“Meet cute” is more like meet violent when Joy Malone gets dragged into supernatural politics and ends up saving the world in this teen paranormal series starter.
Her mom has abandoned the family, her brother is off at college, and she has quit the gymnastics team—all Joy has left is school and her best friend, Monica. When Joy goes to dance her angst away at a nightclub with Monica, she sees the inhuman Indelible Ink and his sister, Invisible Inq—and nobody else does. Her magical Sight makes her a danger to the Scribe siblings, but when Ink attempts to blind her, he accidentally marks her as his own. Taken for Ink’s lehman—a human lover or slave—Joy stumbles into a realm with unwritten rules and an odd courtship with Ink. Initially built on lies, their relationship blossoms, with Joy teaching Ink that there is more to life than duty and Ink showing Joy both magic and love. Their sensual (but not graphic) romance and otherworldly adventures transform Joy from a bland protagonist and a burden into a believable if bewildered heroine. Metcalf does not formally label Ink and his ilk as faeries, but her rich physical descriptions create a complex fey world that coexists uneasily with the industrialized human one.
An uneven but eventually engaging story of first love, family drama and supernatural violence. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)