Katie Greene is lost in the wake of her mum's death. Sent to Japan, she meets gorgeous but aloof artist Tomohiro, whose tough attitude intrigues and scares her. Then things get really strange. When they're near each other, Tomohiro's drawings start to come to life…
Soon the wrong people begin to ask questions, and Katie and Tomohiro must risk everything to protect the truth.
First off, I have to start with the excellent description of Japanese culture. The story dived right in so I was left a little confused as I have next to no experience with Japanese culture, but it was full of gorgeous descriptions and odd pieces of language that it was still enjoyable.
The story follows Katie as she struggles to fit in at a new school in a new country and as she becomes intrigued by strange boy Tomohiro. But more on him later. I really felt for Katie. Bad enough that she was half way across the world, away from home in a strange country, but having just lost her mum, she was lost and sad and could only wander along and try to cope. I really liked her perspective as we learnt about Japan and its mythology as she did. This did mean the mystery behind Tomohiro wasn't solved for ages and I feel it was strung along for a bit too long and it wasn't quite worth the wait because I already guessed that his drawings came to life, I just wanted to know how!
Yes, Tomohiro. He was one of those bad guys with a heart of gold. He had an image to protect himself and only Katie managed to see the real him. I liked them together and although it wasn't insta-love, Katie's fascination with him felt a little weird straight away, almost stalker-ish. Sorry Katie but you were! Anyway, there was another guy, Jun, who I didn't realise was going to be important when we first met him, but was a nice distraction for Katie in a 'oh, there's a kind boy talking to me even when most avoid me because I'm foreign' sort of way. I didn't believe the love triangle that was portrayed but I liked Jun as a character fair enough. Plus, I really liked the twist with his role in the story.
Now don't believe I didn't enjoy the book. The language barrier and the Japanese name thing confused me quite a lot which left me disconnected from the story. But the writing was great, dialogue was easy to follow, the illustrations were amazing and even if I didn't quite connect with the characters or get all the answers I wanted, it was a really good story line with a great balance of contemporary and mythology.
Published 5th July by Mira Ink. Thank you to the publisher for my copy.