Title: Graffiti Moon
Author: Cath Crowley
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
"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 review: When I saw this book on Netgally, I did a little snoopy dance in my seat. I've been waiting forever to read this. It's been out in Australia for awhile (and been very well recieved), but it's scheduled for release in the US in February. But I didn't have to wait! I was so excited. Then I read the first page, and I did another Snoopy dance. First page = AMAZING. Indulge me for a minute.
I pedal fast. Down Rose Drive, where houses swim in pools of orange streetlight. Where people sit on verandas, hoping to catch a breeze. Let me make it in time. Please let me make it in time.
Just arrived at the studio. Your graffiti guys Shadow and Poet are here, Al texted, and I took off across the night. Took off under a sky bleeding out and turning black. Left Dad sitting outside his shed yelling, "I thought you weren't meeting Jazz till later. Where's the fire, Lucy Dervish?"
In me. Under my skin.
In me. Under my skin. At those words, I was hooked. And of course it just gets better from there. Lucy is the kind of character who's a little naive, a little of a romantic, and a little neurotic. I can relate. Ed is the kind of guy your heart aches for - brilliantly talented, misunderstood, and in desperate need of someone who will believe in him. I cheered for them both from the first page. I wanted them to get together in the worst way, and I can honestly say that I didn't know if that was going to happen or not. AND of coure, I won't tell you if it does. That would break all the suspense, and Crowley does create a lot of suspense with her simple premise. It just goes to show that you don't need car chases (although there is a bike chase in the book) and complex plots to make a good story.
There was more to this book than romance though. The story is told in alternating POV, and while I was sometimes thinking that Crowley spent too much time rehashing what had just happened, I thought it was generally well done. I did enjoy Ed's POV just a touch more. He's more angsty than Lucy, more at odds with the world, and I kind of felt like it was his story rather than theirs. I appreciated the somewhat darker themes that the book addresses, about kids who are sitting on the sidelines waiting for their lives to happen while others around them seem to have the world at their feet. Crowley reminds us that everyone has something to offer. The message isn't a hit you over the head type of thing - it just is what it is. I love books that can set you down in the real world while offering up a fun quirky story. Hats off to Crowley for accomplishing this with elegant, effortless prose.
One final observation. I'm usually not big on books that include snippets of poetry. Aside from the occasional poem by Maya Angelou, I'm just not that into verse. But I did like the way Crowley uses Poet's poems in this book to let us see into his character. I thought the use of poetry was a creative way to introduce his side plot without spending a lot of time on it or letting it get in the way of Ed and Lucy's story.
Thanks to Random House Children's Books for providing me with this ARC.
You can read the first pages here.
I will be buying my own copy when it comes out in February. There's just too much good writing here to walk away with a single reading. :)