Ink is Thicker Than Water [NOOK Book]


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 ...

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Ink is Thicker Than Water

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The Reece Malcolm List:

“Moving and funny—a terrifically satisfying read.”

—Sara Zarr, author of How to Save a Life

"Funny and poignant, this lively book totally charmed us."

—Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, authors of Spoiled and Messy

"Charming, heart-warming, and thoughtful…The Reece Malcolm List sings!"

—Courtney Summers, author of Cracked up to Be and Some Girls Are

"Just the right mix of humor and emotion…heartbreaking in the best way, The Reece Malcolm List is excellent YA contemporary."

—Miranda Kenneally, author of Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781622660414
  • Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
  • Publication date: 12/3/2013
  • Series: Entangled Teen
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 351,734
  • Age range: 12 - 18 Years
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Amy Spalding is also the author of The Reece Malcolm List. She grew up outside of St. Louis and now lives in Los Angeles with two cats and a dog. She works in marketing and does a lot of improv.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 13, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I previously read Amy Spalding's book The Reece Malcolm List and

    I previously read Amy Spalding's book The Reece Malcolm List and enjoyed not only the story, but also her style of writing.  After finding out she had written another book and reading the synopsis, I knew I wanted to check it out.  I enjoyed the story line with the hippie mom and stepdad who were tattoo artists, the mixed family dynamic, and the adoption angle, but I loved more than any of it Kellie herself.  Kellie's personality, as well as her inner rants and thought processes and her perfectly imperfect attitude are what make the book such an entertaining read. Kellie not only discovers things about herself in this coming of age novel, but she discovers the deeper meaning of family, friendship, and the things that are most important in life. Spalding addresses family, relationship, and honesty issues, as well as the implications of judging others.  As a character, I loved Kellie's humor, which added such an entertaining aspect to the story.  Oliver is the love interest in the book.  Though he did not really "wow" me, he does have his own secrets. These secrets have shaped Oliver into the person that he is, fitting the theme of the book well. Sara, Kellie's sister, has always been her confidant and friend, and they have shared a close relationship that begins to fall apart around the whole birth parent issue.  Her relationship with her best friend also falls apart as peer pressure and popularity become factors.  These are also things Kellie works through in the book.  The ending was very cute and wrapped things up nicely. Overall, Ink is Thicker Than Water is a fun and entertaining story, and I did enjoy it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 22, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Ink is Thicker Than Water had all the ingredients for a book I s

    Ink is Thicker Than Water had all the ingredients for a book I should have love and related to: family drama, sister relationships, cute boys named Oliver, tattoo shops. Sadly it fell short of expectations. The book lacked the necessary character development and emotional depth to keep me invested in the story. Overall it was just plain boring.

    The writing itself was fairly simplistic. There was a lot of telling, not a lot of showing and a few phrases that were way over-used, but it wasn’t completely irredeemable. Even the plot, while lacking originality, still could have resulted in a decent book if the characters had been been better developed.

    Kellie is the quintessential middle child, stuck between her adopted, over-achieving sister and her younger half-brother, whom she views as the apple of her mom and step-dad’s eye. Early in the story Kellie gets ditched by her childhood best friend who starts hanging out with the popular crowd at school and her sister decides she wants to spend time with her birth mother, leaving  Kellie  feeling isolated at school and at home, the catalyst for what is a fairly typical coming-of-age tale. Kellie makes new friends, she dives head first into a relationship with a guy she’d almost had sex with before the events of the book started, and has to figure out where she fits in. And through it all I was just bored, bored, confused, bored. The plot seemed to lack direction, with too many threads that were sloppily tied together. I especially thought the stuff with Oliver and his past was very unnecessary and made an already squicky romance that much worse.

    I just couldn’t connect with the characters or care about what happened to them. It was kinda like reading about a cast of paper dolls. Bland cardboard cutouts who lacked any real emotion. I was either indifferent to the characters, or in the case of Sara and Kaitlin, just outright disliked them.

    Despite everything that didn’t work for me, I do have to say that I did like the ending of the book a lot. I thought that the moment between Kellie, Sara and their mom was very sweet. I also really enjoyed the very minor characters-Kellie’s friends that she made on the school paper, her step-dad, and Oliver’s brother. They added a much needed spark of life to an otherwise dull cast of characters.

    Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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  • Posted December 4, 2013

    Good coming of age story. Kellie is the middle child of divorced

    Good coming of age story.
    Kellie is the middle child of divorced parents. Although she feels like she's always stuck in the middle of what is a complicated family, she's relatively happy - she has a stable, if a bit quirky family, a crush on a college guy and she gets to do about anything she feels like doing.

    Her mother is a hippie-type who decided to embrace her true self and is open and honest with her children. Her adopted sister is her complete opposite and now that she's found her birth mother their relationship crumbles. She also has a little half-brother, who I enjoyed tremendously, and a stepfather who owns his own tattoo shop. Taking this family dynamic into account, it's no wonder that at times Kellie feels overwhelmed and a little lost.

    Amy Spalding did a wonderful job in drawing me into the story by letting me get to know Kellie and by making her inner musings quirky and enjoyable. However, the author somehow managed to lose me somewhere in the middle of the story. What with all the things that were happening at once, I didn't know in which direction to focus on.
    There was her sister's knowledge of her birth mother, Kellie's best friend becoming part of the popular crowd and Kellie's "romance" with Oliver.

    I found it the situation between Kellie and her sister to be an interesting dynamic. It added a lot more depth to Kellie's feelings of not connecting to her family. I wish I could have gotten to know more of her sister, but as it was it was interesting and enjoyable.

    Then there was the 'romance'. I have to use that word carefully, because for me it wasn't a romance at all. Kellie and Oliver's connection was non-existent in my eyes. They hooked-up. In my opinion, they didn't engage in enough meaningful dialogue and what they shared didn't allude to any type of developing romance. I did enjoy some of their interactions, I just wished I could have gotten to see their 'hook-up' leading into something more meaningful and real.

    Thankfully, the story wasn't a total loss. Amy Spalding did an amazing job in bringing to the page the confusion and angst associated with the teenage years. I enjoyed getting to know Kellie, her voice and her emotions. In addition, I enjoyed the way she presented the secondary characters. I loved Kellie's mother, she was real. And her little brother? Adorable!

    All in all, not what I expected but good nonetheless. Ink is Thicker than Water was a coming of age story about a young girl finding herself among the chaos of her family and the new situations that are thrown her way.

    I received this title from the publisher in exchange of my honest review.

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  • Posted December 4, 2013

    I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest re

    I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Kellie is dealing with a lot: her sister is distancing herself from the family, her best friend has suddenly stopped speaking to her, her father wants her to be more like her studious sister, she has a new boyfriend, she’s started working at her mom and stepfather’s shop, and she’s joined the school newspaper and made a whole group of friends there. That’s a lot of changes for one person in such a short time, but Kellie takes it all in stride. Mostly.

    Families in YA are so often absent, but Kellie has an entire family: mom, stepfather, sister, brother, and stepfather. Every one of them is present in the book. I like Kellie’s family a lot, with the exception of her father Clayton. He obviously favors Kellie’s sister Sara because she gets good grades and goes the the right private school, and he’s unfair to a much more laid-back Kellie. Kellie isn’t a bad student; she’s just not an overachiever. The middle of the road is fine (to use one of her favorite words) with her. She doesn’t knock herself out to get the grades that would impress her father because that’s now what’s important to her. She hasn’t figured her path out yet, but that’s okay. She’s only a junior in high school and she has time.

    Kellie’s mom is an example of that. When married to Kellie’s dad, she was a straight-laced paralegal. Since their divorce, she’s become a tattoo artist and, like Kellie, she’s a more laid-back person. She values Kellie as much as she does Sara, and even though she initially doesn’t want Kellie to work in the tattoo shop, she eventually relents and gives her a chance.

    Kellie has an interesting relationship with Oliver. She almost had sex with him on the day they met, months ago, but stopped herself and hasn’t seen him since, until she runs into him again with his brother (Sara’s boyfriend). The new relationship is important to Kellie, but it’s not her entire focus. She turns down invitations from Oliver to hang out with her newspaper friends and to work at her mom’s shop and she invites him over while she’s babysitting her brother but she plays with Finn while Oliver studies.

