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Peek Inside Ink is Thicker Than Water

Intriguing, romantic, and wholly original, Amy Spalding's sophomore novel is the perfect blend of humor and heart. Find out why Trish Doller called it full of "compassion, humor, love, and pitch-perfect authenticity."

Ink is Thicker Than Water

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Intriguing, romantic, and wholly original, Amy Spalding's sophomore novel is the perfect blend of humor and heart. Find out why Trish Doller called it full of "compassion, humor, love, and pitch-perfect authenticity."

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 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. 
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.



"A hilarious yet moving story about growing up and growing apart. You'll finish reading this book with the characters tattooed on your heart." 
--Elizabeth Eulberg, author of Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality

"Amy Spalding has a knack for capturing the messiness of family in a way that feels as familiar and comforting as a pair of perfectly worn jeans or favorite pair of flip flops. With Ink Is Thicker Than Water, Spalding depicts a blended family with compassion, humor, love, and pitch-perfect authenticity." 
--Trish Doller, author of Where the Stars Still Shine

“Moving and funny--a terrifically satisfying read.” ―Sara Zarr, author of How to Save a Life on The Reece Malcolm List

“Funny and poignant, this lively book totally charmed us.” ―Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, authors of Spoiled and Messy on The Reece Malcolm List

“Charming, heart-warming, and thoughtful...The Reece Malcolm List sings!” ―Courtney Summers, author of Cracked up to Be and Some Girls Are on The Reece Malcolm List

“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 on The Reece Malcolm List

Additional Details

ISBN: 9781622660414
Release Date: Dec 3, 2013
Page Count: 320
Imprint: teen
Genre: contemporary, young adult
Tropes: coming of age/family/social issues

Select Featured Reviews

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By Jasprit December 04, 2013

Amy Spalding gave me exactly what I needed in Ink is thicker than Water. I had become a really fussy reader lately so found myself struggling through some mediocre books. But with the Ink is thicker than Water I found myself completely taken in and over 3/4’s of the way through just in a few hour... ...more

By Trish September 01, 2013

I blurbed this book:

Amy Spalding has a knack for capturing the messiness of family in a way that feels as familiar and comforting as a pair of perfectly worn jeans or favorite pair of flip flops. With Ink Is Thicker than Water, Spalding depicts a blended family with compassion, humor, love, and p... ...more

By Keertana November 29, 2013

Amy Spalding tore down any preconceived notions I may have had about the content of her novels with her debut, The Reece Malcolm List, which stunned me with its honest voice, unexpected depth, and realistic portrayal of family. With Ink is Thicker Than Water, Spalding weaves an even more complex... ...more

By Sarah October 02, 2013

Aw, this is really super. I LOVED the way the family dynamics played out--it was completely realistic and I think that aspect will be really relatable for a lot of readers.

I would have adored Amy's books when I was a teenager. The smarts and humor just work for me, and I wish I'd had that sort of... ...more

By Jennifer November 27, 2013

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

INK IS THICKER THAN WATER was such a pleasure to read! Kellie is the kind of character who not only reminds me of myself when I was in high school but will also stick with me for a l... ...more

By Rose July 12, 2015

I'll write this review when I'm a little more motivated to talk about it, but honestly - I can't right now. And there are reasons for that. ...more

By Ellis November 25, 2013

I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Ink is Thicker Than Water impressed me with its realism. There are so many details that make the story all the more relatable. I instantly took to the characters and their interactions with one another. This is a novel that get... ...more

By Brandy November 25, 2013

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 NetGa... ...more

By nick December 25, 2013

Ink is Thicker Than Water is a book that embodies everything that I want in a solid YA contemporary novel. Going into the book, I honestly can't say I had much expectations, especially since I had read mixed reviews, but Ink is Thicker Than Water ended up surprising me so much by how good it was... ...more

By Amanda March 10, 2014

Ink is Thicker than Water by Amy Spalding is set in Webster Groves, St Louis. Sixteen year old Kellie Brooks is convinced that never being excited about anything is the way to go, that is until she joins the school newspaper and starts seeing Oliver. She feels out-shined by her older and adopted... ...more

By Beth March 22, 2014

First of all, the title is so great. I love it.

