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4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,199 ratings  ·  485 reviews
From the acclaimed author of The Nest, The Boundless, and Airborn comes a brilliantly funny, breakout book about a boy who discovers an ink blot that's come to life! Perfect for those who love Hoot and Frindle and sure to be a hit with kids everywhere!

The Rylance family is stuck. Dad's got writer's block. Ethan promised to illustrate a group project at school--even though
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published November 6th 2018 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published September 11th 2018)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,199 ratings  ·  485 reviews

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Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
Uplifting, heartfelt and very immersive to read.

Inkling is such a great character to stand by his family in the storm of need. We could all use an Inkling every once in a while. 

Ethan is working on a group project for school. Their assignment is to create a graphic novel. Among the students in his group, Ethan is the one picked to make the drawings after the plot has been created. Easy peasy, right?

Since Ethan’s dad is an artist and has produced the amazing ‘Kren’ comic series, it only makes se
Melissa McShane
This was pure delight. It reminded me strongly of Diana Wynne Jones's The Ogre Downstairs because of how the children and the adults ended up aware of Inkling and how the magic of Inkling's existence worked. It's common for middle grade and YA contemporary fantasies to follow the path of "keep it a secret from the grownups," and that's not a bad thing. But how much more interesting to engage the adults while still keeping the kids as prime movers for the story? It's Ethan who's the moral center ...more
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars, rounded up. I enjoyed Inkling for many of the same reasons I enjoy Pixar films: its creativity, abundant Easter eggs for adults (an inkblot that adopts Hemingway's prose style? yes please!), refusal to take the easy way out, and earnest emotional center. But unlike Pixar, which has genuinely wrenched a few tears out of my stony soul, I could feel Inkling attempting to tug at my heartstrings, and something about this awareness killed its effectiveness. I wasn't exactly unmoved; I was j ...more
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade-ya
"It's no easy thing, creating a story." (p.128) ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, favorites
I loved absolutely everything about this. I'm thinking of buying it. In hardcover.

There is so much that is so great in Inkling: the story, for starters! The smart conflict, where Ethan doesn't try to hide things for too long! The way Inkling learns! And then there's the story beneath the story, because this is also about the way we all learn. It's about great books and violence in fiction and writer's block and talent and plagiarism and ethics. And parenting. And grief. It's got complex conflic
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-enjoy-again, okc
As you might know by now, Oppel is original, and brilliant. This is not just a fun story, but also a dramatic one, with nary a cliche in sight. I really don't have much to say as I ponder the 'wow' of it, except a bit of a warning:

The mc is in 6th grade. If your child is more than a year younger than that, I recommend you make sure to read this before or with them. (Which of course you should be doing anyway, but make sure in this case.)

I will continue to read more, and reread, stories from this
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copies
"No one was awake to see it happen..."

Ethan was in a big trouble. He'd been chosen to draw for his group's comic book project. While his dad was a known and talented comic book artist, Peter Rylance, Ethan couldn't draw a stick figure to save a life. One night, an ink blot magically and mysteriously appeared, born from his dad's drawings in a sketchbook. Inkling, he named it. His appearance had given Ethan an opportunity to finish his drawings for the comic book project, as his dad had been "stu
Michelle (In Libris Veritas)
Inkling is a middle-grade novel with a ton of heart and imagination! It centers around a young boy named Ethan, his family, and a little ink blob that changes their life. It’s an engaging and fun story that tackles some heavy themes without ever becoming too overwhelming.

Inkling is a little ink-blot that comes to life in the middle of the night and finds himself at the center of a family as it struggles to heal and move forward. Ethan is stuck working on a graphic novel for school, but he can’t
Jan 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was creative unique and fun! A story about friendship, grief and making the right choice.
It took me a bit to get into it but that is usual for me and youth books.
Inkling was a very fun character. I thought he maybe had a little too many human characteristics for an ink blot but not sure how else to have written that.
I didn’t love the dad. I get he was lost in grief but I didn’t think he came across as very honest. It was nice that Ethan recognized that in himself as well but that didn’t
Oh my goodness! I loved this book!
The characters - Ethan! Every parent should have an Ethan. And his sweet sister Sarah. I loved her. And Inkling! He's just so... How do you describe an inkblob with personality? I loved the name dropping of books that Kenneth Oppel weaves into his story and how Inkling adapted to each story and how he learned from them. Don't we all learn from the books we read? I loved that we watched Ethan and Sarah's grieving dad come to terms with his loss and how Inkling wa
Kaethe Douglas
Moral conundrums rarely appear in middle grade novels. Or really any novels. It's much easier to write good and bad guys who only do good or bad things respectively and leave it at that. But I love complexity and ambiguity and myriad greys. So this is my jam. There's a blob of ink spontaneously turning into a sentient being once it escapes from the sketch book of a graphic novelist. Like every fictional new sentience it soaks up English and USian culture pretty quickly and without wasting too mu ...more
Laura Thomas
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Books that encourage me to use my imagination, to stretch it, are always a delight. And Inkling was quite a stretch. Imagine an inkblot coming to life. All the things it could become.

