Gorgeous writing, great characters and an intense timeline make up this lyrical YA romance.
Author: Cath Crowley
Title: Graffiti Moon
Genre: Romance (YA)
Publisher: Hodder Childrens
Published: 5 July 2012
Source: review copy kindly sent by the publisher
Find it at Amazon UK or Goodreads
The blurb says...
"Let me make it in time. Let me meet Shadow. The guy who paints in the dark. Paints birds trapped on brick walls and people lost in ghost forests. Paints guys with grass growing from their hearts and girls with buzzing lawn mowers."
It’s the end of Year 12. Lucy’s looking for Shadow, the graffiti artist everyone talks about.
His work is all over the city, but he is nowhere.
Ed, the last guy she wants to see at the moment, says he knows where to find him. He takes Lucy on an all-night search to places where Shadow’s thoughts about heartbreak and escape echo around the city walls.
But the one thing Lucy can’t see is the one thing that’s right before her eyes.
My verdict: lyrical, and yet laugh-out-loud witty. A delicious holiday read.
There is so much to praise in this lovely little book! The writing is glorious: rich and clever and perfectly-constructed. It's one of those rare books where I could lose myself in the story, desperate to know what would happen next and how these characters would end up, without ever forgetting I was experiencing a constructed piece of art. I don't know how that's possible (Cath Crowley works magic, perhaps...?), but I was admiring the novel's artistry even while rooting for Lucy and Ed and their friends.
That beauty of writing doesn't make it a tricksy intellectual book, by the way, or mean it loses itself in imagery. There's simply a perfection to it, a rightness to each chosen word. In many places, I laughed out loud at the wittiness of the teen's dialogue - or perhaps more often at the clash between their perspectives and verdicts on things.
The novel is told from both Lucy and Ed's perspective, in alternating first person chapters with occasional sections from Shadow's graffiti partner, poet. Often these alternating perspectives present the same scene, or part of the same scene to accentuate the comedy of errors nature of these teens' interactions.
Since the novel tells the story of a single night, its intensity is enhanced, cleverly echoing the intensity of the characters' age. At the end of their school life, they are 17-18, poised to begin new chapters of their lives. Cath Crowley perfectly captures the earnestness sitting alongside recklessness of this age. The love of Art that Lucy and Ed share brings about a depth to their exchanges and, in some ways, provides them with an additional language. The idea of Art as a means of self-expression that risks exposing you whilst also allowing others to read it in their own way is central to the book, and clearly articulated as relating to many and varied art forms: poetry, glass blowing, graffiti are the examples used. At the same time, the characters' immaturity and vulnerability is exposed in some of their choices, providing darker moments. This is not merely a light and fluffy read, enjoyable and entertaining as it is.
Overall, this is a beautiful book, life-affirming and delicious. I recommend it highly.