Ink by Amanda SunInk by Amanda Sun

Ink

byAmanda Sun

Paperback | June 25, 2013

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about

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 himand 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.
Amanda Sun was born in Deep River, a small town where she could escape into the surrounding forest to read. An archaeologist by training, she speaks several languages and will write your name in Egyptian Hieroglyphics if you ask. Her debut novel, INK, is the first in the Paper Gods series and is inspired by her time in Japan, with a pa...
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Title:InkFormat:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8.23 × 5.44 × 1.03 inPublished:June 25, 2013Publisher:HarlequinLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:037321071X

ISBN - 13:9780373210718

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Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh It was interesting but I wouldn't say I loved it.
Date published: 2017-02-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointed :( Not even a Japanese setting was enough to keep this manga/anime-lover hooked. To be honest, I couldn’t finish because I found the story boring and, despite its unique premise, unoriginal. The love story between Katie and Tomohiro is predominant, but not compelling. Even though they get to know each other over months, to the reader it feels like their relationship is insta-love because “as the weeks passed by…” or whatever just isn’t enough to cut it. We want to experience this love story. We do get some Katie/Tomo moments, but they mostly consist of Katie’s fascination with him, his teasing, her anger, and then his laughter. It’s all pretty bland and repetitive. There’s nothing swoony going on, and I don’t really buy their awkward meeting turning into a friendship and then romance so quickly. Also, there are other guys interested in Katie. Of course. I get that she’s a blonde American girl and that’s an exotic turn-on, but having three guys crush on one girl is annoying and irrelevant. Can’t a girl ever have some purely platonic relationships with guys? Also, Amanda Sun could have (should have) played more on the mythology she incorporated. Mythology is always interesting, and it could have made this story so much richer. It could have increased the danger, suspense, and adventure factors. Instead this is mostly a star-crossed lovers story with not much going on plot-wise. Sun definitely missed out on a great opportunity here. In terms of main character, Katie is okay, but she is mean to her aunt, who took her in after her mother died. Also, her obsession with Tomo… need I say more? Haven’t we had enough of these girls? She doesn’t even pay her new friends much attention anymore after she starts to hang out with him. Also, she digs herself many of the obvious holes she falls into. Overall, I would say skip this one.
Date published: 2017-02-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not Great I bought this book because the cover looked great and I love Japanese culture but the plot and the ending did not please me
Date published: 2016-12-26
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Eh I thought the concept of the book was pretty cool, but I was not really into the actual writing style, and the ending didn't leave me satisfied at all.
Date published: 2016-12-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A disappointment Not even a Japanese setting was enough to keep this anime-lover hooked. To be honest, I couldn’t finish because I found the story boring and, despite its unique premise, unoriginal. The love story between Katie and Tomohiro is predominant, but not compelling. Even though they get to know each other over months, to the reader it feels like their relationship is insta-love because “as the weeks passed by…” or whatever just isn’t enough to cut it. We want to experience this love story. We do get some Katie/Tomo moments, but they mostly consist of Katie’s fascination with him, his teasing, her anger, and then his laughter. It’s all pretty bland and repetitive. There’s nothing swoony going on, and I don’t really buy their awkward meeting turning into a friendship and then romance so quickly. Also, there are other guys interested in Katie. Of course. I get that she’s a blonde American girl and that’s an exotic turn-on, but having three guys crush on one girl is annoying and irrelevant. Can’t a girl ever have some purely platonic relationships with guys? Also, Amanda Sun could have (should have) played more on the mythology she incorporated. Mythology is always interesting, and it could have made this story so much richer. It could have increased the danger, suspense, and adventure factors. Instead this is mostly a star-crossed lovers story with not much going on plot-wise. Sun definitely missed out on a great opportunity here. In terms of main character, Katie is okay. She has a fairly unique voice, but she is mean to her aunt, who took her in after her mother died. Also, her obsession with Tomo… need I say more? Haven’t we had enough of these girls? She doesn’t even pay her new friends much attention anymore after she starts to hang out with him. Also, she digs herself many of the obvious holes she falls into. Overall, I would say skip this one.
