Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ink and Ashes” as Want to Read:
Ink and Ashes
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ink and Ashes

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  1,442 ratings  ·  311 reviews
Claire Takata has never known much about her father, who passed away when she was a little girl. But on the anniversary of his death, not long before her seventeenth birthday, she finds a mysterious letter from her deceased father, addressed to her stepfather. Claire never even knew that they had met.

Claire knows she should let it go, but she can’t shake the feeling that s
Hardcover, 386 pages
Published May 13th 2015 by Tu Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ink and Ashes, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Kat Plot points: The main character, Claire is recruited into the Yakuza (the Japanese Mafia). She learns Kung Fu, which empowers her because she is able …morePlot points: The main character, Claire is recruited into the Yakuza (the Japanese Mafia). She learns Kung Fu, which empowers her because she is able to defend herself. And, she also becomes romantically involved with a Buddhist monk which is obviously complicated for several reasons, but the relationship leads her to become more self aware, and less judgmental of other people.
Major Themes:
2.Female Empowerment
Character Analysis:
In the beginning Claire is a self-obsessed teenager, who goes around taking selfies. She will not be friends with anyone who is not cool. However, as the plot develops, she begins to learn that there is more to the world than just her. She begins to see the world in a new light, and realizes that her outer self is not as important as her inner self, and she shouldn't judge people based on their appearances.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,442 ratings  ·  311 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Ink and Ashes
Brandon Sanderson
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ink and Ashes

(Note: For an explanation of my Goodreads policy, please see here.)

This excellent YA book sits carefully nestled between several genres. The packaging lists it as a thriller, and that’s not a bad way to present it. The opening chapters focus more on mystery, by my definition, than thriller. (They are more about the characters discovering secrets than they are about people being in danger.) However, as the story escalates, it does move into thriller territory.

However—and few books ma
Jasmine from How Useful It Is
About: Ink and Ashes is a young adult mystery written by Valynne E. Maetani. It was published on 5/13/15 by Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books, hardcover, 386 pages. The genres are mystery, thriller, and young adult fiction. This is the author's debut.

My Experience: I started reading Ink and Ashes on 6/28/17 and finished it on 7/7/17. This book is an excellent read! I love the Nancy Drew vibe where the main character goes snooping around, breaking into locks to seek for info, and always ask
Sue (Hollywood News Source)

This is a cause for celebration, because I say so.

I didn't know, I needed Ink and Ashes...then it happened to me.

I'm still trying to form coherent reasons why you should pick this book up. And I guess for now, this will do:

The family dynamics is everything, I want and more.
The friendship and sibling love.
Bestfriend turned into lovers. My favorite trope ever.
Japanese Family. Japanese heroine. The culture is alive in the story.
It's a character driven book.
Humor. You can expect
I'm slightly over 100 pages in this book, and seriously nothing is making me want to finish it. Not even the mystery or suspense of Clair finding out about what happened with her father's death (and I'm a big sucker for not ending a book until I get answers!)

I was ecstatic when I first picked this up, because 1) LOOK at THAT COVER and 2)The main character is ASIAN!! (YAY for DIVERSITY!) But unfortunately, the writing is just not there. The execution is suffering big time, the characters aren't
Jun 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
If you like rampant paranoia and wild speculation that all turn out to be correct, you will like Ink and Ashes.

This book also has: stilted writing, the least believable seventeen-year-old I've read in a while, the least believable romantic relationship, an overprotective father composed of cliches, an indistinguishable cast of brothers, and a prosthetic finger.

It was not my thing.
I loved this! The ending was killer (pun intended). Also, I want my own Forrest (not a forest, but I want one of those too). Read this book! It has: Mystery! Suspense! Boys! Japanese culture! Friendship! More things!
pink (not just another shade of red)

Look at this book
It looks like
My next best read
Tora Nishimiya
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Valynne E. Maetani’s mystery/thriller debut novel, Ink and Ashes, is the book I wish I could have read when I was growing up. After consuming this novel within 24 hours of starting it, I would give this book a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

On the surface, Ink and Ashes explores the power of friendship, family, and love as a group of teenagers confront a family secret, which may have dire consequences in the present. Maetani provides a number of potential suspects and twists to keep a reader guessing th
Valynne Maetani
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult

Claire’s parents are keeping secrets that could kill her.