Another thing I love: the way there isn't a real rising action-climax-falling action structure to this book. Things happen throughout the course of the book, and Kellie responds to them, and she makes mistakes, and people respond to those. Her mistak... ...more

By Ashley August 18, 2014

I adored The Reece Malcolm List, Amy Spalding’s first book, and I am happy to say that I loved Ink is Thicker Than Water 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 sta... ...more

By Meg January 10, 2014

I am far from unbiased, as I had the joy and privilege of watching this book take shape: but I can authoritatively say: that this is a damn good book. A really, really excellent book about family, and identity, and friendship, and how all of those things evolve and how that evolution is both terr... ...more

By Kelly October 27, 2013

Amy Spalding is quickly becoming one of my favorite contemporary YA writers. She knows what a teen story is, and she is able to tell it with not just heart, but with a hearty dose of humor. She never talks down to teen readers and the respect she has for teenagers is obvious.

This is a story abou... ...more

By Lizzie August 06, 2014

Yes. Yes! I've waited so long to read this!

This is such a sweet, light book that explores a bunch of wonderful, necessary things. And it does so from a place that is beautifully unique: Kellie, our girl, has divorced parents, a step-parent, an adopted sibling, a half sibling, a lawyer dad, and (m... ...more

By Vanya D. December 03, 2013

NOTE: I received the eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Amy Spalding is a really talented writer. It was obvious from her first published work I read - The Reece Malcolm List. Her characters were lively, and her writing realistic. It's the same with Ink is Thicker Than Water.

He... ...more

By Summer January 16, 2014

Realistic and honest, yet hopeful, and heartwarming, too. I love romance as much as the next person, still I also very much appreciate when an author is able to craft a story that has sparks, but offers more as well. Most girls lives (hopefully) don’t just revolve around a cute guy; Ink is Thicke... ...more

By tonya. September 03, 2016

With her second novel in a year (busy girl!), Amy Spalding delivers on the expectations she set with her debut, The Reece Malcolm List–which, you might recall, I adored.

In Ink is Thicker than Water, Spalding succeeds again in creating teenage characters that feel honest and authentic. They sound... ...more

By Estelle October 26, 2014


I was a huge fan of The Reese Malcolm List, and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to check this out. It has so many things I love in books -- eclectic families, school newspapers, and really dynamic sibling relationships.

Two things I enjoyed in particular:

- Growing pains Kellie is... ...more

By Isamlq February 03, 2014


Ink Is Thicker Than Water…. So, Amy Spalding, I think I love you. Too strong? Too desperate? The thing is this second book totally merits this new found devotion of mine. The way things play out in this one: it’s not just about her:

It’s family again,
it’s new connections,
and then it’s choice.... ...more

By Brianna October 19, 2014

NOTE: An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

This book is outstanding. I was craving som... ...more

By Chelsea December 04, 2013

For me, this book was all about developing identity. Kellie's trying to figure out her place in the world, what sets her apart and gives her value, and struggling to do it during those painful teenage years. Kellie's older sister suddenly has no time for her, her father thinks she's a screw-up an... ...more

By Jenn November 07, 2013

This book:
1. Is NOT the start of another endless series.
2. Has realistic characters and
3. Contains (Sometimes painfully) realistic situations and relationships
4. Shows characters who grow up without becoming saccharine.

We need more YA fic like this. I've more or less given up on contemporary YA (... ...more

By April February 06, 2017

Ink Is Thicker Than Water by Amy Spalding is a book that sat unread on my Kindle for longer than necessary. Seriously, every time I finish an Amy Spalding book I am all, wow that was good, I should read the rest of the books I have by her. Read my full review here Link goes live 2/15/2017 ...more

By Amy August 06, 2015

This was very good, but I read it a while ago so I can't remember specifics. Anyway, I bought it (which I almost never do with unshareable ebooks) and did not regret that at all, so a good sign! ...more

Showing 1 to 25 of 25
3.66 avg rating
Amy Spalding

About the author

Amy Spalding

Amy Spalding grew up in St. Louis, but now lives in the better weather of Los Angeles. She received a B.A. in Advertising & Marketing Communications from Webster University, and currently works as the Digital Media Planner for an independent film advertising agency. Amy studied longform improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and can be seen performing around L.A.

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