Date published: 2016-01-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointing I picked up this book because the cover looked interesting. After reading the blurb I thought the story might be good. It wasn't. The only decent thing about this book was how the author described Japan. The relationship between the two main characters didn't seem real or passionate at all. I was bored but decided to continue the series and read the second book. I wish I had stopped at the first one. The second one just became more ridiculous and I won't be reading the third.
Date published: 2015-11-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting read The book was really good, initially I only decided to read it because the author was from the same place. However the idea of using Japanese mythology was something I've never tried before and it was a unique and fun book. It wasn't quite as serious as other books based on mythology I've read but it did have it's darker moments. All in all I found the book to be a some what griping and entertaining read.
Date published: 2015-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING I purchased this book off of bookdepository a couple months ago after I had seen it being hauled by booktubers. I didn't even think twice as soon as I heard that this book takes place in Japan. I may be a bit bias on this book because my undying love for Japan. If you don't know me then you wouldn't know that the whole reason I am attending university is so that I can teach in Japan. So first of all can we just take a minute and look at the beautiful cover, now for those of you who have not seen this book in person you wouldn't know that the cover actually looks and feels like a canvas for painting. Every little detail in this book is amazing. I love that Amanda Sun got herself an artist to draw little things on pages. I enjoyed that there were falling sakura leaves in a flip-page animation, as well as the falling bird to go along with that part of the story. You can tell just how much love Amanda put into this book. So this story follows a girl name Katie Greene, who has just recently moved to Japan after the death of her mother. She is forced to live with her aunt who teaches in Japan because her grandfather is dealing with cancer so she was unable to move in with them in Canada. Katie is put straight into a full Japanese school where her aunt believes that she will catch on to the language easier if she is completely immersed. There she meets Tomohiro Yuu, a tough looking guy who keeps telling her to stay away. Katie is so stubborn and bold that she doesn't listen because something about Tomo keeps pulling her in. Katie also starts to see that anything that is drawn on paper starts to move, from little doodles on her pages at school to sketches that Tomohiro does. First she thinks she is just seeing things, going crazy, but she soon realizes that there is more to Tomohiro than she thinks. Tomohiro happens to be a Kami, a descendant of the sun goddesses Amaterasu. Not only that but the Yakuza are after her and him as well. From the first page, the detail in the story made me feel like I was right there in Japan with Katie. I loved every moment of the story, all the details from the way the cherry blossoms looked on the trees to the fact that she uses Japanese words to explain things like Conbini instead of Convenience store. Amanda did an amazing job immersing her readers right into the amazing world that is Japan. This book has made me want to find even more books written around/about/set in Japan, I don't know why there aren't more. I also didn't hesitate to pick up the second book in the series and preorder the third. If you love Japan like I do I suggest you give this book a try, or even if you are looking for a good fantasy type novel that takes place in a new type of setting, you should check this one out as well. I highly recommend it! 5 out of 5 stars!!
Date published: 2015-04-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good mythology aspects An American teenager dropped into an entirely different country, culture and language is thrust in this entire new world where everything is new again. Then in comes Tomohiro and her life starts to change. She starts to see drawings literally come to life. Ink has so much Japanese culture, you just know Amanda Sun visited Japan. Every walk down the street, every corner is described in intricate detail. I loved it. I felt like I was right there in Shizuoka, Japan myself. I loved the words that were used and the little glossary in the back. I love the phrases and the style of the Japanese culture. So well researched! But then I realized this felt more like a Japanese drama or more simply put a romance because we get to see very little mythology descriptions. It felt a little flat and there wasn't a whole lot of story from the paranormal aspect. I felt a little let down only because everything else was so good. I just felt that the romance too importance of the story and that distracted me from ever really seeing or in this case understanding what was happening. Where did she get the powers? How does Tomo relate to this all? Why are they even after him in the first place? If only some of these questions would be answered. Because not everything in a teen book has to be about a boy. Beautiful intricate writing with a promising mystery, Ink will have you transported to Japan and make you want to stay there in all it's wonderful glory.
Date published: 2014-10-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read it in one day This book is amazing, especially if you're a fan of anime and manga. This book is definitely for you!!
