Katie Greene must move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.
When Katie meets aloof but gorgeous Tomohiro, the star of the school’s kendo team, she is intrigued by him…and a little scared. His tough attitude seems meant to keep her at a distance, and when they’re near each other, strange things happen. Pens explode. Ink drips from nowhere. And unless Katie is seeing things, drawings come to life.
Somehow Tomo is connected to the kami, powerful ancient beings who once ruled Japan—and as feelings develop between Katie and Tomo, things begin to spiral out of control. The wrong people are starting to ask questions, and if they discover the truth, no one will be safe.
Combining a stranger in a strange land, ancient mythology and oddly morphing sketches this was a book that was filled with action and description, all setting the stage for what will be an enthralling series.
Katie’s mother has recently died, and the will states that she is to live with her aunt in the city of Shizuoka Japan. Struggling with her loss, learning a new city and language, and being wholly gaijin in a city without many foreigners, Katie is lonely, depressed and understandably at odds with everything. Her first encounter with Yuu Tomohiro, the ‘boy with a reputation’, was less than stellar, and left Katie feeling as if she was seeing things: sketches that fell from his notebook were moving.
Despite the uneasiness, Katie needs to satisfy her curiosity and follows Tomo, demanding answers. From that point forward, the ink seems to take on a life of its own.
Katie is a wonderfully written and created character: there is a core of strength and resilience within her that shines through. Her character felt honest and real: her confusions were easy to understand and feel, and despite all of the changes she was still determined to move forward and onward.
Tomo was a little more difficult to like and appreciate, sending massively mixed messages throughout the story, it took a while for his true nature to shine through. Although Katie saw glimpses of the good boy beneath the veneer of cold-hearted slouching teen boy, for quite a while there she was the only one to see the worthwhile bits.
The Kami influence was an interesting and often scary paranormal / mythological element: weaving through the story, effects ranging from awe inspiring to deadly frightening, and there are still more questions left to answer as the story continues.
This was a highly entertaining book, Amanda Sun manages to imbue a sense of Japan through her descriptions and the often confusing, to a non-Japanese, customs and social conventions. There is a solid sense of understanding a bit more of Japan and her people, if only from one teenaged girl’s perspective than one would expect. Secondary characters are all developed with enough detail to give them solid voice and presence, although this story does really focus on Tomo and Katie and their interactions and adventures.
I received a galley copy from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions were my own responsibility.
See more from the author Amanda Sun by visiting her Website