Ink is Thicker than Water by Amy Spalding
Published Dec 3, 2013 by Entangled Teen
Source: the publisher via Netgalley and I received a signed copy from Maggie
Rating: 5 stars
From the blurb: 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.
Ink is Thicker than Water by Amy Spalding is set in Webster Groves, St Louis. Sixteen year old Kellie Brooks is convinced that never being excited about anything is the way to go, that is until she joins the school newspaper and starts seeing Oliver. She feels out-shined by her older and adopted sister, Sara; yet she holds nothing against her, but does feel slighted by her biological father’s reaction. She adores her younger brother Finn and can’t wait to start working at the tattoo shop owned by her mother and step-father, Russell.
I read and loved Amy Spalding’s debut novel, The Reece Malcolm List, and after reading this it's clear that Amy is skilled at writing about families and friends. She can write a quirky main character, but not one who is trying to be different on purpose. Kellie isn’t interested in sneaking into bars or the latest fashion but her best friend, Kaitlyn, is suddenly changing and she and Kellie start to drift apart. Luckily for Kellie there are some awesome kids at her unconventional high school, ones that will help her with her newspaper column and bring her vanilla hot chocolates (yum!)
On the family front I have to say it makes for such a nice change to have parents present throughout the entire story and not just one pair, three individuals! Kellie regularly visits her biological dad and lives with her mother and step-father. Her mother is pretty relaxed and so loving. Russel was such a positive example of a step-father who loves his step-kids as much as if they were his own.
The book touches on mental illness with an event from Oliver’s past being revealed to Kellie via his brother, and her new friend Annabelle also contributes to this topic. It was handled well showing that you don’t have to overreact to someone’s past and that people can change.
A couple of other positives: Kellie spends a good amount of time deciding if she is ready to have sex with Oliver, there is talk of contraception, and there’s no pressure on his end. Also, there is plenty of communication between the characters in this bok. Kellie is lucky to have two parents who are always there to talk with, even if she doesn’t enjoy talking about sex with her mum. Kellie sometimes finds it hard to talk to Sara, but their willingness to help each other out was admirable.
On a personal note, I loved the many, many vegan references due to Russell being a vegan. Sure, Kellie doesn’t always appreciate the vegan bacon, brunch, or donuts; but I am ready to move to this town and have Russell adopt me.
Overall this was such a sweet, funny, heart-warming read. Kellie’s narration was captivating, I loved her family, and her life was enjoyable to read about.
Thank you to the lovely people at Entangled for my Netgalley copy, and to Maggie for my signed paperback.
I used 2 coats of China Glaze Four Leaf Clover as the base of this manicure.
I used a fine brush and acrylic paint to do the birds - I really enjoyed painting these birds, they're so sweet.