Review: Graffiti Moon
Lucy is a glassblower on a mission to find a graffiti artist whose work resonates with her. The artist, Shadow, might be one of the only guys who really gets her. But she doesn’t even know who he is outside of the paintings he has scattered around the city.
Ed is a high school dropout out for a night on the town to celebrate with his buddies, who just graduated from year 12. He quit school to work at a paint store in order to help his mom pay the rent and to avoid dealing with his literacy difficulties. While hanging with his friends, Ed meets up with some girls, including Lucy, and gets pushed into partying with them for the night–at least until the guys have to go rob a school to pay back a thug.
Ed and Lucy went out once years before, but the date ended with Lucy breaking Ed’s nose after he tried to touch her “arse.” (I love Australian lit.) Despite his fear of ending up with a broken body part, Ed agrees to take off with Lucy and help her find the elusive Shadow, even if that means keeping some awfully big secrets of his own.
Cath Crowley’s Graffiti Moon takes place in the course of a single night with flashbacks to the past. It is like an Australian Nick and Norah with the dramatic irony of a few Greek plays thrown in for good measure. The book begins like it’s on speed, with short sentences and fast pacing that build up your adrenaline and help rush you through the action of the night. However, Crowley slows down at points to craft some of the most gorgeous, vivid descriptions of art and art-making that I have ever read. It is in these passages that one can truly appreciate Crowley’s ability to capture the intangible beauty of art and turn it into language so concrete you can almost grab it right off the page.
Shadow’s artwork is accompanied by poetry written by a friend nicknamed, fittingly, “The Poet.” I could have done without the poetry chapters that are scattered throughout the book. I haven’t run across too much poetry written by fictional teen boys that I particularly loved, and this was no exception. For me, the poetry was a distraction from the rest of the story.
Though I didn’t love the poetry interspersed in the story, the rest of the novel offered more than enough to make up for it. Lovers of art, Australian YA, and romantic tension will find plenty to enjoy in Graffiti Moon.