For What It's Worth

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

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. ~ Goodreads

I had trouble reading Graffiti Moon at first. I had read about 50 pages and while it was a good book with a cute premise I can't say I was all that invested in the characters.

Graffiti Moon is told in the alternating POV's of Ed/Shadow - a graffiti artist, Poet/Leo - who adds the words to Ed/Shadow's art & Lucy - a girl who is chasing the fantasy of Shadow but has to deal with the reality of Ed.

I love alternating POV's so that wasn't the problem exactly. It was that in addition to the multiple POV's there were also flashbacks explaining past events and the kids were almost too precious in that way that YA teens sometimes are. Almost too hip, too wise. Too unbelievable. I didn't readily take to Crowley's writing style.

I set the book aside and read something else. Unfortunately Graffiti Moon was a "review" book so I knew I needed to get back to it soon.

I'm so glad that I continued with this book because once the characters fates are intertwined and their secrets unfold I was completely hooked. I had that feeling you get when you're reading something special. You rush to read faster then pull back to make it last just a little longer.

The story takes place over a 24 hour time period. Lucy and her BFF's (Jazz & Daisy) are looking for a night of fun to celebrate the end of year 12 when they meet up with a group of boys (Ed, Leo and Dylan). Lucy is sure that the boys can lead her to Shadow, the graffiti artist who's art speaks to her soul.

Ed grudgingly takes her on a tour of "Shadow's" work hoping that Lucy will connect the dots and see that he is Shadow and that some of the paintings are actually of Lucy. He's baring his soul to her and exposing secrets about himself that he's rarely done with anyone else hoping that she'll want him anyway.

Lucy can't stand Ed because of the way their first date ended years ago (him grabbing her arse and her breaking his nose) but she finds herself spilling all her hopes and dreams to Ed and finding herself falling for him and caring less about her fantasy of Shadow.

Ed & Lucy are both artists and they see the night in bright colors and vibrant scenes. Lucy is a glassblower and makes bottles that hold scenes of her memories inside so she sees the night as moments to shape and store into her bottles. Ed sees and hears Lucy as colors bursting onto a wall in one of his paintings. The perfect blue - birds taking flight. I don't think I could ever visualize a book as easily as I could Graffiti Moon. I have ZERO artistic abilities but I wanted to paint murals of birds all over my walls when I finished reading.

I think this book should be made into a graphic novel. It would be incredible.

The supporting characters were just as interesting. Leo/Poet is in big trouble and needs to earn money quick. He makes poor choices but his reasons are touching. Ed's loyalty to Leo and their friendship was so nice to read about. He and Jazz's blossoming relationship is adorable.

Jazz, Daisy, Dylan, Ed's ex-girlfriend - Beth , his boss & mentor - Bert, Lucy's parents….they all shape where Ed and Lucy came from and who they become. Poet's chapters are brief but pack a powerful punch just at the right moments.

Rating: Despite the slow start I really have to give it 4 out of 4 anyway because of how happy it made me overall. I wanted to hug this book when I finished.

Favorite quotes:

~ "Are you quiet because you're nervous?" he asked."
"I'm quiet because I'm excited." I told him about how I felt, watching him make glass. It was like he was hatching a world from a ball of honey."

~ "I like the way he talks. It's the right amount of strange."

She orbits slowly

Like She's unraveling air
"I know things," she says.
I smell peppermint
It's too sweet in here

Too dark
Too fast
too her

I move clockwise
Winding up
What she's unwinding

~ “Her fingers smudge the lines, and I'm back at school, watching her draw tangles, I think maybe these bottles started from there and i want to ask her if they did, but I don't.

After a while she stands back and we look at the shapes circling me in the thin night. My piece looks better with them on there and I try not to show what I'm thinking. That her work is strange and cool and beautiful, like her."

~ "You're not an entirely safe girl."
"You're not an entirely safe guy."

And this final quote describes the book and Cath Crowley’s writing best to me. It's how I felt while I was reading it. I could SEE Graffiti Moon.

"Her words are pictures, and I'm painting them on the wall in my head as she talks"

Author: website | twitter
Source: Alfred A. Knopf for my honest review
Buy the book! Graffiti Moon

Question to those who have read the book. Do you think that Ed & Lucy are living in a loft with glass flowers or birds hanging from the ceilings and their lives splashed in colors all across their walls? It's all I can think about for some reason. I hope so. lol

Have you guys ever read a book that you almost gave up on and then it ends up becoming one of your favorites? This is the first time that’s ever happened to me.


  1. I can't recall off hand if I've read a book that I almost gave up on and ended up loving it. I'll have to really think about that one.

    I'm not that much into contemporary stories, but this book sounds really beautiful. Actually, the premise reminds me of Charles de Lint, one of my favorite authors. I'll keep my eyes peeled.

    1. This is really offbeat from the typical YA contempt. A little more issue based too. It touches on poverty, learning disabilties and other things. Really well done and beautifully written.

