Ink is Thicker Than Water by Amy Spalding
Entangled Teen, 2013
Source: Received a copy through tour and also through Netgalley.
Publisher Description: 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.Find it: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads
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.
After enjoying Spalding's debut The Reece Malcolm List, I knew I'd want to read more especially if they were going to be similarly comedic. I was pleased that I was able to connect so easily with both heroines as family plays an important role for each just as it always has for me. That was definitely my favorite aspect. Kellie as a young person is still very much struggling to find her place and to define her talents especially in comparison to her seemingly perfect older sister and her super adorable younger brother. In her mind, she doesn't seem to fit in or stand out in any discernible fashion but over the course of the novel, she discovers more about her own unique talents and place in the family.
Of special interest to me was the relationship with her sister. I've mentioned countless times that I'm a sucker for sister-sister stories being an older sister myself. This one is on the more complicated side as older sister Sara is adopted and, having turned 18, is connecting with her adoptive mother and exploring other facets of herself in a way that leaves behind Kellie. I found this distance heartbreaking to read about and it just made me want to go hug my sister (though I get that feeling a lot like when I saw Frozen for example :)
I felt a bit disappointed with the other relationships mentioned in the synopsis though. Best friend Kaitlyn just seems to drift away from Kellie in an inexplicable fashion and I thought Oliver was going to be much crazier (a la Oliver Trask from "The O.C." perhaps?) or maybe he would become an abusive boyfriend. Nothing so dramatic, fitting for this more quiet contemporary but a bit of a letdown to me when I wanted something bigger and more explosive. Instead it is very realistic and for that reason, probably more relatable to a wider range of readers.
Overall: A contemporary deeply focused on relationships and finding your place that should appeal to many readers.
Amy Spalding grew up in St. Louis, but now lives in the better weather of Los Angeles. She received a B.A. in Advertising & Marketing Communications from Webster University, and currently works as the Digital Media Planner for an independent film advertising agency. Amy studied longform improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and can be seen performing around L.A.
Photo by Jessie Weinberg.
For more about Amy be sure to read the F.A.Q.
Other Tour Stops:
11/25/2013- The Bookmark Blog
11/26/2013- Donnie Darko Girl
11/27/2013- Reading the Best of the Best
11/28/2013- She Dreams in Fiction
11/29/2013- My Reading Room
12/2/2013- YA Story Teller
12/3/2013- LeAnn's Book Reviews
12/4/2013- Bookish Things & More
12/6/2013- The Irish Banana Review
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