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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

Ink Me by Richard Scrimger has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the one of the “Seven (the series)” books.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Bernard “Bunny” O’Toole is physically strong and quick, but not especially bright. Bunny’s grandfather dies and leaves each of his seven grandsons a task. Some of the boys must undertake dangerous missions and travel overseas. Bunny’s only directive is to get a tattoo.

Grandpa flew planes in World War II. He wants Bunny to have the same tattoo as members of his old flight crew. Grandpa’s note says this will help Bunny remember he is never alone and always has a team to back him up.

Bunny follows Grandpa’s instructions. He takes a bus to the specified tattoo parlor in a rougher part of Toronto and gives his name to the tattoo artist. After pulling up his information, she inks him with a tattoo of the number 15 next to a burned-out candle. Bunny assumes the number relates to his recent 15th birthday.

When he leaves the shop, people on the street look at Bunny in shock and surprise. He sees a thug attacking a boy about his age and comes to the boy’s rescue. The boy, Jaden, notices Bunny’s tattoo and asks if he’s 15. Bunny says yes, and Jaden takes him to a neighborhood gym.

All the young men training there are tough and black and have tattoos of the number 15. Readers realize Bunny has inadvertently associated himself with a street gang. The burned-out candle tells the gang Bunny killed someone in prison. They’re surprised that this young, slow-witted white boy is one of them, but his speed, boxing ability and self-defense skills impress them. Bunny is happy to be making new friends.

Grandpa also assigned a task to Bunny’s brother, Spencer. Spencer calls Bunny from Torrance, Ontario, and says he’s driving with someone named Al Capoli. The gang members, led by a young man named Cobra, overhear this and question Bunny. Cobra knows someone named Capoli who has gone missing and is part of an important business deal they’re planning. Cobra begins making calls to other members of the gang when he hears Capoli is in Torrance.

Bunny spends more time at the gym. Jaden tells him all about their rivals, the Angels, and some of the other boys help Bunny improve his fighting skills. Gang members continue to talk about an upcoming deal that will earn them enough money to keep the gym open. They’re still dubious about Bunny, but the boy continues to feed them information they find useful.

Bunny accompanies the gang to get merchandise for the mysterious deal. The boys retrieve boxes labeled “car parts,” so Bunny assumes that’s what they’re selling. He finds himself in tenuous situations where he and his friends must evade members of rival gangs.

On the day of the deal, Bunny and the others drive to the mall. They meet two other gangs in the parking garage. The police come, and gunfire erupts. Over the next few hours, the mall becomes a war zone as boys from various gangs try to escape police and hide out. Only then does Bunny learn the truth: He is part of the 15th Street Posse, a gang that deals drugs and guns. The disillusioned teen runs into the mall, wondering if any of these new companions were really his friends.

Bunny runs into Jaden, who assures him they are friends. The boys steal clothes at one of the mall shops and put them on to look less conspicuous. Bunny is surprised to see Jaden has dressed as a girl. They decide to hide out in the mall movie theater. When police come in, Jaden begins kissing Bunny so they’ll look like a typical teen couple. Bunny is initially caught off guard and disturbed, until he realizes Jaden is a girl.

As the gunfire continues, police interrogate people in the theater. Bunny and Jaden wrestle Jello, a gang-member-turned-police-informant, for a gun. Jello gets shot and is hospitalized. Police take Bunny to the station, where his mother and Grandpa’s lawyer try to clear up the misunderstanding.

Bunny ends up serving time for murder when Jello gets an illness in the hospital and dies. Bunny doesn’t mind jail. Jaden comes to visit him weekly, he gets to work out a lot and his tattoo makes other incarcerated kids respect him. He learns Grandpa had reserved a different tattoo for him, but the artist had accidentally given him someone else’s ink. Jaden points out Bunny has earned his 15 tattoo now that he’s doing time for murder. Despite being locked up, Bunny is happy about the way his life is going.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

None

Authority Roles

Bunny’s mother is concerned about her sons’ missions. She is perplexed and exasperated by Bunny’s participation in a gang, even though she realizes he doesn’t think like other boys. Dad supports Spencer and upholds Grandpa’s wishes by accompanying Spencer on his mission to another part of Canada. Grandfather leaves missions for his grandsons to make them stronger, braver men.

Profanity/Violence

The Lord’s name is used in vain. The words crap, h---, d--n, a--, suck, balls and b--tard also appear a few times. The story includes a fair amount of fighting and gun violence, but depictions are not overly graphic or bloody. Jello does die from his wounds.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Jaden and Bunny kiss in the movie theater. Bunny is initially shocked by Jaden’s advances but continues kissing after he says he has made a discovery. Only later do readers learn Jaden is a girl.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Crime: Bunny’s gang and others participate in drug and gun deals and fighting. Bunny and Jaden steal clothes from a store when they’re hiding from the police. Gangs leave their symbols in graffiti on buildings to mark their territory. Bunny tells Jaden where she can find the money that was misplaced in the mall after the drug deal was interrupted. The 15th Street Posse uses it to keep the gym running.

Misspellings: This book is written as though the main character, a slow-witted boy, penned it himself. As such, most of the words are misspelled, and sections are a bit difficult to read.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

9 to 15

Author

Richard Scrimger

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Orca Book Pubishers

Released

On Video

Year Published

2012

Awards

Unknown

Reviewer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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