The book I read is called, Ink and Ashes, by Valynne E. Maetani. The story centers around the protagonist, Claire Takana, a 17 year-old girl, whose father passed away when she was only 7. All her life, Claire and her two brothers had believed that their dad had died from a heart attack of natural causes, but when Claire discovers an old letter indicating that her dad may have foreshadowed his own death, family secrets start to unravel.
Claire, with the help of her brothers and close friends, finds out that her father was a member of the yakuza back in Japan, - the Japanese mafia, - and begins to realize how little she actually knew of him and how much her mother and step-father are hiding from her. All of sudden, with the new information she unearthed, dangerous things start to happen to her, and she realizes her life is at risk. With someone out to get her, Claire can't help but think that these events are somehow related to her father's past in the mafia, and knows she must find a way prevent her potential death.
I really enjoyed reading this book because it had a mix of mystery, action, and romance, which all appeal to my personal preferences. There were many references to Japanese culture as well, which made it very interesting to read, as I find that Japanese history and legends always carry some sort of a dark and ominous undertone, and helped to really add a sense of urgency to the looming threats within the plot. There were a plethora of characters here who I found extremely likable as well, as Claire (being the only girl in her group of close friends), had an entire squad of guys who always had her back, and who constantly showed their admirable qualities depicted in their true friendship. I would honestly recommend this book to everyone, and especially to those who enjoy mysteries and action, because there were a lot of cliff-hanger scenes that were very unexpected. If you'd like to find out what happens in the end, make sure to read this book!