    To be honest, I didn’t really get the “Oliver is overly clingy and wants to take up ALLLLLLLLL my time!!!” vibe that Kellie suddenly decides is an issue about 85% of the way into the book. I feel like that came out of nowhere, although there are small hints earlier on — mostly comments from other people — that he has an underlying issue. It feels, to me, like Kellie is looking for something to be wrong in their relationship and when she discovers what that issue is, she flips out. She and Oliver don’t spend all their time together, but he doesn’t give her grief about the time she spent with her new friends or babysitting her brother either. It’s only natural that he wants to spend time with her, so Kellie’s realization that Oliver wanted more from her just seemed a little contrived. Up until that point, I thought they had a pretty good relationship and that she even goes about deciding to have sex with him in a healthy way.

    As Kellie’s sister starts spending more time with her newly-found biological mother, Kellie is left behind and feels resentful and abandoned. It’s interesting to me to see this story told from the point of view of the sister being left out and not the one experiencing meeting her bio mom (and later her father) for the first time.

    Ink is Thicker Than Water is actually Amy Spalding’s first book, but The Reece Malcom List was published first. Although I liked The Reece Malcom List, I think Ink is Thicker Than Water is a stronger book, with better, more likable characters.

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  • Posted December 4, 2013

    Earlier this year I bought The Reece Malcolm List on the excelle

    Earlier this year I bought The Reece Malcolm List on the excellent recommendation of several people and was thoroughly enamored with Amy Spalding's writing style. I was excited to discover she would have a second book coming out this year, Ink is Thicker Than Water, and when it showed up on NetGalley I couldn't request it fast enough. I am happy to say that it is another truly wonderful read. It is just so lovely to find an author who can write stories that are real, entertaining, and full of heart all at the same time.

    This is Kellie's story, but it is also the story of her whole family and that is probably  my favorite thing about Spalding's books so far. They show a greater whole, and I love the way she treats family. Kellie has a lot going on in her life. Many of the relationships that have sustained her and fulfilled her are changing in scary ways and she doesn't know how to cope with it. She often compares herself unfavorably to the people around her and I appreciate how that was done. Kellie's voice is real in a way few authors can get right, vulnerable and confident in turns just as any girl really is. Kellie's relationship and interactions with her family are by far the best thing about this novel for me, and really the heart of what it is about. Spalding portrays the messy chaos and vulnerability that come with loving and living with people we sometimes don't like or agree with. An outsider would say Kellie has a "good" family and she does. Yet all families are messy because there is no other way for a group of individuals so closely tied through history, squabbles, disasters, and triumph to be. Our family sees us at our worst, and that is demonstrated in a very authentic way through Kellie's story. Kellie's relationships with every member of her family and how they affect her and she affects them are integral in the telling of this story. The relationship with her sister was fascinating for me as a reader, and sometimes horribly uncomfortable. I suddenly felt like I was seeing my relationship with my own sister through her perspective. Some of Kellie and Sara's conversations could have come from us when we were in high school (me being Sara) and I sort of felt the need to call and apologize.
    Then there was Kellie's romance with Oliver, which I love is not the focal point of the story but still an important part. In many ways he is Kellie's coping mechanism through all of this, and yet I still can't help but root for them.They have a great dynamic and I like that he has plenty of issues of his own, but is also learning to deal with them. I also appreciate the frank and realistic way Spalding dealt with their choices regarding their sexual relationship. Yay for girls having agency, boys respecting that, and couples talking. What I really like about this is that it took them time to get to the point where all three of those were in complete working order. They are still young and learning , but I love how they were trying to do it all right. 

    This is a book that is not heavy on plot. It is about character and relationships most of all. I love books like this, especially when they do it with realism but also humor and hope.

    I have to add that I adored to the core of my being the character of Adelaide, Kellie's new friend. Her email address is a reference to Guys and Dolls, which makes her awesome in and of itself, but she gives great advice too even if she is a little strange and intense. 

    Amy Spalding has earned a place as an auto-buy author for me now. I will gladly trust her and read anything she has to offer in the future. 

    I received an e-galley form the publisher, Entangled Teen, via NetGalley. Ink is Thicker Than Water is available for purchase on December 3. 

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  • Posted December 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I adored The Reece Malcolm List , Amy Spalding¿s first bo

    I adored <i>The Reece Malcolm List</i>
    , Amy Spalding’s first book, and I am happy to say that I loved <i>Ink is Thicker Than Water</i>
    just as much.

