Book: Ink And Ashes by Valynne Maetani
Published May 2015 by Tu Books|368 pages
Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library
Genre: YA Contemporary/Mystery
Claire Takata has never known much about her father, who passed away when she was a little girl. But on the anniversary of his death, not long before her seventeenth birthday, she finds a mysterious letter from her deceased father, addressed to her stepfather. Claire never even knew that they had met.
Claire knows she should let it go, but she can’t shake the feeling that something’s been kept from her. In search of answers, Claire combs through anything that will give her information about her father…until she discovers he was a member of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. The discovery opens a door that should have been left closed.
So begins the race to outrun his legacy as the secrets of her father’s past threaten Claire’s friends and family, newfound love, and ultimately her life. Ink and Ashes, winner of Tu Books’ New Visions Award, is a heart-stopping debut mystery that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page.
I thought Ink And Ashes was really interesting, but I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.
I like the mystery, and how connected things were between her step-dad and her dad. I get why she called him her dad, because he’s the only father she’s ever known. But at the same time, it was a little weird calling her step-dad dad, when she’s trying to figure out the mystery that is her biological dad. And I get why her mom didn’t want to talk about Claire’s dad, but still, it’s her dad, and I think it might have been good for her and her brothers to know more about him.
I did keep getting confused about who was who- there were her two brothers, her best friend, and two other guys who were definitely friends, and possibly neighbors but I couldn’t figure that out. Her best friend Forrest was the only one who I separate from the other 4, who weren’t distinguished enough from each other for me to remember who was who. And…there was a thing with Forrest that I knew was going to happen by the end of the book, so it wasn’t too surprising when it happened. Plus, I spent the entire book waiting for it to happen.
Everyone was super-protective of her for no reason. I get the protectiveness of Claire, and I think if they were just protective, I wouldn’t have minded it so much, but they seemed to go overboard with it, in my opinion.
She is pretty resourceful and not too bad as an investigator, but overall, Claire wasn’t as memorable or as interesting as I had hoped. That being said, I was really surprised by the ending, and didn’t see it coming, so at least it surprised me in that sense. Some of it, I felt like Claire should have figured out, but no such luck. At times, things seemed a little too convenient, and that made it hard to get into the mystery of who her biological dad was.
It also moved at a slow pace, and I was waiting for something more interesting to happen, because there’s not a lot of action. Especially when it feels like you’re being told what happened, instead of seeing what happened.
2 stars. There were a couple of things I liked, but overall, the book fell flat for me.