Date published: 2014-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from It's worth my life, but it isn't worth yours. Three things stood out for me when I first heard of Ink, it was published from Harlequin Teen, the FABULOUS cover and finally the book was set in Japan. As you guys know I tend to love all things Harlequin Teen, they are practically my favourite publishing. The books they published always and I mean always spark a interest for me and I can never put there books down, that wasn't any different with Ink. My goodness the cover! Inks has a totally different from any of the other covers I've ever seen, it's so unique with it's water-colour picture. I don't think I've seen anything involving watercolour in forever, it was a nice change especially with the beautiful cover design by Petra Dufkova, and to make the water-colour more life like the covers texture actually feels like water-colour paper. The blossoms on the cover were my favourite<3 Over the years I've read many and I mean MANY different books with different places that the book was set in, most of the time they would occur somewhere in the United States but everyone in a while I would get to experience a new place I'd never heard of before or been to in real life. Some like India, England, Prague, and Canada. But this was my first time reading/being in Japan! I was totally like Katie was when she first came to Japan. A gaijin. The language and the culture were new to me. When Amanda first put a Japanese word in a paragraph I kind of panicked, how would I understand what the characters were saying? Thankfully every time a new word was introduced Amanda would then have Katie translate it for us in her head, but she would only translate it for us maybe once or twice then it would be up to us to remember what it meant. I am not the best when it comes to remembering what words are in different languages so the fact that the back of the book had a glossary of the Japanese words and phrases saved my life. I can't wait to see what other new words and new things I'll learn in Rain Japanese wise. Canada was also mentioned as couple times through out the book, Katie's grandparents lived there. I know it was only mentioned a few times, but it made me few better knowing it was mentioned more then New York was.( Katie's old home) Most of the time Canada doesn't get a into a lot of YA book related things, so it being mentioned in the book and where the author lives made me like the book just a little bit more. ( Sorry I am a little biased that way.) The dark mysterious dangerous boy, Yuu Tomohiro was all of it. Even in Japan those types of boys attract the girls, it's like they just can't help it. Well I know I wouldn't if Yuu was the case aha. With teenagers now a days creativity comes in different forms, normally they only with electronics forms now. Calligraphy is sort of rare now, not many people find it interesting. Well I can only speak for North America. Either way it touched my heart to see a boy that loved art, most of the time boys will only focus on sports. Yuu had a healthy balance of both. The only thing that bothered me about Yuu was the way he would try to protect people. Pushing people away while being as rude as you possibly can is not the way to go. I see Katie as one of the strongest people in Ink, to loose your mother and have to a completely different continent in a sort span of time takes courage which not everyone has. And to have yourself not a wreak after a few months is even more of a big deal. If something were to happen to my mother and I was put in the same situation as Katie I don't think I'd ever be able to put myself back together. The art was phenomenal. The way Amanda would just describe the artwork created the most beautiful images in my head, and to have it come to life? It was magical. Sketches are my favourite, so in the case of the pictures in the book, the pictures Yuu would draw were black and white which made the pictures much more lifelike to me. Then to make the book more realistic artist Ross Siu would recreate the drawings that Yuu would "draw" in the book, so we got to really see what the pictures looked like. The Kami intrigue me, I've always been fascinated by mythology. Mythology is one of my favourite things to learn and read about. Greek, Egyptian and Hindi being some of my favourites. So I hope to be able to learn more about the Kami in Amanda's next novel because at this point we don't know a whole lot about them yet. I honestly can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Rain, the sequel to Ink which releases June 24th, 2014. But before you do, don't forget to check out the e-novella Shadow that takes place before the events in Ink and learn more about Yuu and Katie.
Date published: 2014-06-11
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Great premise, lackluster execution. I have never been more disappointed in a book than ever before. Great looking cover. Definitely caught my eye. Then the promise of Japanese mythology and a story set in Japan drew me further in. That's all it was, tho. A promise that went unfulfilled. In a nutshell, Ink is a bad mash up of 2F2F:Tokyo Drift and Twilight. Except with kami (Japanese gods) instead of vampires, without the fast cars, and it's the ink that sparkles, not the tortured bad boy hero. Aside from the formulaic storyline, Ink is plagued with clichés and just about the worst stereotypes from both the paranormal YA and those found in Japanese animé-manga. The almost random sprinkling of Japanese phrases and words only make for a distracted narrative. Even the main characters are painfully annoying and lack any sort of depth. The fantasy element, unfortunately, takes a backseat to insta-love. More about the ink and kami world might've made this a more palatable read, but as it were, stay away and save your money (and time).