    I found the book to be so lovely, mainly because I loved the main character, Kellie, and related to her. Kellie is at the point in high school where she has to start figuring out her future. She’s been making personal changes in her life, figuring out what she likes and who she wants to be. Throughout the book Kellie has to deal with a new relationship, friendship problems, and her sister disappearing from her life.

    In some books bringing so many issues together would make the story seem too busy, but Amy Spalding brings multiple issues together beautifully. Beyond Kellie, I also loved her big blended family, especially her mom and stepdad who are tattoo artists. Amy Spalding can write nuanced characters like no one’s business. Kellie’s dad and her sister are characters who you really dislike at times, but you can also empathize with them in a way that even Kellie can’t. Kellie’s love interest is also complicated: a lovely guy, but a character whose secrets may be troubling. I liked how he wasn’t the cookie cutter perfect guy.

    Basically, if you like contemporary YA books about family and friendship, about navigating relationships of all kinds while at one of the most confusing times of life?--Definitely be sure to pick up <i>Ink is Thicker Than Water</i>
    . I adored every aspect of it.

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  • Posted December 3, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    After loving The Reece Malcolm List earlier this year, Amy Spald

    After loving The Reece Malcolm List earlier this year, Amy Spalding earned a place on my auto-buy list. Family relationships have never been as intriguing as they are in Spalding’s hands. Plus, her characters are artistic, witty and quirky. INK’s book title refers to Kellie’s family business, a tattoo shop, and looks at what it means to be a family. Is ink thicker than water?

    I like Amy Spalding’s YA books because they are such well rounded coming of age stories, with complex relationships, style, and heart. The family relationships are unconventional but at the same time totally normal as well. Her mom and stepdad run a tattoo shop and are half-vegan, creative, and hippieish, but have traditional values as well.

    The sisters Kellie and Sara are just a year apart and are very close. The fact that Sara wants to connect with her birth mother feels like a slap to Kellie, who is protective of her mom. Everyone is supportive of Sara and understands that this is what she needs to do, but it still rocks the family foundation.

    Kellie is also dealing with the gradual loss of her BFF Kaitlyn, who ditches her for a more popular clique. It’s realistic to see alliances change in high school as interests change, and their experience feels authentic. It’s also refreshingly different for Kellie to have a new group with the newspaper crew, led by the efficient, intellectual Adelaide. I wouldn’t mind Adelaide getting her own book.

    Some of the humor comes in the form of Kellie’s op-ed pieces, where she riffs on meatless options in the school cafeteria (not) and the manure smells of the school courtyard. That she has a knack for writing gives her a confidence boost, something that extends to other parts of Kellie’s life.

    I got so attached to the stories and characters that I was sad to let them go at the end. The ending is hopeful but a little open ended. I like when endings aren’t neat and tidy but at the same time I wanted just a bit more resolution.

    INK is smart, fresh and real, and a quick, entertaining read. I like that it doesn’t go for over the top dramatics to get the point across but feels true. The dialogue is spot-on and witty, and Spalding doesn’t talk down to her readers. The sex-positive message is a bonus too as is the strong female characterization. If you loved The Reece Malcolm List you’ll definitely want to pick up a copy of INK.

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  • Posted December 3, 2013

    Having read another of Spalding's book I knew that I really want

    Having read another of Spalding's book I knew that I really wanted to give this one a try as well. Spalding seems to have a knack for bringing out the realness in her characters and in the situations that they are put in. She doesn't hold anything back and just lets it all hang loose and lets it fly.

    This was not only a great coming of age story but a great story about the family dynamic as well. 

    I really loved Kellie. She didn’t' have it all figured out, quite the opposite in fact but she rolled with it. She didn't overreact when difficult things came her way. She wasn't full of angst even though she very well could have been and most of all, she liked who she was (even though she was still figuring all of that out) and she loved her family fiercely. 

    And gosh did I love her family. Her mom and step dad where just..well, they were pretty fabulous. So loving and nurturing even when things got tough and they did get tough. No one in this story is perfect and no one has anything figured out but they all love each other and they all care about one another and that is what mattered most. What matters most in all families,m in all our lives is to know that we are loved and that someone has our back and they did, they all had each other's back and I loved that about this story. 

    Spalding has once again created something special and unique and something real. She doesn't hold back the punches, she digs right into the nitty gritty of families, of high school and of relationships and she makes it all realistic and she makes it all work beautifully.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2013



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