Reading Is Good For You

Book Reviews, Literary News, and Thoughts on Life

Books that Rock: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

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.

From Cath Crowley comes an exhilarating adventure set against a moonlit cityscape — one night of art and poetry, humor and longing, anticipation and risk, and  (maybe) love.

There are some books that you enjoy reading and find yourself perfectly satisfied when the end comes, and there are books that you finish and find yourself immediately wanting to turn back to the beginning and start anew, whose characters seem like old friends who you want to hang out with as much as possible, a book that you can’t stop thinking about when you’ve finally convinced yourself it’s time to put it back on the bookshelf and find something else to read. Graffiti Moon definitely falls into the latter category. No joke, I felt really disappointed when I thought I had about ten pages left with Lucy and Ed & co. and it turned out that those pages were really the acknowledgements and author’s bio and a bunch of blank pages! Melina Marchetta couldn’t have been more right when she said “I missed Ed and Lucy the moment I finished this novel and wished I could spend more than one crazy night in their company.”

If you’ve read enough of my reviews, you’ve probably figured out by now that I read books for the characters, to spend some time with people who I wished were not fictional, so I could hang out with them in real life. Lucy, however, is one of those rare breeds of characters with whom I not only would gladly exchange friendship bracelets, but whom I would love to be.  She’s feisty, she’s passionate about her art (which is glass blowing, something you don’t find mentioned too much in YA books or books of any kind), and is unabashedly herself, even if that means others find her quirky or a bit weird. I love that she’s able to put into words the way a piece of artwork makes her feel or her thoughts on the state of mind of the artist when they created the work, like she can see into their very soul. She’s the kind of girl who breaks a guy’s nose, accidentally on purpose, for grabbing her arse and her list of people she wouldn’t mind doing it with is full of fictional characters. Seriously, what’s not to like?

And then there are characters that you can’t help but feel for, whose situation is grim, but you can see their potential and know with one break, one push in the right direction,  one right decision made, they could become something absolutely amazing. This is Ed ten times over. He’s not as vivacious or effervescent a character as Lucy, but I don’t fault him for that. He isn’t quick to let too many people see the deepest part of him, largely because he feels that his dead-end life doesn’t make him worthy of being let into others’ lives, but it’s evident from his artwork that he’s desperate for some sort of escape from his seemingly hopeless situation. Here’s the thing, though — instead of being a whinger about it, or wallowing in an annoying self-pity party, Ed chooses to follow the advice of friends and go for the ‘no guts, no glory’ approach and make something of himself and make things right with the people he hurt through his dishonesty. For that I give him a few fist pumps and my eternal adoration.

Together, Ed and Lucy have this wonderful potential to be something good and that makes me smile and gives me warm, happy thoughts. I like that  there was no instalove attraction between the two of them, which makes sense, given that they initially don’t like each other for hilariously awkward reasons, nor did they end their night long excursion head over heels in love with one another. The potential is there, though, and it makes me want to stick around and watch the two of them become famous artists and get married and make fabulously artistic babies together.

Some more awesome things about this book that I’m going to try not to ramble on like an idiot about . . .

  • Secondary characters!: So many authors expel all their creative energy on their main characters and create supporting characters that resemble stick figures more than actual people, but this book does not fall into that trap. All the supporting characters are fully alive, particularly Jazz, who’s psychic (not psychotic) and would make one heck of a best friend and Leo, who’s a bit of a lovable idiot.
  • Poetry interludes from Poet, Shadow’s graffiti artist partner in crime!: And this coming from someone who doesn’t get and/or doesn’t like poetry. Though all of his poems are wonderfully earthy and relatable, I think my favorite would have to be his tongue-in-cheek haiku: “I am in deep trouble / I owe lots and lots of cash / Malcolm will kill me.”
  • Art! Of all kinds!: Seriously, for the full reading experience, enjoy this book while sitting in front of your computer with your image search engine of choice open so you can take a look at all of the artwork mentioned. Also, be sure to head over to Melbourne Graffiti to get a taste of some genuine street art in the city where this book is set.

                                                                                                                    

Now for the rockin’ and/or rollin’ part of this Books that Rock review, where I provide a soundtrack of sorts that describe events occurring in the chosen book. Be warned that spoilers may occur in the song descriptions. If you haven’t yet read the book, don’t let that stop you from enjoying the music.
Keep on Walking — Passenger

This song nearly perfectly describes Lucy’s night-long quest to find Shadow, as exemplified in the chorus: “I’m like a stone carried on the river / like a boat sailing on the sea / Well, I keep on walking / I keep on walking / ’til I find that old love or that old love comes to find me.”

Hearts a Mess — Gotye

This song is so perfect in how it describes how Ed used to hide his struggles from other people, so they never got to see and know the real him, warts and all. I love the line “Pick apart / the pieces of your heart / And let me peer inside /Let me in / where only your thoughts have been.”

I’ve just recently become aware of Gotye (who is from Melbourne by way of Belgium, btw) and though his style of music is not something I’m normally drawn to, I couldn’t help but like it. His lyrics are sometimes deeply introspective, other times uplifting, but always catchy and easy to relate to.  He’s also intensely creative and artistic, as evidenced by the many layers that go into the creation of each song (just watch one of the behind to scenes documentaries  and you’ll see what I mean) and his film clips, which makes him a great addition to this soundtrack.

Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise — The Avett Brothers

Ed might have doubted who he was or where he was going in the past, but now that he’s decided on the ‘no guts, no glory’ approach to living, he can see hope for himself, just like the person in this song. I think the lines “Decide what to be and go be it” and “There was a dream / One day I could see it / Like a bird in a cage I broke in and demanded that somebody free it / And there was a kid, with a head full of doubt / So I scream til I die or the last of those bad thoughts are finally out” are particularly apropos for him at the end of the novel.

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One comment on “Books that Rock: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

  1. Pingback: Audio Business Books | All On Audio Books

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