November 16, 2013

Title: Ink is Thicker Than Water

Author: Amy Spalding ♥ @theames

Expected Publication: December 3, 2013

Publisher: Entangled TEEN

Pages: 320

Source: NetGalley

Summary from Goodreads: For Kellie Brooks, family has always been a tough word to define. Combine her hippie mom and tattooist stepdad, her adopted overachieving sister, her younger half brother, and her tough-love dad, and average Kellie’s the one stuck in the middle, overlooked and impermanent. When Kellie’s sister finally meets her birth mother and her best friend starts hanging with a cooler crowd, the feeling only grows stronger.

But then she reconnects with Oliver, the sweet and sensitive college guy she had a near hookup with last year. Oliver is intense and attractive, and she’s sure he’s totally out of her league. But as she discovers that maybe intensity isn’t always a good thing, it’s yet another relationship she feels is spiraling out of her control.

It’ll take a new role on the school newspaper and a new job at her mom’s tattoo shop for Kellie to realize that defining herself both outside and within her family is what can finally allow her to feel permanent, just like a tattoo.

Average Goodreads Rating (as of 11/15/2013): 3.69

  • Christina thought this title was really good. It goes on her second shelf.

**SPECIAL NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

♥ Initial Thoughts and Rating: Actual rating of 3.5-3.75 stars! I like that Ms. Spalding took these characters and put them into realistic, non over-the-top scenarios and had them flourish and find themselves. I appreciated the honest approach to how they worked out their conflicts, and thought she perfectly captured a normal family dynamic in this modern suburban setting.

The Lowdown: Kellie Brooks is sixteen and this is her story about learning to find what her role in her family is and finding where she fits in the grand scheme of life. With quite an eclectic family who all seem so sure of themselves and act accordingly, Kellie is just trying to get by without drawing any attention to herself. But when her older adoptive sister is contacted by her birth mother and her best friend ditches her for greener, more popular pastures, things turn on their head and quickly at that. Suddenly she finds that her rock-steady family and forever friend aren’t as permanently rooted to their roles as she had once believed. Not only that, but Kellie also finds herself testing the boundaries that she wants in life- like joining the school’s newspaper and reconnecting with a quietly intense college guy.

Her journey isn’t a smooth one, and even though her family changes, she learns to roll with the punches and change with them. Her family’s strength is tested, but when push comes to shove, they’re able to easily prove that ink is thicker than water.

My Thoughts: First off, I really want to commend the author on her ability to write such a wonderful story without having to resort to dramatics to let her characters experience growth. She took believable, unidealized characters and made them change and expand their ideas and challenge themselves all within the parameters that a normal, everyday teen (and adult, for that matter) would. Furthermore, she created this novel that had true-to-life flaws and painted her picture with all the shades of grey that exist in real life. Ink is Thicker Than Water is a smartly told novel. The author never used flowery prose, but instead chose to let the story and its characters speak for themselves, and it was something that I appreciated greatly. I also really, really liked the family in this novel and how present the parents were in their children’s lives.

I only had two minor grievances with this story and they were more of a personal preference than probably anything to do with the novel itself. The first was how closed off Kellie seemed about discussing her situations and emotions with other characters in the book. She was portrayed to be this really boisterous, fun-loving girl– though, technically, she doesn’t see this quality in herself until much later in the book– but whenever someone tried to discuss what was going on with her, she’d clam up. Not only that, but she constantly questioned herself about opening up to others. It just seemed like it didn’t jive with her character well to me at all.

The second issue would fall with how abrupt the ending felt. I wasn’t expecting it to be wrapped up in tidy bows, but for some reason, it appeared to just… cut off, so much so that I thought perhaps I got a faulty copy. (Which wouldn’t have been a stretch because my galley was missing a lot of letters, particularly f’s, l’s, and i’s. But after checking with others, this is really were it ends.) I would have liked more resolution on certain fronts, particularly in where her relationship stood with her best friend and her boyfriend.

Rec It? Yes, I would. If you’re looking for a humorous, yet honest dose of reality, then Ink is Thicker Than Water will be a good book for you. I especially believe it would be a good read for teenagers, particularly girls, who are trying to navigate the newness of high school, friendship, relationships, and working on finding themselves.

A very special thank to EntangledTEEN and NetGalley for providing me an early copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.

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