Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication date: 3rd December 2013.
My rating: 4 stars
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.
Amy Spalding gave me exactly what I needed in Ink is thicker than Water. I had become a really fussy reader lately so found myself struggling through some mediocre books. But with the Ink is thicker than Water I found myself completely taken in and over ¾’s of the way through just in a few hours.
Kellie was an easy person to get behind, she found herself in many difficult situations and with no one person she could talk to. It was like fate was against her and slowly one by one every person she cared about or could confide in was snatched away from her. I felt for her more, because it was done in such a brutal way with no explanation at all. Take for example her friendship with Kaitlin, they’d known each other since they were 8 years old, yes they had their differences, (you should see how me and my best friend disagree upon on such trivial things). But it felt like after one party, Kaitlin didn’t know Kellie anymore, she basically turned into an overnight snob. Bitchiness aside, Kaitlin had always been Kellie’s person to go to and it was a difficult blow to just be dropped like that. But I appreciated that Kellie had the opportunity to make other friends on the school paper, she wasn’t as close with them as she had been with Kaitlin, but still had someone she could hang with.
Then there was Kellie’s relationship with her sister Sara, in a lot of respects their relationship reminded me of Wren and Cath in Fangirl. Both stories have focused on sisters drifting apart in such a spectacular way. I have two sisters who I have ups and downs with, but for me sibling relationships don’t seem to be touched upon that much in YA books, but let me just say Spalding has definitely written one of the best ones around in Ink is thicker than Water. Spalding hones in so well on the complexities and intricacies of their relationship. And I didn’t feel like an outsider at all, because we got to know Sara a bit before chaos ensues, I could actually experience everything Kellie was going through when Sara started isolating herself. Books which actually make you feel as if you’re an integral part of the story are my favourites and Spalding fantastically made me feel a part of it by giving us so much detail into what was happening with each of Kellie’s relationships; all people that mattered to her the most.
Whilst Kaitlin and Sara weren’t my two favourite people, I liked how Spalding explored the many layers of these relationships. There were a lot of relationships that Kellie was having a tough time with, but I adored the one that emerged between her and Oliver. Instead of completely throwing us in the deep end, I liked how we were given titbits into their story. It definitely allowed me to appreciate Oliver’s character more and his relationship with Kellie. In my eyes Oliver was a sweetheart, I’m glad that Kellie finally gave him a chance, as he definitely ended up being an important rock that was there when things were falling apart. I know Kellie sometimes could feel a little confused by what was going on with Oliver, but to be honest I didn’t see the issue. Oliver very early on won me over, he was sweet, considerate and always wanted to spend time with Kellie, some may say he was intense, but compared to the other goofs loitering about I wouldn’t want to say no to spending time with Oliver any day.
There were truly some wonderful characters that Spalding brought into this novel, If I actually stop and think how many people played such an integral role to this story and Kellie’s life, I couldn’t praise Spalding enough for the variety of characters that she gave us. There’s nothing more that annoys me when characters sound alike, this however I’m grateful for was not the case in this book at all. The secondary characters (I’m not even sure I would call them that) were all so unique, that they each brought something exciting to the story. They were also so different, that they could quite easily change the mood and direction of the story. I appreciated this a lot, as one minute I could find myself tumbling into a hole of despair with Kellie and the next I’d find myself in a dreamy daze with Oliver. These characters certainly reinforced just how important friendships and relationships with people you least expect to be with could be.
Ink is thicker than Water was a refreshing read which couldn’t have come at a better moment for me. Spalding weaves an intricate plot, which is written with poise and purpose. There were some relationships which Spalding left open, and not all neatly wrapped up, even though I was itching to find out what happened, I liked how Spalding allows us to make our own conclusions. Also I find books which do this tend to leave me thinking about the story more in the days and weeks after I finished the last page. In Ink is thicker than Water Spalding has left her mark proving that she is one heck of a talented author. Ink is thicker than Water is definitely one book not to be missed out this year.