Date published: 2014-03-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Ink Exciting and mysterious teen supernatural book. Light and easy to read. I found myself very interested in the Japanese culture and enjoyed learning the language throughout the book. What attracted me to read the book is the painting on the cover, simply beautiful. Looking forward to volume two.
Date published: 2013-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Didn't Disappoint Me at All. Wow, I loved the plot and events for this. It was different from what i usually read because this one was set in Japan but the characters and the plot were totally amazing. They didn't disappoint but I thought the relationship between the characters were a little too slow to get started then when they did they picked up fast. The plot was capturing and kept my attention the whole time. The Idea and the events were amazing and different. There could have been a little more conflict but that's ok because it was still good.
Date published: 2013-07-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Breathtaking Magical Cultural Ride! At first I was a little bit hesitant to ask for a review copy of Ink by Amanda Sun; lately the books I’ve been reading and trying desperately to review haven’t been up to par with what I was expecting. I had such high hopes for Ink that I didn’t want to be disappointed yet again. BUT I am thrilled to declare and discuss with you all that Ink is EXACTLY what the synopsis describes and SO much more. Amanda Sun, debut author from Harlequin Teen has woven a simplistic magical tale for teenagers of all ages, male or female – which is hard to do! Ink follows Katie Greene an American, blonde haired outsider in a new country, new school and new life. Tragedy has struck Katie’s life and she is trying to learn how to cope with it while also trying to learn a new language and stay afloat in school. On top of that it is never easy being the new kid, but try being the new kid while maneuvering an entirely new set of cultural standards; it’s hard enough to not walk into the men’s washroom! Katie is quirky; she is funny, adorable, and strong. She is such a strong female character that Katie becomes ideal for any teenager to strive to be like. She copes with unimaginable pain while trying to fit in, and make friends – like any normal teenager. She even is able to find romance with the most unexpected of characters, Tomohiro *swoon* Katie is a survivor in a contemporary sense, and I think that is what I really liked about her as a main character. She had such depth, and determination to make the very best of her situation, and in the end it changed who she was in ways almost none of us will ever know. As Katie grew into an American living in Japan instead of an American “coping” or “just passing through” in Japan, so too did the reader. The atmosphere and setting of the story was absolutely breathtaking. (Side note: Japan was already on my top 5 places to travel to in my life – it is now my #1 place) The knowledge base the Sun had to develop and mould into Ink was well worth it; the setting is descriptive and lively – I could picture Japan and the city of Shizuoka so perfectly in my mind I almost felt like I was there. My absolutely FAVOURITE moment when reading was about the cherry blossom blooming in the park Katie had to go through to get to school every day. The image the reader creates is absolutely gorgeous, and makes for some very romantic settings *wink wink* If you’re still unconvinced that this book is for you than take into consideration the magical element of the “Gods” this book revolves around called Kami’s. The historical element of Japan drives the myth and magical elements of this book; Ink opens up the readers mind to a new culture and their beliefs while also weaving a tale of romance, adventure and grief. The “magical” element is not just the Paper Gods but in the country of Japan, in the people, the culture and even the North American references that Anime and Manga admirers will enjoy! When you’re reading Ink you’re not just reading another Young Adult fantasy book, you’re investing in a cultural trip through the eyes of a North American teenager. The reader is experiencing first had the trials and tribulations of grief, and the cultural shock of being thrown into an entirely new world with no warning. You’re exploring new people, food, language and religion while falling in love with the setting of Shizuoka, Japan and head over heels in love with the characters. Not only is Amanda Sun taking a chance with the cultural differences and contemporary take on Fantasy Ink has, but we the reader are taking a chance on Ink – AND BOY does it deliver! Looking for a story to deliver a magical ride with breathtaking history, enchanting artwork, and a heart stopping, action packed, swoon worthy story? LOOK NO FURTHER!
