January 2, 2014

Review: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Title: Graffiti Moon
Author: Cath Crowley
Release Date: December 26th, 2012
Publisher: Ember
Page Count: 272
Source: Purchased
First Reaction: *Standing Ovation*
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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Lucy's in love with this Graffiti artist called Shadow. So when her best friend, Jazz, insists on some big adventure to celebrate the end of senior year, Lucy agrees, as long as she can also use the night to hunt for Shadow. This leads to Jazz and Lucy spending the night with Daisy, who, in turn, pulls her boyfriend Dylan and his friends Leo and Ed into the mix. While Daisy and Dylan are a couple, Jazz pairs off with Leo and Lucy is left with Ed - the boy Lucy went on a date with once before. A date that ending in Lucy breaking Ed's nose. However, what Lucy, Jazz and Daisy don't know is that Ed is Shadow and Leo is Poet, Shadow's partner in crime. But Ed and Leo know the girls are looking for Shadow and Poet and they also know Lucy loves Shadow. Basically: Get ready for one night/book of awesome.

All of the Goodness:

I'm not entirely sure what I should say about this book that hasn't been said before. It's honestly everything everyone else's reviews say it is: magical, realistic, fantastic, an absolute must-read...

But I think my favorite bit of this book is the way all of the characters and points of view are juggled. The chapters shift between characters - between Poet (Leo), Ed and Lucy. Poet's chapters are just poetry and while I'm not one for verse, I really do love the honesty in Poet's work. I also really love how the poetry really paints a picture of who Leo is - and also who Jazz is. Since she spends the night running around with Leo, we get to see how he sees Jazz and it's really incredible how much you can understand with so few words. Ed and Lucy's chapters are similarly expressive and equally wonderful (they get full prose, so you can only imagine) and their POVs also go a long way towards fleshing out both their characters as well as Leo, Jazz, Daisy and Dylan's. And that's a whole lot of characters to get to know in such a short little book.

Another thing this book does that I don't always find successful but I absolutely loved in this book is the pop culture references. I think there were like 3 or 4 snuck in there that date this book culturally and I usually hate that. I always feel like there's a way around that. But I didn't hate it in this book. Maybe because one of the references was a Veronica Mars reference and we all know how I feel about that, but I think it's also because this is a book that's dated in it's graffiti culture as well as it's pop culture.

Which isn't to say I don't like the graffiti bits in this book. I actually think the art is what makes this book stand out from the rest - the graffiti, the glassblowing... all of it. A lot of YA characters are artistic. They draw, they paint, etc. But graffiti and glassblowing aren't your usual hobbies and it's that eccentricity that makes this book stand out.

Now, to get more specific regarding my adoration for the two main characters:

  • Ed: Our wonderful, perfect graffiti artist turns out to be Ed, who isn't quite as perfect as Lucy makes him out to be. And not just because she broke his nose on their one, previous date. It's because of his own personal flaws and issues, both self-imposed and otherwise. He's just so compelling and sympathetic, you honestly can't help but love him, despite what caused him end up with a broken nose in the first place. 
  • Lucy: At first you're like: "Girl, get a grip." But then you realize why Lucy's looking for the perfect she sees in Shadow's work and it's kind of heartbreaking. It's interesting, though, that Lucy doesn't realize that the beauty in Shadow's walls don't come from perfection, rather from imperfection and that's what draws her to him. Her journey to realizing that is quite stunning, though. 

It's worth noting that I also really like Jazz, Daisy and Dylan. They're such fantastic teenagers. All six of our main characters are so believable as teens, it's almost like I could meet these kids tomorrow, even here, not in Australia (although suddenly being in Australia tomorrow would be way cooler). 

Oh, and as for the big reveal (because, please, like this book could happen without Lucy finding out who Ed really is), I'll just say this: Perfection. It's a moment that would've been butchered by many others but was wonderfully pulled off by the fantastic Cath Crowley.

Basically, what I think I'm trying to say is, this book is a work of art, just as stunning as any of Ed's graffiti walls or Lucy's glassblowing projects. 

The long and short of it?

Plot: The concept itself is so simple yet so complicated and so wonderfully pulled off that you can't help but love it.
World Building: I really loved reading about this soft of underground world Ed lives in as Shadow. I also loved the insights into glassblowing and Australian lower class life.
Character Development: Ed, Lucy, Leo, Jazz, Daisy and Dylan really come to life over the course of the 272 pages of this book and I think that's one outstanding, phenomenal feat.
Prose: I didn't mention this above because I'd just end up totally incoherent but, like the rest of this book, the words were perfectly perfect.
Would I Recommend This Book?: This is one of those contemporary books I'd recommend to everyone even if they don't usually read contemporary books. So get on that.

Are you one of those people who already read this book, wrote a review and made this review totally repetitive? Or maybe you haven't read this one yet and now feel the need to read it ASAP? Be sure to let me know in the comments below!