Thursday, February 2, 2012
Review: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Lucy is a girl on a mission: her friends corral her into finding romance the night after their Year Twelve graduation, and in a sense, she’s doing that. For Lucy is determined to find the elusive graffiti artist known as Shadow, whose paintings all over town make her feel like this is the guy for her.
Unfortunately, looking for Shadow means hanging out with Ed, the high-school dropout with whom Lucy shares a not-so-great history. Tagging along with Ed may be what Lucy has to endure in order to find Shadow, but Ed has a secret that just might make—or break—their night together…
Australian authoress Cath Crowley burst into my life last year with her US debut, A Little Wanting Song, which was beautiful and sad and gratifying and made my heart ache in ways that, in some ways, felt like a reaffirmation of how much words could make me feel. She’s done it again with her second book to be published in the US, GRAFFITI MOON, becoming another example of why more Americans should take note of the astounding YA that Australia has to offer.
GRAFFITI MOON is a Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist without the hipster music references and excessive foul-mouthiness. For me this is a really good thing, as I can enjoy the cuteness of a he-said/she-said story in which we readers know more than the characters about what’s going on, without crashing into the f-word every other sentence. (Gosh, Nick, for serious, to what effect is your display of your highly creative vocabulary?) Lucy and Ed had my heart from the start: I love a good story where boy and girl hate one another even though there’s some obvious attraction going on.
It would be pointless to write a review on any of Cath Crowley’s books without mentioning her way with language. The woman obviously has poetry flowing through her veins, bred into her genes. Reading GRAFFITI MOON is an experience for your poetic taste. Some authors can draw scenes that paint themselves vividly in your mind; Cath Crowley does that, and she crafts phrases that just make you sigh, so extraordinary do they look on the paper, feel in your mouth. She can write descriptions like “The heat rising from the takeaway place nearby makes the air look like satin” and make you wonder why anyone ever bothered to describe that visual phenomenon in any other way.
GRAFFITI MOON is a study in words, not quite characters or plot. Supporting characters are marvelously quirky or ridiculous, and brighten up any scene. You don’t quite read Lucy and Ed’s alternating POVs to better understand their persons, for, as is expected, their voices sound fairly similar. At times the plot can feel a little draggy, because Lucy and Ed do quite a fair share of talking. And the one “bad guy” in the story feels pretty flat, that side plot appearing and dissipating somewhat clunkily.
Nevertheless, reading GRAFFITI MOON was a delightful experience, as, I hope, rereading it will be, too, one day in the future. For I have no doubt that I will come back to this story, to savor again and again the skill that Cath Crowley can wield in writing.
Cover discussion: Mmm, there's a reason why I featured this in a Cover Lust post. It's a super-cool combination of artsy and quirky, youthful and whimsical.
Knopf / Feb. 14, 2012 / Hardcover / 272pp. / $16.99
(The best gift to give your bookish loved one for Valentine's Day!)
Physical copy gifted by the incredibly generous Trish; e-galley provided by Random House and NetGalley. Thank you all for contributing to my Cath Crowley fangirldom!