Ethan Rylance got himself in a big pickle. He volunteered to do the illustrations for his school’s project. What was he thinking? He can’t draw. Mr. Rylance is in a bigger pickle. It’s been two years since his last graphic novel and he’s got writer’s block in a big way. One night, while everyone is sleeping, the ink
Stephanie - Books Less Travelled
*I received an ARC from the publisher for the official blog tour. This does not affect my review.*

I read this, and at first I wans't sure what to think. The idea sounded interesting, though the author was new to me, and I hadn't heard much about him or this book. Now I'll admit, I kind of wish I had read the print copy instead since I seem to have missed out on the illustrations, since I ended up reading the digital ARC instead (O.O) I'll have to fix that soon, hopefully. Anyway, I ended up lovi
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fans of Chris Grabenstein's "The Island of Dr. Libris" may enjoy this book. ...more
Clare Lund
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What started as a fun, quirky read had me in tears by the end. Inkling shows up in Ethan’s life after his mom dies and his dad is struggling with survivor’s guilt and writer’s block. Funny and sweet story with a beautifully heartfelt ending. Ages 9 and up.
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun! Almost makes me forgive ol Kenny for killing Bruce off so abruptly in airborn
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, children, audiobooks
This was a fun, quirky story and our whole family loved listening to this one.
Feb 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like it because it is an outstanding writing and it is funny . I liked that the part when Ethan and his friend , tried to rescue Inkling so they snuck inside Vika's home . That part had a lot of action . ...more
Alise (not Alice!!!!!)
Such a cool book. I loved the funky story.
Carol Chu
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inkling, the ink-blot which emerges from Ethan’s dad’s sketchbook is so hilarious and adorable. Inkling eats ink! Newspapers, books, you name it! He eats them, reads them and learns from them. Inkling, a living being. An adorable living ink blot who has a kind heart (somewhere?!) at the core.

Therefore, he’s my most favourite character in this book. He (or she) is such a great friend to Ethan. I find it adorable that Inkling seems to have a mind and a voice of his own. (Just for easy reference, I
Inkling is a wonderful middle grade novel–imaginative, funny, and full of heart. There are delightful illustrations by Sydney Smith that are perfect at capturing the best moments in the novel, starting with the very first page and the nighttime prowling adventure of Rickman the cat. Ethan and his little sister Sarah are adorable, and written with emotion and sensitivity. Ethan has had to grow up faster than he should have, and he is an amazing big brother to Sarah, who has Down Syndrome. Ethan’s ...more
Jenna (Falling Letters)
Review originally published 27 October 2018 at Falling Letters.

Oppel has delivered us another middle grade novel (to my delight, as I wasn’t much of a fan of his previous book, Every Hidden Thing [young adult historical fiction]). Inkling offers a compelling story that plays to Oppel’s strengths as a writer.

Inkling himself is a delightful character. My cynicism tensely awaited the moment when Inkling would become the villain, but this does not happen. Although Inkling develops autonomy, he
This book pulled me in on so many levels...first how creative to have an inkblot come to life and lift itself off the pages of a sketchbook. Then, the inkblot becomes a benevolent entity for a family in crisis. A boy, Ethan, who has lost his mom and now his dad is becoming lost to depression finds "Inkling" to be a friend and mentor he most desperately needs. Also, Ethan's sister Sarah is autistic and speaks about herself in the 3rd person. She names Inkling, Lucy and feels a love for this new ' ...more
Lorie Barber
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most original MG novels of 2018. I loved the story, the characters, and the twists and turns. But most of all, I loved the lessons quietly written that will mean something different for every child who reads it. I have so many students in mind with whom I want to share this, and each for different reasons. Inkling is a must for every library: classroom, school, public.
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
This is definitely one of my favorites Kenneth Oppel books. It’s light but the story is sooooo good, talking about family, friends, and how to work together. The artwork is creative and adds a lot to the story. I never thought I could love a pile of ink... but I loved Inkling so much. I recommend this to everyone.
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads
I read this book because my nine-year-old son read it and wanted me to as well. It was a creative and uplifting story with some sad parts. The main character’s mother “got sick” and died a couple years prior to the time in the book. The story is never specific about the illness, and the main character has some childlike memories (read: full of holes) about the time. But it is still quite sad. And the father in the story is obviously depressed and not handling his grief well at all. It’s mentione ...more
Ethan is struggling with the artwork for a collaborative graphic novel project he's completing for class. Although he tries hard, he's nowhere near as talented as his father, who is famous for a popular graphic novel series with a superhero. But he gets some unexpected help from an ink blot that slips off his father's sketchbook one night. The little blot becomes friends with Ethan, and he calls him Inkling. To Ethan's dismay, Inkling draws in a similar style to his father, and fixes Ethan's art ...more
Noah Carpenter
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trimester-2
Ethan a teen boy that has a father that is pretty popular. Ethan’s dad is a comic artist who created this drawing that got famous. But the thing is after this Ethan’s dad’s success came crashing down when their family faced a tragic accident. And now his dad can’t think of any more good drawings. Ethan did not get the traits from his dad, as Ethan wasn’t the best drawer in the world. When Ethan is asked to do a graphic novel project for school and is asked to draw Ethan forgets about everything. ...more
Lilly Charysma
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was such a surprise. Some books come at the right time and I am proof of that. The message this story has is powerful. It’s inspiring, breathtaking and very intense.

Ethan lives in his father’s shadow somehow. His classmates expect him to inherit his dad’s talent at creating amazing characters and drawing them, with this school project. Little do they know the struggle his family has had ever since his mom passed away. Hope emerges in the form of a drop of ink.

Inkling becomes a character tha
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent choice (chosen by the kids), for the kids book club that I help moderate. The kids who finished it, loved it. I liked it, but was worried that some of the themes were above them. What was so interesting is that we talked about the book with 8 year olds and the were focused on Inkling and his peril and they really did not have much to say about Ethan and his family. I think if we discussed it with 12 year olds, we would have had a very different conversation. It was so interesting to ...more
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I was born in 1967 in Port Alberni, a mill town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia but spent the bulk of my childhood in Victoria, B.C. and on the opposite coast, in Halifax, Nova Scotia...At around twelve I decided I wanted to be a writer (this came after deciding I wanted to be a scientist, and then an architect). I started out writing sci-fi epics (my Star Wars phase) then went on to swords ...more

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