From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Still distraught over her mother's sudden death, Katie is unwillingly transplanted from New York to live with her aunt and attend high school in Shizuoka, Japan. Her already off-kilter life turns truly surreal when she has a run-in with the school's handsome yet troubled kendo star, Tomohiro, who draws sketches that seem to come to life. Determined to uncover the truth behind his supernatural artistry, Katie becomes entangled in a web of secrets involving the ancient gods of Japan. Readers will relate to the spunky heroine, even as she makes some questionable decisions. Her presence exacerbates Tomohiro's powers, causing his drawings to turn dangerous, yet she finds herself unable to stay away from him. The plot and Katie and Tomohiro's deepening relationship build gradually, leading to a suspenseful third act involving the Japanese mafia and an ending that will leave teens eager for more. Due to the author's experience of living in Japan, the book's setting is authentic, and the depiction of an outsider learning to belong in a new culture rings true. Manga and anime fans will likely understand most of the Japanese vocabulary used, but those unfamiliar with it may feel overwhelmed. While this story may not break new ground in the realm of paranormal romance, it puts an imaginative spin on Japanese mythology.-Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
As if being uprooted and sent to live in Japan was not a difficult enough transition, American high-schooler Katie Green finds herself at the heart of a paranormal mystery. She develops a dangerous attraction to aloof Yuu Tomohiro, a senior who is able to bring ink to life through the act of writing or drawing. For reasons unknown, Katie’s presence galvanizes this gift, and Tomohiro’s drawings become increasingly difficult to control, which eventually attracts the attention of the Yakuza (the Japanese mafia) and the Kami (Japanese gods believed to be mythical but who are very much alive). Initially antagonistic, Katie and Tomo’s relationship comes together over the shared grief of having lost their mothers. But the ink indicates that they should stay away from each other—a warning they successfully ignore with dramatic consequences. Katie’s tendency to jump to conclusions, cry, and act before she thinks is frustrating, but it leaves plenty of room for growth. The descriptions of life in Japan—particularly teen life—create a strong sense of place, and set a vivid backdrop for this intriguing series opener by a debut author. Grades 9-12. --Kara Dean