  2. Great review and I don't remember a book offfhand. I can only think of Born wicked ...I couldn't get into but once I did I enjoyed it alot.

  3. AHH! I have been SO excited about this book. I can't wait to read it. Like... wish I had it in my hands right this second. I'm definitely glad you gave it another go and that you ended up liking it! Maybe the timing just wasn't right the first go 'round?

    1. I really think you would like it Magan.

      I don't know - I think they just weren't people I could relate to at first. I'm very practical and NOT creative at all lol and these characters see everything through art.

      After reading it though I want to go to museums, paint a wall...anything artistic!

  4. I've read great things about this book, but you always surprise with a different approach in your reviews, all the time!! That's a good thing btw, I love it :)

    Can't wait to read it, I like that the supporting characters are just as interesting, I love when I found a book where all the characters are equally interesting.

    I don't think I have read a book I almost gave up and ended up loving it, but I know I have read books that I don't think I would like at all and end up enjoying and loving it. Similar experience maybe? haha

  5. why the hell haven't i thought of that. a graphic novel would be absolutely amazing. ahhaha. him grabbing her arse and her breaking his nose. oh the epicness. i'm glad you stuck with it because it is a lovely book. have you read her book ' a little wanting song' it is just as beautiful. more fast paced perhaps. i prefer that to this one actually :)

    1. I had never heard of this author before but I'm definitely going to check out that other book.

  6. So the slow starts bothers me a bit. Sometimes I read on, sometimes I call quits at page 10.

    I am very harsh sometimes ;)

    1. Yeah - I can be pretty harsh too but I'm happy I didn't give up in this instance. It wasn't slow to start - I just had problems relating to anyone at first. The characters talk and act so different from people I know.

  7. YES! This book would be an incredible graphic novel.

    And you hit on something I didn't give much thought to, but it also bothered me, the too hip and too wise thing. Why can't teens be carefree, fun loving teens anymore? What's with all the deep, philosophical, self reflection? LOL

    1. They seemed a little too "precious" at first to me if that makes sense. Once I got to know them better and visualize their art I could see that they would talk that way and see the world that dramatically and expressively.
      That rarely works for me in characters though.

  8. I absolutely loved this book. It was actually the first NetGalley book that I picked up. I'm not sure what I liked most about it. I do know that my mention of the poetry chapters turned some readers off right away, but really, they are so short that even if you absolutely hate poetry it shouldn't be a turn off. I don't read a lot of contemporary fiction, so this was a side step for me anyway. I'm so glad that I gave it a chance. I love books that take me by surprise and Graffiti Moon did just that. Great, honest review. ;)

    1. The poetry is such a small part of the overall book it shouldn't dissuade anyone from reading it. Even though I'm not a huge fan of petty myself I really think those chapters added so much to the story.

  9. I LOVED Graffiti Moon! I think Poet's poetry was one of my favorite things about it. Plus, hello. Veronica Mars reference? Win. So glad you loved it as much as I did!

  10. I can't think of a book off the top of my head, but I hate when books start out too slow, because it really can deter me from wanting to finish it. I'm glad you did though and really loved it. It sounds like it would make the PERFECT graphic novel.


  11. I loved Graffiti Moon. I found it had the right amount of heart-stopping poignance and hilarity, if that makes any sense. The beauty bits made me gasp and stop to soak it in. The outrageously funny parts (like Lucy running over Ed w/her bike) made me snort-laugh. I'm really glad you gave this a 2nd chance. Great review!

    And yes, I would love to think Ed and Lucy are living in their own artistic haven. And of course, he's still grabbing her bum and she's threatening to pop him in the nose. But kisses him instead.

    1. Ha! I love that LOL Yes, he's still grabbing her arse

  12. You probably just weren't in the right mood for this at that time. It happens to me all the time...Lately I keep starting books and setting them down...lots.

    Gotta love those 24 hours books!

    I hope they are living HEA! There's a book I just finished, Love and Other Perishable Items, that I really, really, really want to know how the characters are doing 5 years down the's killing me!

    I can't think of a book I didn't like at first that I ended up least off the top of my head. I'm sure I've had at least one. I have had it happen with a tv show though...Downton Abbey.

    1. I don't usually relate to hip - cool - artsy teenagers with better vocabularies than me lol I'm glad I stuck with it though because I really fell in love with everyone and the writing.

  13. Ahh -- I loved this book so much. That "right amount of strange" quote is one of my favorites.

    I just had a similar experience with CodeName Verity. I struggled through the first section. The character's voice seemed odd to me, there was too much technical talk about planes that I didn't understand, and I think I was also just tired -- and SO annoyed about that movie we discussed. But I kept on and wow, what an amazing book.

  14. I really love this book, it's one, if not, the best book i have ever read! I love about Shaow/Ed, Poet/Leo, Lucy and Jazz. Is a really good book and I could read it over and over again. I also like how the ending turned out.

    1. I was surprised by this book and the writing. It was so unexpected.

      It's definitely going on my best of 2012 list.