Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Book Review: Graffiti Moon

Title: Graffiti Moon
Author: Cath Crowley
ISBN: 0375869530
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Theme: Art, Graffiti, Glassblowing
Binding: Hardcover (my copy was an e-book ARC)
Length: 272
Published: 14 February 2012
Website: Cath Crowley
My Rating:

Synopsis: 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.

My Review: Reading Graffiti Moon was an absolute pleasure. Not only was the book beautifully written, but setting the story around art--specifically 2 art forms (graffiti and glass-blowing) that are not really focused on in most novels, is pure genius. I'm not sure if this book is a product of research or if the author grew up around graffiti artists and glassblowers. Whichever it is, Cath Crowley did an amazing job with her descriptions of Shadow's many walls throughout the city and Lucy's passion for glass-blowing.

Graffiti has always been an interesting art form to me. It's fascinating how someone can take a basic idea, object, or thing and blow it up on a wall to either express how they feel or to convey a message to the world. And how fast the artists work! I know for many it's the adrenaline rush that gives them the energy to work feverishly.

The glass-blowing aspect was a pleasant surprise. I knew the book was about a girl who is searching for a graffiti artist named Shadow, but I never expected Lucy to be a glassblower! The reason this excites me is because I live in the South Jersey area (in the US) and grew up near a place called Wheaton Village. It is the home of the Museum of American Glass and when I was a kid, I would go on class trips there. And guess what? We got to actually watch glassblowers do exactly what is described in Graffiti Moon! So talk about bringing back childhood memories!

Even though the book is under 300 pages and majority of the story is told within a 24 hour period, the story is packed tight with different themes that many teens go through. Also, strong characterization earned Graffiti Moon a star alone. Cath Crowley is a master of detail. As I was reading along, I couldn't help but take some character notes. Check out my notes below:

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Lucy: In search of a mysterious Graffiti Artist named Shadow. She is very artistic herself-- she practices glass-blowing. Her parents are very eccentric and because of this, she has perhaps a little more freedom then most teens her age. Her father, who currently is staying in the shed, is a magician, working on his jokes and tricks. Her mother is in the process of writing a novel. Although her parents try to explain to Lucy that they just need space during these creative processes, she thinks they are headed for a divorce. Do they eventually get a divorce? Will Lucy find the ever allusive Shadow?

Jazz: Jazz is Lucy's best friend and claims to be psychic. She has a flair for drama and wants to go into acting. Since this is their last year of high school, she wants to find passion--in the form of a kiss-- to use that "experience" during auditions once they graduate. Could Leo be the muse she is looking for?

Ed: Ed lives with his mother in a tiny flat. His mom is putting herself through nursing school while working nights. Ed was working in a paint store until the owner, Bert, died of a heart attack. Ed once had a thing for Lucy. They went on a date but like most young men, he let his hormones get the best of him and he touched her butt. She instinctively elbowed him in the nose, breaking it. Two weeks later, he drops out of school. Could Ed still have feelings for Lucy? Why did he drop out of school?

Leo: Leo is Ed's best friend and he writes beautiful poetry. He borrowed money from Malcolm Dove and has only a certain amount of time to pay him back before Dove and his goons come after him. Leo devises this plan for him and Ed to break into the school and steal supplies so they can get cash to pay Malcolm back. When he meets Jazz, feelings he thought were long buried because of another girl, start to resurface. Could Jazz be a game changer? Why did Leo borrow money from Malcolm Dove? Will his plan work or will he drag Ed down with him?

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Besides excellent characterization, I mentioned before that Cath Crowley has a beautiful way with words. Perspectives alternate between Lucy and Ed, but right before Ed's sections start, Leo's poetry is on display, some assignments for school, and others...well, you will see. Not only is the poetry moving, but Crowley's use of imagery throughout the novel is astounding. Here is one of my favorite examples, Ed describing how he feels about Lucy: “I kept dreaming her and me were tangled like that. Kept dreaming of this spot she had on her neck, this tiny country. I wanted to visit, to paint a picture of what I found there, a wall with a road map of her skin.” Beautiful, right?

Here is another great quote, Ed describing how he feels about art and his struggle with reading and writing: "Feels like art's the only thing I ever figured out. Words, school, I never got the whole picture...I'd try to make a tunnel round the teacher's voice so it came to me clear. Most days I couldn't do it. I'd hear it all and so I'd hear nothing. Like I was standing in a place where every sound was the same level and I couldn't separate the threads."

I can keep quoting this book forever. Here's one more before I move on to my last point. When Lucy tells Ed that her father is a magician. He says, "My dad was a magician too. Got my mom pregnant and disappeared."

I want to wrap up this review by making people aware that the author is Australian and Graffiti Moon is set in Australia. I love books that are set in other countries because I think it's a great way to learn about a different area, a different culture, etc. And although we may learn different things from other areas, what remains the same is the issues our teens go through on a daily basis all over the world. I'm so happy that someone noticed Cath Crowley's Graffiti Moon and that it's finally being published over here in the United States. I'm sure where ever this book goes, teens and adults alike will see it for the rare gem it truly is.



  1. Wow great review! I have already heard so much about this book and wanted to read it but now after reading your review I really want to read it!
    I can't wait to pick this one up!
    Well done!!

  2. I love the review, because you describe so much without giving any major details away. I think it's interesting that the book focuses on graffiti and glassblowing, because that's actually a bit of what we're learning/already learned in my Art Appreciation class at school. I'd really love to read this book now :) Can't wait to read your next review!

    1. Thanks, Cathy! I had a feeling you would be interested in this book. And I am happy I stayed away from the spoilers lol. I normally put a red disclaimer before my reviews because sometimes I go off on a rant and might let a few things slip that I shouldn't have mentioned lol.

      Anyway, thanks for the support! Can't wait to read and post one of your reviews!

      Mia aka Ms. S :)

  3. Originally I wasn't sure how I felt about the synopsis of this book. I do love reading books that take place in areas I'm unfamiliar with - for all the reasons you mentioned, and if the author is from there and really acquainted with the place it makes it even better. I'll have to give Graffiti Moon a read!
    - Jessica @ Book Sake

    1. Hey Jessica! Well, I'm glad I was able to sway you a little bit lol. I'm not saying its everyone's cup of tea. But if you like the different location aspect, you will enjoy it. That's really the only thing I forgot to mention in my review-- that because it takes place in Australia (and the author is from there), they say certain things differently. An example would be our school system-- we have freshman, sophomores, juniors, etc. Over there the kids would say they are in year 9 or year 10, etc.

      Anyway, thanks again for stopping by. I'll be sure to stop by yours again and see what's going on over there :)


  4. Hi! I'm stopping by from the Second Thought (, from the Weekday Exposure Hop. :) Following you on GFC, NB, and twitter. I loved your review - I really want to read this!

    1. Hey Jessica! Thank you for stopping by! I just joined/am now following you on NB, Twitter, and GFC. Glad you liked the review! The book is great!

      Have a great day!

      Mia at The Muses Circle

  5. Beautifully reviewed.. want to read this book now..

    thank you for visiting mine

  6. Yaay! I'm so glad to hear you liked this book too! I feel like a lot of Aussie authors don't get the attention/praise they should. I completely agree with you about the glass-blowing aspect of the novel--so original and interesting!
    Wonderful review Mia!