July 5th 2012
Hodder Children's Books
"Let me make it in time. Let me meet Shadow. The guy who paints in the dark. Paints birds trapped on brick walls and people lost in ghost forests. Paints guys with grass growing from their hearts and girls with buzzing lawn mowers."
It’s the end of Year 12. Lucy’s looking for Shadow, the graffiti artist everyone talks about.
His work is all over the city, but he is nowhere.
Ed, the last guy she wants to see at the moment, says he knows where to find him. He takes Lucy on an all-night search to places where Shadow’s thoughts about heartbreak and escape echo around the city walls.
But the one thing Lucy can’t see is the one thing that’s right before her eyes.
Guys. Guys, guys guys. I have a lot of feelings about this book. Like, the kind of feelings that I'm going to find difficult to actually sum up in words. So I'm just going to keyboard smash my feelings out instead: JSHKkhgkGgKkghaj. And yes. I did just spend a while trying to get a decent keyboard smash.
Everything about this book just worked for me. It's one of the best contemps I've read, which is saying a lot because I love every contemp ever, and I love this one EVER MOAR. It just good in every way possible. The characters were interesting and I felt I learnt more about them in a night than I learn about other characters whose stories take months. The fact that it only took place over a night also worked in it's favour, I think. That the story was told in such an enclosed time space only made the characters seem more vibrant, and despite the fact that it's not an action kind of story with lots of stuff happening, there was never a moment where I thought that it was dragging.
I felt like I wanted to savour each chapter, but at the same time I couldn't stop reading, and I just wanted to speed through it to find out more about Ed and Lucy and Leo and Jazz, because we get a nice balance of backstory and the events that actually happened over the night. This worked really well for the characterisation, because I probably wouldn't have liked Ed half as much if I hadn't have known about Bert and his job at the paint shop. But it also didn't feel like backstory, because they were just all parts of the characters. They wouldn't have been the same people without those things ever being part of their lives (obviously, I guess) but I don't know. It just wouldn't have been right without it.
The writing was absolutely stunning too, and I dream of the day when I can write as well as her. If this is the standard of Aussie YA, then consider me converted. It just flowed so beautifully and yet was still distinct enough for each character perspective to be able to tell the difference. It felt like she had a real passion for art and self expression, and it came across so strongly that it made me want to like modern art (which is saying a lot because me and modern art have problems. Like, I don't get it, but it doesn't want to be got but I can't like stuff unless I get it and it's SO HARD TO GET. Y U SO DIFFICULT, MODERN ART. Sorry.) I think my favourite parts were Poet's, though, because as much as I loved Ed and Lucy's story, I loved reading the poems about Jazz and how the night was going down on their side, too. It was a really interesting way of getting both their stories across in the middle, while keeping an interesting thrid perspective when all the characters were together and the beginning and end of the book.
I really liked the characters, too (if you hadn't got that already), and I loved the fact that Ed and Lucy already had some kind of relationship a while before the book is set. It was way better than if they were strangers, because that would've been a bit weird (stranger danger, folks!). I felt like I could relate a lot to Lucy, even though I'm not a particulaly arty kid, and she just felt like a very real, palpable teenager, as did Ed. I loved the fact that Ed was kind of a problem kid when he was at school, but that he wasn't stupid or anything like people probably percieved him to be. He wasn't good at words when writing them down, but he expressed his feelings through art, and I felt like Lucy at times - that is this book hadn't have had Ed/Shadow in it at all, you still would've seen him as he was because his heart was painted all over the city walls.
Graffiti Moon is just an amazing book. Lyrical writing and solid, real characters that felt like real people combined beautifully to create something beyond good.