Hello everyone, and welcome to the Blog Tour of M. M. John’s The Death of Ink, hosted by the lovely Shane at Itching For Books! The Death of Ink is a young adult paranormal novel, and M. M. John’s debut. Read ahead for my review and an excerpt from the book.
Title: The Death of Ink
Series: The Death of Ink (#1)
Author: M. M. John
Genre: young adult paranormal
In short: captivating writing and a thrilling plot, along with really relatable insights into being/wanting to be a writer
Goodreads: Fifteen-year-old Paige Langley’s life has always revolved around good grades and escaping her less than ideal home life…but once she meets Devon Connors, her life drastically changes.
Although, they share an instant attraction, Devon’s concealing a dark past. And an even darker secret…there’s a dead girl haunting him nightly.
Resolute to win the school’s writing contest, Paige will do just about anything to achieve her goals. So after she finds a binder containing information on a past murder and the illegal activities of the students, she believes the stories are fictional and the perfect way to win the contest.
But the owner of the manuscript, Devon Connors, has other plans. To keep Paige from exposing his secrets, Devon befriends her and even offers to help her write a winning story for the contest.
The chemistry between Paige and Devon is undeniable, but Paige doesn’t know if she can trust him. The deeper she digs into the dark underbelly of their high school, the more she realizes that some secrets are better left buried.
Where to begin with this book? First off, let me warn you that this one of those books that have sadly misinforming descriptions. It sounds like it overflows with insta-love, but allow me to reassure you that it’s not nearly as bad as it seems. Do give it a chance.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about the book. Paige Langley’s old school closed down, and she was transferred to the senior class of another school despite the fact that she’s only fifteen. Paige’s real passion is writing, and writing fantasy specifically. When she sees a poster at school advertising a writing contest sponsored by one of her favourite authors, Paige decides to make winning the contest her goal, because the first prize includes a chance to be published. Our other main character is Devon Connors, an all-around star who’s the editor of the school newspaper. Devon is what really holds the paper together, and he loves writing just as much as Paige. The two meet by chance at a bookstore, and as they become friends, Devon offers to help her write her story for the contest. Paige agrees, but the closer she gets to him, the more mysteries she finds.
The thing I loved the most about this book was the main characters’ love for writing. That was something that I, as an aspiring writer, could really relate to. The overall fleshed-out state of the characters made the reading experience all the more enjoyable. They are not obsessed with each other, they do not whine about their difficult lives, and I could tell how passionate they were about what they loved.
The one problem I had with the book? It was confusing. I was confused for a good bit of the book, which was what cost it stars. I read it in one sitting, but maybe that first read wasn’t enough for the story to properly soak in—which is a little iffy for me, because it’s rare that I slave over a book for days. However, I think the story was definitely intriguing enough, and I will be looking out for the second one!
About the Author
College student by day, clandestine writer by night, M. M. John lives in a Florida town full of ghosts, mysteries and secrets. The Death of Ink is her first novel.
Read ahead for an excerpt of The Death of Ink!
“Can I help you?” the man asked. He had a thick accent that Paige couldn’t quite place. His stomach stretched over a belted waist and khaki pants. Mr. Herman Ferguson, according to his name-tag. He squinted at Paige as though he had trouble seeing her.
She closed the door. “I came in here because…” She looked at Devon.
“This is Paige,” Devon said. He got up from his seat and stood beside her. “She was thinking about joining journalism this year.”
“I think she could be one of our writers,” he said.
She swallowed. Mr. Ferguson looked her over. Liver spots covered his milk-white skin. He ran a hand over the coarse, salt-and-pepper hairs on his beard.
“You’re that Langley girl,” he said. “Unfortunately, the only room we have for writers is in the sports section. You would be working with Cristina. Is sports something you’re interested in?”
Devon looked at her and nodded.
“I guess,” Paige said hesitantly.
“Great. Well, since you’re here already, take your time and look around at what everyone else is doing. Your first assignment will be next week.”
Mr. Ferguson turned to talk with another student.
With the teacher’s attention elsewhere, Paige pounced. “What was that about?” she hissed at Devon.
“Relax,” he said. “I didn’t know all these people would actually show up to class. It’s usually empty, except for Mr. Ferguson of course.”
“But how is this going to help me with the contest?”
Devon was about to answer, but stopped when his girlfriend approached. “Cristina,” he said, smiling.
“Hey.” Cristina held on to Devon’s hand and gave it a squeeze. Devon introduced the pair and the girls exchanged hellos.
Paige noticed that the girl was even taller up close, standing head to head with her boyfriend. Tiny hoops lined each of her ears and a rose was tattooed on her left wrist.
Cristina smiled. “I didn’t know you were interested in journalism? Pretty cool.”
Paige’s hands started to sweat. “Well, it’s a new school. I might as well get into something.”
“I can’t wait to work with you on the sports column. It was getting kinda dull doing it alone.”
Paige warmed at the girl’s friendliness. Maybe this won’t be so bad. “Sure, that would be great.”
Cristina turned her attention back to her boyfriend. “Devon, I want to show you something.”
Left alone, Paige decided to take Mr. Ferguson’s advice and peep at what everyone else was doing. The diversity of students was large, especially in such a small group. There was a very dark boy with dreads and his petite East Asian companion, a brunette with pretty grey eyes, and two foreign exchange students from Romania. There were greater disparities in personality: preps, Goths and jocks — the chronicles of the socially inept and deviant, the triumphant of the popular and the elite. These were the headlines of their own lives, not written, but lived out in color.
Paige went from desk to desk, asking questions and getting answers and advice. The radio played a pop ballad. Students retrieved cans of soda from a cabinet and sat down to flirt. Devon took a seat at a desk in an isolated corner.
“Interesting class,” Paige said, sitting next to him. “Still, not much gets done here, does it?”
“You’ve noticed,” Devon said. “Most people don’t start their articles until the day before printing, which means I have to stay up all night editing.”
She ran a hand over her desk. “I appreciate you trying to get me involved and all, but I thought you were going to help me with the contest. I didn’t expect to join a program.”
“I am,” he said, erasing something his paper. “You’re going to need a reason to be in here every week.”
“I don’t know anything about sports.”
“You can learn.”
Paige rolled her eyes. “How can you act so flippant about it?” She lowered her voice, not wanting to draw attention. “Don’t you get that I don’t know what I’m doing here?”
He glanced up at the clock and stood to pack his bags. His back was to her, a blasé position that made Paige want to scream in frustration.
Finally, he spoke. “Why don’t you look at writing for the sports section as an exercise? If you can get yourself to write well on a topic you don’t care about, you’ll do even better when you write on something you do.”
She couldn’t believe this.
“Look, I promised that I’d help you, and I will. But I need your cooperation too.”
Paige frowned. “I didn’t realize ‘help’ came with conditions attached.”
He sighed. “Where is your story?”
She handed him the binder. He put it in his book-bag. “I have to go to practice now. But I’ll get back to you next week.”
He appeared lost in thought for a moment. A flicker of doubt crossed his face, then a slow grin. “And since I’m doing you a favor, I’m going to need you to do one for me.”