Wednesday 8 August 2012

Book Review: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

'School 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. Somewhere in the glassy darkness, he's out there, spraying colour, birds and blue sky on the night. And Lucy knows that a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for - really fall for.
The last person Lucy wants to spend this night with is Ed, the guy she's managed to avoid since punching him in the nose on the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells Lucy he knows where to find Shadow, the two of them are suddenly on an all-night search to places where Shadow's pieces of heartbreak and escape echo off the city walls. And what Lucy can't see is the one thing that's right before her eyes.'

Continuing on with my AWW2012 Challenge I read Cath Crowley's Graffiti Moon. This novel is essentially a YA love story set on one night in Melbourne. But it is also much more than that. Graffiti Moon is like one long work of art. It is obvious that Crowley views the world from an artistic perspective; she is very creative and thoughtful, and her language is richly descriptive. It's no wonder this book won the Prime Minister's Literary Award.

I almost finished this book in one sitting. It is an easy read, not because it has no depth, but in fact for the opposite reason - the story is so beautifully written and the characters so wonderfully intriguing that you just can not put the book down. Just like Lucy and Ed, I spent a night wandering in the delicious world of art; Crowley manages to take the reader fully into this world so we are experiencing every single detail, feeling, event.    

I know teenagers (especially artistic teens) would adore this story of late night antics and the search for love. Reading the book reminded me of just how deeply we feel things as teenagers - those first feelings of love are often so overwhelmingly delightful. I could understand Lucy longing to meet the mysterious Shadow. I could relate to her desire to kiss the artist whose work spoke so directly, and eloquently, to her heart and soul. I remember getting lost in those innocent, yet all-encompassing, flushes of teenage love. Crowley's prose transported me back to that time.

My favourite section of the book occurs when Lucy and Ed are looking at Shadow's paintings at the train yard. Lucy talks about her own art work - her memory bottles - and she draws some for Ed to see. I loved Crowley's language here - "Some of her bottles are smooth half-moons, curling at one end so they can hook on to other bottles. Some are misshapen suns that narrow and rise into one long, thin line of light. Some open at the end like trumpets, some in a twist of curls that make me think of a circus." 

Graffiti Moon is a touching story of first love. It is also a story about the attempt teenagers make to try and discover their identity and find their confidence when they're on the threshold of adulthood. The characters will stay with you and Crowley's lyrical descriptions will captivate you. It's a truely wonderful book.  


  1. I'm going to Melbourne soon, I should try and get to reading this read, it's been on the TBR for a while. It would be the perfect time to read it.

  2. Thanks for sharing your AWW review!

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  3. Hi Erin.

    Like you, I read GM in virtually one sitting - and for exactly the same reasons. This book is beautifully written, its insights are moving and at times profound. It doesn't shy away from the complexities of teenagers' experiences of love, friendship, family dynamics, schooling and the prospects of earning a living, but I didn't ever feel I was being preached at. The story itself, told over the course of one night, was interesting, compelling and believable.

    Thanks for the review, and your participation in the AWW challenge.