Date published: 2013-07-01

Read from the Book

I made it halfway across the courtyard before I realized I was still wearing my school slippers. No lie. I had to turn around and slink all the way back to the genkan, the stifled laughs from my classmates trailing me as I mustered what slippered dignity I could.God, way to scream foreigner. You'd think after a couple of weeks I'd have the routine down, but no. I'd gone into that mode again, the one where I forgot everything for a minute and walked dazed through the sounds of the Japanese being spoken around me, not fully comprehending that it wasn't English, that I was on the other side of the world, that Mom was"Katie!"I looked up to see Yuki running toward me, breaking from a group of girls who stopped chatting, staring at us. Their stares weren't unfriendly—they just weren't exactly subtle. I guess that's expected when you're the only Amerika-jin in the school.Yuki grabbed my arms with her slender fingers. "You do not want to go in there," she said in English, motioning at the school entrance behind us."Um, I kind of have to," I answered in broken Japanese. Forget English, Diane had said. It's the easiest way to get fluent faster. It's easier to forget everything, I guess. Forget I ever had any other kind of life.Yuki shook her head, so I pointed at my slippered feet. "You still shouldn't," she said, this time in Japanese. I liked that about Yuki—she knew I was trying. She didn't insist on English like some of the other kids. "There's an ugly breakup going on in the genkan. Really, really awkward.""What am I supposed to do, wait?" I said. "I'll just be in and out, ten seconds." I held out my fingers for emphasis."Trust me," she said, "you don't want to get in the middle of this."I peeked around her shoulder, but I couldn't see anything through the glass. I tapped the toe of my slipper on the ground; it felt so flimsy."Some big shot?" I said in English, and Yuki cocked her head to the side. "You know, a daiji na hito or something?" If Yuki was worried, it was probably gossip-worthy.She leaned in conspiratorially. "Yuu Tomohiro," she whispered. In Japan, everyone went by their last names first. "He's fighting with Myu.""Who?"Yuki's friends giggled behind us. Had they been eavesdropping the whole time?"Myu, his girlfriend," she said."No, I know Myu. The other one," I said."Yuu Tomohiro?" Yuki said, her arms waving wildly as if that would jog a memory I didn't have. "Top of the kendo team? They let him get away with almost anything. You don't want to draw his attention, trust me. He has this cold stare. I dunnohe seems dangerous.""So, what, he's going to stare me down?"Yuki rolled her eyes. "You don't get it. He's unpredictable. You don't want to make enemies with a third year in your first two weeks, do you?"I bit my lip, trying to peer through the glass door again. I didn't need more attention, that's for sure. I just wanted to blend in, get my homework done and drift through school until Nan and Gramps could take me in. But I also didn't want to stand in the courtyard in a pair of slippers, stuck for who knows how long. Anyway, it's not like they could make my life a living hell if I left Japan, and it would all be sorted out soon, right? This wasn't where Mom intended me to end up. I knew that."I'm going in," I said."You're crazy," Yuki said, but her eyes shone with excitement."They don't scare me."Yuki raised her fists up to her chin. "Faito," she said. Fight. In her most encouraging, you-can-do-it voice.I grinned a little, then stepped toward the door. Even from outside I could hear the muffled yelling. When it died down for a minute, I took my chance.Just in and out. I'm in slippers, for god's sake. They're not even going to hear me.I pulled open the door and let it close quietly behind me before I stepped onto the raised wooden floor. My heartbeat pounded in my ears. The yelling was still muffled, and I realized the couple were on the other side of the sliding door into the school. Perfect—no way they'd see me now.I snuck between the rows and rows of shoe cubbies looking for mine. It wasn't hard to find—it was the only one with a pair of leather shoes sticking out approximately a mile, surrounded by the neatly tucked-away slippers in everyone else's boxes. We all wore slippers in the school to keep it clean, but they weren't your typical cozy bedroom slippers. They were more like papery white f lats. Japan had slippers for everything—school, house, toilet room, you name it.I reached for my shoes as Myu's high and whiny voice echoed from the hallway behind the sliding door. Rolling my eyes, I pulled off the first slipper and then the other, clunking my shoes onto the floor and sliding my feet in.And then the door slid open with a crash.I crouched down, jolted by the footsteps stomping toward me. I did not want in on this performance."Matte!" Myu shouted, followed by a flurry of shuffling footsteps. "Wait!"I glanced at the door to the courtyard—too far to make it without being seen. And just by trying to plan my escape route, I'd waited too long. If