Saturday, October 29, 2011

Graffiti Moon, by Cath Crowley

First published in 2010 by Pan Macmillan

Lucy and Ed. Leo and Jazz. Daisy and Dylan. Six characters and one sultry spring night. They are searching for Shadow and Poet – graffiti artists whose work makes even the bleakest parts of the city into something beautiful. But each of them are also dreaming for something else. Graffiti Moon has us travel with them as they search for answers over one long, surprising night.

This is one of those books that is kind of indescribable. How to put into words a book that has all the beauty of a dream and yet such wonderfully funny slices of reality, so much heart and so much hurt. It has that achy feel; bittersweet and momentary – like one of those nights where even everything that is imperfect is perfect, because you know it will never happen in this way again. One of those nights where your chest feels full to bursting. Graffiti Moon is just like that.

I wasn’t convinced at the beginning, but the book won me over with its characters, its humour and Cath Crowley’s beautiful writing.

The writing is kind of flowery and stream-of-conciousness but it is done in a way that is pretty but not purplish. There are so many lines in this book that just get it right.

And of course, the way the six main characters interact is wonderful and warm and witty. There is lots of funny banter, clever without being carried away by it. The three main romantic relationships are cute and charming, but the interplay between the three girls and the three guys is done well too – I especially loved Leo and Ed.

Lucy as a heroine is rather gorgeous – from worrying about her parents to ‘dinking’ Ed on her bike, she has all the quirk and personality heroines should have. How I would love to see more female leads in YA written like this!

Lucy and Ed ended a bit too fairytale-ish for me. I would kind of preferred it if they didn’t end up the way they did – endings can still be happy without everyone getting what they want.

I liked the poems that were included for what they do for the book as a whole, but on their own they don’t do much for me.

I also loved how Crowley created the ambience of a hot night in the city, the strange mix of beauty and filth, the sense of being young and alive with only the night ahead of you. It reminded me a bit of Leanne Hall’s This is Shyness (another great Aussie YA read if you haven’t already).

Graffiti Moon is a pretty book, whimsical and romantic and adept at finding beauty in the strangest and ugliest of places. I can see why it has received so much praise. It is hopeful and sad and vivid with emotion. One of my fave reads this year.

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