Sixteen-year-old Claire Takata is a spirited, inquisitive amateur locksmith and sleuth. Claire and her brothers have always believed their father died of a heart attack 10 years ago and that their mother met their stepdad after he died. But when Claire finds an old letter in her father’s journal and pictures locked away in her stepdad’s desk that reveal otherwise, she is determined to find out the truth. Why have her
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book promised me yakuza. It gave me Utah. I feel let down.
Victoria Law
What a pageturner! I read the entire book in one day (staying up till 3 am because I just couldn't put it down).

Olympe J
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-9-weeks
Ink and Ashes is about a girl named Claire Takata. Claire's father passed away when she was seven and as her 17th birthday approaches Claire finds a letter addressed to her stepdad from her real father. Claire knows that she shouldn't try to find more about it but she does anyway. As Claire finds more about her father she finds out he was part of the Japanese mafia Yakuza. With the help of friends and family she finds secrets she never should have known. This book is really good and I would reco ...more
Bethany Miller
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: royal
Claire Takata has very few memories of her father who died ten years ago when she was still a child. When she finds a mysterious letter from father to her stepfather – who she believed had never met each other – she enlists the help of her brothers and several other boys in the neighborhood to help her figure out who her father really was. Claire discovers that her father had been part of the yakuza – a Japanese organized crime syndicate, and she soon realizes that her investigation may have rev ...more
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really like this one. A very good amount of action and mystery, but it was the friendship the characters shared that was my favorite part.
Dec 27, 2017 marked it as to-read
The mc is named Claire so I know I have to read it. I rarely come across a protagonist with my namesake. Claire is usually a fictional side character who is meant for death. Yes, I've come across ya books where all the Claires die in the first few pages.

Jacobe D.
Claire's parents have hid a secret from her and her brothers that could do more than hurt them; it could kill them.

Claire's father died of a heart attack when she was very young. All she has is good memories of him and a box of some of his things that she is "borrowing" from her mother. When his death date comes along, she is in a sour mood. While going through her box of his things, a letter falls out of his journal. This letter is written in Japanese, and even with her roots, Claire can't mak
Lauren Stoolfire
On the anniversary of her father's death, Claire finds a letter from her deceased father to her stepfather written in Japanese. Claire doesn't know much about her father, but she had no idea that the two men knew each other. She can't help but think that something has been kept hidden from her and her siblings. She keeps digging to learn more information about her birth father, until she learns the reason the past was kept in the past. It turns out that her father was a member of the yakuza - an ...more
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
"We make an unbeatable team, our three families, don't we?" "A powerful triumvirate."

Rep: Japanese-American mcs

I promise, there will be a proper review at some point, but for now a few things:
1. the protectiveness of Nicholas/Claire's dad/Parker/occasionally Forrest pissed me off no end,
2. apparently the Japanese in the letter at the beginning is badly written, and given that language is probably the easiest thing to get right, that's sad,
3. there was no indication from Claire's POV that she
Mar 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Curiosity and an impulsive streak land Claire Takata in a heap of trouble when she tries to dig into her parents' mysterious and unspoken of past. Strange incidents happen to Claire as she starts to dig deeper into the questions she has about her father who died when she was seven years old. Claire stumbles upon an old letter written by her father to her now step-father, the man she calls Dad. How did they know each other and why didn't her parent ever say anything about this?

This was okay but i
Cammy R
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought that this book was stunning. A girl named Claire lives with her mom, stepdad, and two brothers Avery and Parker. Every year, they hold a memorial for her dead father. She decides to do some investigating and find out how he died. She does some research with the boys on her computer, and together they decipher a Japanese code. They discover that her new dad who claims to have never met her real father, had received a note from her real father, and seemingly they were really close. Soon ...more
Siyona N
Claire Takata lives with her brothers, Parker and Avery, her mother, and her stepdad. Claire never really knew her biological father, Henry, who as she and her brothers were told, had died from a heart attack. The only memoir she had of him was his journal and the few pictures they had. Claire's mother was depressed after her husband's death so she picked her family up and moved them to Utah. Claire and her brothers believed their mother had met, George, their stepdad after Henry died until a le ...more
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
This cover totally screams fantasy to me, and I was totally shocked when it never went speculative.