she saw me now, the way I was pressed against the wall all spylike, she'd think I was eavesdropping, and I didn't need rumors circulating about me. I was already a gaijin, an outsider—I didn't need to be a weirdo, too."Oi," said a second, annoyed voice. It was deep and rich—must be Yuu Tomohiro, dangerous kendo star. He didn't sound that dangerous. In fact, he sounded pretty disinterested. Cold, like Yuki had said.Myu rapidly churned out Japanese words I didn't know. I caught a particle here and a past tense there, but let's face it— I'd only been in the country for a little more than a month and studying for five. I'd crammed all the Japanese I could, but I realized the minute I was on the plane that it had all been useless if I wanted to have a real conversation. At least I could name just about all the fruits and vegetables in the grocery store.Great plan there. Real useful. Things had improved since I arrived, but still, talking to Yuki or taking notes in class was not the same as following the high-pitched babbling of a major social breakup like this one. That was hard enough in English. I could really only make out the most important detail, which was that she was seriously pissed. You didn't need much vocab to tell.I peeked around the wall of cubbies, hugging the wooden frame so I wouldn't be seen. Yuu Tomohiro had stopped in his tracks, his back to me and his head tilted back, staring up at her. Myu's long legs made her school uniform look scandalously short, her kneesocks slumped in coils around her ankles. She clutched a black book at the top of the steps, her nails painted neatly in pinks and glittery silver."What is this? What is it?" she said over and over, waving the book in Yuu's face.HmmI thought. A notebook?Yuu Tomohiro shrugged and climbed the steps back up to the sliding door. He reached for the notebook, but Myu whisked it behind her. He sighed as he leaned back against the opened door, his slipper pressing against the wooden frame."Well?" Myu said."What's it look like?" he said. "A notebook."I rolled my eyes, even though my answer had been pretty much the same."Baka ja nai no?" Myu shrieked at him.He was taller than her, but not when he slouched like that against the wall. And the more she fumed at him, the farther he seemed to slouch into the door. He shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his navy blue school blazer and tilted his head down, like he couldn't stand to even look at her or something. His copper hair, too bright to be natural, flipped in every direction like he hadn't taken the time to brush it, and he'd grown his bangs long—the way he was staring at the floor made the tips of them brush against his eyelashes.I felt the heat rise up my neck. Yuki had not warned me he was so, well, pretty. Okay, gorgeous. I almost expected sparkles and rainbows to burst out of the walls anime-style, except his lips were turned in a smirk, and the way he crumpled against the wall exuded a smug superiority.It was obvious Myu got the message. She looked absolutely livid."You think I'm stupid?" she said again. "Or are you?""Does it matter?"What the heck had I walked into?I couldn't tear my eyes away. Myu's face was puffy and pink, and every now and then her words got all choked up in her throat. She threw a string of questions into the air and they hung there with no reply. She became more frantic, the silence more tense.What the hell did he do?Cheat on her, maybe. That was the obvious answer or she wouldn't be so pissed. And he had no reply for it, because really, what could he say?Yuu Tomohiro shook his head, the copper strands dancing around, and his head suddenly twisted to the cubbies beside me.I shrunk flat against the wall, squeezing my eyes shut and praying he didn't see me. Myu had stopped ranting and a thick silence fell over the genkan."Is someone there?" she said.Oh, crap—he had seen me. It was all over. I'd forever be the gaijin who has no life and eavesdrops on bad breakups to sate my emo side."No one," he said, but it sounded off.I couldn't bear it and I peeked around the cubby wall. Yuu was looking away. So he hadn't seen me after all. Thank god—I could go back to just being the Slipper Slinker.Myu's eyes puffed up and overflowed, the tears streaming down her cheeks. "So it's really true," she said. "She's pregnant."Oh my god. What is this? Who are these people?"Sou mitai," Tomohiro smirked, which was way too casual a yes. A response like that was downright cruel. Even I knew that.Myu's glittery fingernails tightened around the book. She raised it high above her shoulders, the loose papers inside it slipping until it was a mess of corners.Then she hurled the book at the floor.The notebook exploded with pages as it trailed down, the papers catching in the air and filling the room like rain. They twirled and twisted as they came down, white edges framing thick lines of black ink and charcoal. They fluttered down to the floor like cherry petals.One of the drawings fell in front of me, tapping gently against the end of my shoe as it came to a rest."What the hell?" Yuu