Author: Cath Crowley
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Date: August 2010
Length: 264 pages
Taken from Pan Macmillan:Lucy is in love with Shadow, a mysterious graffiti artist.
Ed thought he was in love with Lucy, until she broke his nose.
Dylan loves Daisy, but throwing eggs at her probably wasn't the best way to show it.
Jazz and Leo are slowly encircling each other.
An intense and exhilarating 24 hours in the lives of four teenagers on the verge: of adulthood, of HSC, of finding out just who they are, and who they want to be.
I was absolutely thrilled when Cath Crowley offered me an ARC of Graffiti Moon as I’d already heard so many amazing things about it. Remember it was one of my Waiting on Wednesday picks last month? Anyway, I gave a very enthuasiastic YES and pretty much looked like this when it arrived:
Set over the course of one intense night, Graffiti Moon alternates between Ed and Lucy’s point of view, with sections of Leo’s poetry in between. Somewhere between a school graduation celebration and an unpleasant, impending job, Ed offers to help Lucy find Shadow, a mysterious graffiti artist who decorates the dark corners of Melbourne with his aerosol artwork. Keep in mind that Ed and Lucy have a history (one failed date which ended in tears, vomit and a broken nose) and that Ed is harbouring a huge secret, the pair is in for an interesting evening.
I’m going to say it right now and please excuse my gushing, but I adored these characters! Both Lucy and Ed are engaging and relatable protagonists. I was particularly impressed with Lucy – I love reading about teenage girls who are happy to be themselves and don’t fall victim to cliché or Mary-Sue-esque wish fulfilment. Lucy is quirky, artistic, a little confused and not afraid to blurt out exactly what she’s feeling at any given time. Ed too is all kinds of lovely – he’s a intriguing and sympathetic guy who uses artwork to say everything he can’t articulate.
The supporting characters (Leo, Jazz, Dylan and Daisy) are all well-developed and completely loveable (even the slightly hopeless Dylan, who eggs his girlfriend on her birthday). I love that the girls aren’t always meek and mild but thoughtful, honest and daring. Crowley has an amazing eye for dialogue and skilfully creates fantastic fast-paced, funny banter and these beautiful, candid conversations. Even the little things, like Leo’s relationship with his grandma is captured brilliantly “No, I’m not coming home yet. I’ll be home when I’m ready. Okay. I’ll be home when you say I’m ready”.
I also really enjoyed the role that art played throughout Graffiti Moon. It was the perfect way (in the same sense Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist uses music) to weave the story and characters together. There’s these amazing descriptions of Lucy’s glassblowing (again, a small detail which subtlety speaks volumes about her character) and of Shadow and Poet’s art, as Crowley really brings these images to life for the reader. Cath Crowley also explores the ideas of perception and identity throughout the novel, and does so in an engaging and honest way.
Graffiti Moon is everything I love in contemporary YA fiction. It’s a charming and exciting story of adventure, acceptance and art. I also loved the fact that it was set in Melbourne, and I won't lie - the references to Flinders Street and Monash Uni made me squeal a little inside. It’s a fresh and honest novel, with a cast of strong characters who left me smiling. Highly recommended.