Title: Ink (Paper Gods, #1) - Amanda Sun
Author: Amanda Sun
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Date Published: June 25, 2013
Summary (from Goodreads)
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.
This book started a little....off for me. First off, It immediately jumps into the story and throws the reader in a conversation filled with Japanese words which I didn't really expect. If it wasn't for the story being heavily anchored to Japan, i would've easily pegged this story as something many people on the internet would call a "weeaboo". I'm glad that Amanda Sun has managed to avoid that by making sure that the Japanese culture aspect of the story is nailed to the ground.
Katie Greene's mother died eight months prior to the beginning of the story, and due to her mother's will and her grandparents' medical condition, she has to stay with her mother's sister who resides in Japan. She has tried to live her life as average as she could, but an encounter with a mysterious guy named somehow changed her life forever. The whole dynamics of their relationship reminded me a lot of Twilight. Tomohiro being the dark and mysterious character that Katie must avoid if she wants any normality in her life. Despite the many attempts to avoid each other, they still manage to get very close. Many parts of the story did look typically "manga/anime"-ish what with the whole beach episode, but I didn't really mind it that much. The whole story also included the Yakuza, who were after Tomohisa's power. After that dangerous encounter, they managed to escape with the help of another one of Tomohisa's kind only this time they were made to pick between being together or separating for the good of themselves and everyone else. The whole "we're kami and we don't have to put ourselves in the shoes of human so let's just take over like before" opened up a little too late towards the end, which I wish was introduced earlier on.
The part where the author suggests that Katie was somehow connected to something so intrinsically Japanese as the "Kami" without even hinting at any Japanese connection to her was a little weird to me, but I guess that would be explained deeper in the later books.