Graffiti Moon

Graffiti MoonBy Cath Crowley

Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: February 14, 2012 (original pub August 1, 2010 in Australia
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Source: Purchased

“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.

Goodreads Summary

It’s graduation night and friends Lucy, Jazz and Daisy are determined to have an adventure. Daisy’s occasional boyfriend Dylan (when she doesn’t want to kill him) claims to know the infamous graffiti artist Shadow and his narration sidekick, Poet. Lucy leaps at the chance to search for them. She’s been stalking Shadow for over a year, sure that if she can find him, he’ll be the ying to her yang, definitely do-able. Dylan comes attached to friends Leo and Ed though – generally not an issue since Jazz sort of has the hots for Leo. It’s a problem for Lucy and Ed though, since she broke his nose after a disastrous date in the tenth grade and his nose is about the only thing that’s been mended.

The guys reluctantly agree to Dylan’s plan – very reluctantly for two highly secret reasons. Ed is Shadow and Leo is Poet and after midnight, they’re going to break into the high school to steal some stuff to pay back a loan shark that Leo borrowed some money from. It’s not exactly something you take a date on but Dylan convinces them all that Shadow and Poet will be at a house party and the guys that it’ll all be over before they have to be somewhere else. When they get there, the three couples end up separated and Ed and Lucy end up leaving on their “search” for Shadow alone.

Sometimes when a story is told in alternating first-person narration it can be annoying, but or awkward but it was so perfect here, there were places I wanted to page through faster to get to either Lucy’s or Ed’s perspective. Their home lives and feelings about their futures were total opposites but as the night went on, they connected through art, the one thing Lucy’s always been sort of snobby about. The more Lucy sees Ed in the graffiti he paints (although she’s still too blind to figure it out), the less he wants to show her – and the more determined she is to find more of it. Sort of like a mom.

Technically, the story is a three person narration, since between Lucy and Ed’s chapters are poems from Leo. I think Lucy put her finger right on it when she asked Ed if he thought Leo/Poet was a poet or social commentator and he didn’t know. They’re a nuanced mix and can be taken either way although some are clearly about love or romance. Leo himself comes across as someone who doesn’t take things very seriously or is at least a little irresponsible and the poetry adds something big to him. Lucy’s friend Jazz is psychic (seriously sort of proven to be!) and if she can see the good in Leo, then there must be a future that works out for him.

So much is packed into the story it’s hard to believe it all takes place in one night. There are a lot of flashbacks, mostly to Ed’s life that’s been a series of struggles that he uses his graffiti to express and Lucy spends the night unmasking. Lucy’s studying to become a glass-blower and there are some gorgeous descriptions of the process, pieces and some artists. The whole book is littered with references to art as Ed and Lucy get to know each other, this time without the broken nose.

I don’t even know what to say about everything else in the book except that it was so much fun to read. I loved Lucy and Ed’s friends – Jazz was funny with her psychic predictions that always managed to come true and that she fiercely ignored Lucy’s pleas to get her away from Ed. Daisy was so cute because she was always furious with Dylan but would never tell him why leaving him clueless but still following her around and even when someone told him what he’d done wrong he still managed to bungle things. Some guys really need an instruction manual about how to handle girlfriends. The little subplot about what Leo did to need money from a loan shark and everyone trying to dodge him was always there as was the question of why Lucy’s dad was living in the shed.

My Summary: This started out pretty slow – almost slow enough that I thought about putting it down which is almost unheard of for me. I really would have kicked myself since it ended up being a book I’ll reread. The unexpectedness of Ed’s indecision through the entire story was a realistic addition that made it even more interesting and I wanted to read faster, get into his head more and figure out what he was going to do. I’m so glad this got picked up for US distribution because it turned out to be a little unearthed gem.

My Rating: A


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