Series: Paper Gods #1
Author: Amanda Sun
Published: June 25th 2013 by Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.
Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.
A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.
And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.
On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.
Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they’ll both be targets.
Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.
This book hadn’t mad it onto my radar until I saw it being offered as a giveaway on one of the blogs I follow. It seemed kind of interesting, and as luck would have it, became available on Netgalley a week or two after. Seemed like a sign, if you ask me.
This book has been receiving a lot of mixed reviews, which I can completely understand. It is quite formulaic plot wise, and the characters do slot nicely into the usual paranormal YA suspects mold. A girl, Katie, has to give up everything she knows and move to a completely new place, where she meets a mysterious boy, Tomohiro, who warns her to stay away from him. She, of course, doesn’t.
To be honest, I can understand why she doesn’t leave him alone. He makes weird things happen. Katie would have to be a sucky protagonist not to follow him to see what he’s up to. I am all for amateur sleuthing. But you got to do it more inconspicuously. Think detective, not stalker.
I love that this is set in Japan. Reading is a lot like travelling to cool places for me, and I always get a thrill when said travels go somewhere not as often visited. I am willing to overlook how overly adept Katie is in fitting into her new home (despite her constantly pointing out how she doesn’t. Teenagers aren’t supposed to feel like they fit in, it’s part of their charm). It’s very clear that Amanda Sun has done her homework on this one, the setting felt incredibly real to me. I could practically smell the falling cherry blossoms (if I had any idea what those smell like). The way Katie observed the differences in culture felt very real as well, that is absolutely something a stranger in a strange land would constantly be aware of.
The story also introduces us to the myth of the Kami, which is not something I’ve personally ever heard of before. I always dig learning new mythology, and I spent some time after finishing the book reading up on it. So for that, I consider this book a success. It taught me something. Sure, it has its flaws and not everyone is going to love it, but I found it entertaining and time well spent.
I’m a YA author and proud Nerdfighter. I was born in Deep River, Canada, a very small town without traffic lights or buses, and where stranger safety is comprised of what to do if you see a bear—or skunk. I started reading fantasy novels at 4 and writing as soon as I could hold a pencil. Hopefully my work’s improved since then.
In university I took English, Linguistics, and Asian History, before settling into Archaeology, because I loved learning about the cultures and stories of ancient people. Of course, I didn’t actually become an archaeologist—I have an intense fear of spiders. I prefer unearthing fascinating stories in the safety of my living room.
The Paper Gods is inspired by my time living in Osaka and travelling throughout Japan. That and watching far too many J-Dramas. I currently live in Toronto with my husband and daughter. When I’m not writing, I’m devouring YA books, knitting nerdy things like Companion Cubes and Triforce mitts, and making elaborate cosplays for anime cons.