Book Review: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books

Published: 14th February 2012 (expected)

Format: e-book

Pages: 224

Genre: Contemporary Romance, YA

Recommended Reading Age: 16+

Rating: 8.5/10


‘Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she’s going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He’s out there somewhere—spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night—and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy’s stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she’s managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they’re suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can’t see is the one thing that’s right before her eyes.’

Graffiti Moon has received a lot of buzz on the blogs – it’s the kind of book that can easily get overlooked, particularly in today’s paranormal, dystopian-filled market but if you’re a fan of contemporary fiction, your really need to pick this up.

How much did I love that this book was filled with creative, artistic, intelligent teenagers – who have dreams and aspirations and plans for the future and family lives and actually care about something other than getting the hottest guy in school’s attention, which, lets face it, can often be the main concern for a lot of heroines in YA. (Although I’m pretty certain Ed is hot anyway – I’m just saying. I mean, it doesn’t need to be said, does it. He just obviously is.)

These kids are all passionate about something and I loved reading a book where the supporting characters, both adults and teenagers, were just as well drawn as the main protagonists and had individual personalities. I connected with all of them; Lucy’s parents, who have an unconventional but strong marriage. Bert, in all his wisdom and his encouragement of Ed. Leo and Ed’s life-long friendship and their understanding and stead-fast support for one another. Leo’s no-bullshit tolerance Gran. Jazz and her psychic abilities. Ed, this incredibly talented artist, who feels lost and is going nowhere.

I have to say though, I think it was Leo who was my favourite character. His poetry was something else, and I loved that his narration was written in verse. It totally captured and expressed his feelings in that given moment and really gave us insight into who he was, rather than how others probably see him, arrested over a girl, owing money to dangerous people. He’s the guy who writes up his best friend’s essays for him because he has trouble reading and writing, who, in his spare time, helps out around his Gran’s house.

This particular poem was my favourite,

‘Where I lived before

I used to live with my parents

In a house that smelled like cigarettes
And tasted like beer if you touched anything
The kitchen table was a bitter ocean
That came off on my fingers

There were three doors between the fighting and me
And at night I closed them all
I’d lie in bed and block the sounds

By imagining I was floating
Light years of quiet
Interrupted by breathing
And nothing else

I’d drift through space
And fall through dreams
Into dark skies
Some nights

My brother Jake and I would crawl out the window
And cut across the park
Swing on the monkey bars for a while
One the way to Gran’s house

She’d be waiting
Dressing gown and slippers on
Searching for our shadows
She’d read us

Poetry and fairy tales
Where swords took care of dragons
And Jake never said it was a load of shit
Like I thought he would

And then one night
Gran stopped reading before the happy ending
She asked, “Leopold, Jake. You want to live
In my spare room?”

Her voice
Sounded like space and dark skies
But that night all my dreams
Had floors’

It took me a while to warm up to Lucy. She blows glass, (which I saw a guy do once and it was the coolest thing ever and something I’ve always wanted to try since). She doesn’t take crap from idiotic boys and isn’t afraid to go after what she wants, but my God, she had some embarrassingly stupid romantic notions when it came to Shadow. But I forgive her for it because she’s a teenage girl. And sometimes we do stupid things. And because she only needed one night with someone real to see for herself that her image of Shadow was a nothing but a young girl’s idealistic illusion. But mostly I came to like her because she has a tendency to break a guy’s nose when he crosses a line. And you’ve got to respect that in a girl.

Crowley has a way of placing the reader right in the moment. Graffiti Moon’s narration isn’t overly flowery or descriptive but its full of feeling and it just flows. She really brought Shadow’s graffiti and Lucy’s glass to life. I especially liked the way she writes relationships; the story and the characters all felt realistic; the growing feelings between Ed and Lucy, their disastrous first date, how they eventually get to one really know one another and give each other a second chance. I also liked how Ed’s feelings for Lucy didn’t diminish or cancel out what he felt for Beth.

Graffiti Moon is a fresh story about art, life, falling in love, friendship, self-acceptance, growing up and second chances. It gets an 8.5 from me because while Graffiti Moon made me smile, it didn’t quite make my heart race – though it came pretty darn close.

‘Most times when I looked over he wasn’t drawing. He was leaning back in his chair and staring at me. And every time he stared I felt like I’d touched my tongue to the tip of a battery, I was nothing but tingle. After a while the tingle turned to electricity, and when he asked me out my whole body amped to a level where technically I should have been dead. I was pretty sure we had nothing in common, but a girl doesn’t think straight when she’s that close to electrocution. 

I liked that he had hair that was growing without a plan. A smile that came out of nowhere and left the same way. That he was tall enough so I had to look up at him in my dreams sequences. I really liked his T-shirts. When he asked me out he was wearing this one with a dog walking a man on a leash. And there was always this space around him. The sort of space you’d queue to get into.’

*Many thanks to Random House Children’s Books and NetGalley for making this available for review*


5 thoughts on “Book Review: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

  1. I’ve been hearing good things about this one and it sounds just lovely. I started it the other day and then stopped…because I’m weird, haha. I’ll definitely give it my full attention soon.

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