shouted, picking up the book from the floor."What did it all mean, then?" she whispered. "What was I to you?"Yuu straightened to his full height and tilted his chin back until his gleaming dark eyes gazed straight into hers. He took two swaggering steps toward her, bending forward until their lips almost met. Myu's eyes widened.He stood silently for a moment. Then he looked to the side, and I saw a pained look in his eyes. He breathed heavily, his cheeks pink, his eyes glossy. So he did have feelings after all, the beast. He started to reach for her chin with his fingers. And then his hand suddenly dropped into his pocket and he laughed."Betsu ni," he said in a velvet voice. Nothing special.You're lying, I thought. Why are you lying?But Myu looked like she'd been punched in the gut. And even with the cultural barriers that stood in my way, it was clear to me that he'd just discounted all her suffering, her feelings—the whole relationship. He looked like he didn't give a shit, and that's pretty much what he'd said.Myu's face turned a deep crimson, and her black hair clung to the sides of her snot-streaked face. Her hands squeezed into fists at her sides. Her gaze of hope turned cold and listless, like a mirror of Yuu's face.And then Myu lifted her hand and slugged him right in the jaw. She hit him so hard his face twisted to the left.He lifted his hand to rub his cheek, and as he raised his eyes, they locked with mine.Shit.His gaze burned into me and I couldn't move. Heat flooded my cheeks, and shame tingled down my neck.I couldn't look away. I stared at him with my mouth open.But he didn't call me out. He lifted his head, flicked his gaze back to Myu and pretended I didn't exist. I let out a shaky breath."Saitei," she spat, and I heard footsteps. After a moment, the door to the hallway slid shut.I let out a breath.Well, that was today's dose of awkward.I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.A girl lay back on a bench, roughly sketched in scrawls of ink as she looked out over the moat of Sunpu Park. She wore a school uniform, a tartan skirt clinging to her crossed legs. Little tufts of grass and flowers tangled with the bench legs, which had to be creative license—it was still too cold for blooms.The girl was beautiful, in her crudely outlined way, with a lick of hair stuck to the back of her neck, her elbow resting against the top of the bench and her hand behind her head. She looked out at the moat of Sunpu Park, the sunlight sparkling off the dark water.A pregnant bump of stomach curved under her blouse.The other girl.A queasy feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.And then the sketched girl on the bench turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine. A chill shuddered through me. Oh my god. She's looking at me.A hand snatched the paper out of mine. I looked up, my mind reeling, straight into the face of Yuu Tomohiro.He slammed the page facedown on top of the pile of drawings he'd collected. He stood too close, so that he hovered over me."Did you draw that?" I whispered in English. He didn't answer, staring hard at me. His cheek burned red and puffy where Myu had hit him.I stared back. "Did you draw it?"He smirked. "Kankenai darou!"I looked at him blankly, and he sneered."Don't you speak Japanese?" he said. I felt my cheeks flush with shame. He looked like he'd settled some sort of battle in his mind, and he turned, walking slowly away."She moved," I blurted out.He stumbled, just a little, but kept walking.But I saw him stumble. And I saw the drawing look at me.Didn't I? My stomach churned. That was impossible, wasn't it?He went up the stairs, clutching the papers to his chest."She moved!" I said again, hesitant."I don't speak English," he said and slammed the door. It slid into the wall so hard it bounced back a little. I saw his shadow against the frosted glass of the door as he walked away.Something oozed through the bottom of the sliding door, sluggish like dark blood. Did Myu hit him that hard?The liquid dripped down the stairs, and after a moment of panic, I realized it was ink, not blood. From the drawings she'd thrown, maybe, or a cartridge of ink he'd kept inside the notebook.I stood for a minute watching it drip, thinking of the burning eyes of the girl staring at me, the same flame in Yuu's eyes.Had Myu seen it, too? Would anyone believe me? I wasn't even sure what the heck I'd seen.It couldn't be real. I was too tired, overwhelmed in a country where I struggled to even communicate. That was the only answer.I hurried toward the front door and out into the fresh spring air. Yuki and her friends had already vanished. I checked my watch—must be for a club practice. Fine. I was too jittery to talk about what I'd seen anyway. I ran across the courtyard, sans slippers this time, through the gate of Suntaba School and toward the weaving pathways of Sunpu Park.

Editorial Reviews

"Ink is a book that you sit down to read when you have a spare few minutes and then you look up and hours have passed a completely captivating story." -Book Passage Bookstore