Claire discovers a secret about her long-dead father, and starts to unravel the truth about her family's past. I loved the hook of discovering that her birth father had all these tattoos she didn't know about.

I loved the group of friends she has here - three different families who are all super tight.

There were a few continuity things that bugged me, but the thing that seems highlighted when I loo
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Poshdeluxe
Cover Story: Photoshop Tutorial
BFF Charm: Nay
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: Underdeveloped
Bonus Factors: Diversity, Yakuza
Relationship Status: Flirtation

Read the full book report here.
Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Mana by: Sue (Hollywood News Source)
Shelves: diversity
I loved everything about this book. The family dynamics, the plot, and the romance; everything was done so perfectly and so wonderfully I could not put the book down. It was enthralling from page 1 and I am so glad I picked this up. It deserves all the love.
Yamile Méndez
Brava, Valynne! This book has wonderful dialog, a super fast pace, sooooo much tension, a wonderful twist in the end, and a delicious first kiss that made me wish I were 17! LOVED it!
Jul 06, 2020 rated it liked it
1 Sentence Summary: On the anniversary of Claire's father's death, she finds a mysterious letter from him to her stepfather and discovers that he was part of the yazuka (Japanese mafia)—a deadly secret that is now catching up with their family.

My Thoughts: I couldn't really get into this at first, but it did pick up more towards the middle. It just wasn't that amazing to me. Also, the romance element felt extremely out of place and I think the story would've been better without it.

Recommend to:
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Review to come
Rich in Color
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
I knew from the moment I read the summary that I needed to get my hands on Ink and Ashes, and I’m pleased to say that Valynne E. Maetani’s debut novel did not disappoint me.

For me, an integral part of a mystery is making me anxious for the characters, and Maetani did an excellent job keeping me on the edge of my seat. As Claire continued to dig deeper and deeper into the mysteries surrounding her father, the more the danger ramped up. Maetani used different types of suspense so the audience did
DNF @ 11%

I just couldn't do it. The writing was awful -- who's giving out all these awards to books with terrible writing? --> "'It's still hard, isn't it?' His voice fell at the end as if it was more of a statement than a question.'" [...] "'Yes?' he sang as if innocent."

The whole book (I assume, if it's all written like this) is told rather than shown, as if young adults aren't smart enough to figure out what's going on.

The book also uses such coincidental things to push the plot forward:
Dec 05, 2014 rated it liked it
*I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

Ink and Ashes was a really fun read. It was a thriller, full of twists and turns. The characters were better developed than I expected them to be, honestly.

I have two critiques:

1. Although there was no major cattiness between girl characters, there was still the trope of the main female character being "not like other girls," (i.e. less interested than many others girls in clothes, boys, etc.) as though there is only one way to be a girl, or as thoug
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Conspiracy of Stars (Faloiv, #1)
  • Con Academy
  • As She Ascends (Fallen Isles, #2)
  • Getting There: A Book of Mentors
  • The Black Coats
  • The Infects
  • Between Burning Worlds (System Divine, #2)
  • Blood Passage (Dark Caravan Cycle, #2)
  • Dangerous Deception (Dangerous Creatures, #2)
  • Because I Am Furniture
  • Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends, #1)
  • Maximum Ride, Vol. 3 (Maximum Ride: The Manga, #3)
  • Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles, #1)
  • Otherwise Engaged
  • Son of the Mob (Son of the Mob, #1)
  • Shame the Stars
  • Endgame: The Complete Zero Line Chronicles (Endgame: The Zero Line Chronicles, #1-3)
  • Your Own Worst Enemy
See similar books…
See top shelves…

Related Articles

Oh hey, we're nearly halfway through 2021! We can't really believe it either... Traditionally, this is the time when the Goodreads editorial...
36 likes · 6 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Sometimes it's the memories we should have had that are most painful.” 2 likes
“I tell you why you are here,” he said. He stood and corrected his posture as if readying himself for a speech. “Almost three decades ago—” “I don’t care!” I yelled. I jerked my shoulders and tried to break free. “Help!” 1 likes
More quotes…