Nov 28, 2016

Review: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

TitleGraffiti Moon
Author: Cath Crowley
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: February 14, 2012
Pages/Format: 260, Hardcover
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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. 

Book in One Word: Well...

Graffiti Moon was a book I'd been wanting to read for ages since it's one of those contemporaries that so many people seem to wholeheartedly love and adore. I didn't think it'd be just another contemporary romance to fill my mood reading desires; I thought it'd be one of those contemporaries that rises above the others and earns a firm spot on my favorite's list. It also had the bonus of being Aussie lit, something that, from what I've heard, tends to generally be good. So I had hopes and expectations collecting dust on my copy of Graffiti Moon, waiting to be wiped off and placed elsewhere once I finally, finally read it. And I did.

I'm going to be completely honest here: I almost, almost DNF'd Grafitti Moon and set it aside for good. It just wasn't working for me on so many levels: I didn't care for the characters, I wasn't a fan of the writing, and I most certainly did not understand why I had heard so many good things about it. I wanted to see how it would all end, but at the same time I wasn't turning page after page to get to the end and see the resolution; I didn't really care. Since I wasn't getting through the book and didn't want it to hinder my reading time, I set it aside and that was that. But then I was looking at it on my shelf again and had a slight itch to give it a second try. I think I tried to resist that itch--it's not like I was going to suddenly fall in love with the writing and the characters and everything else. But I did give it another try. And you know what? It wasn't so bad a second time around.

Maybe part of the problem with Graffiti Moon the first time around was that I wasn't in the mood for it even though I thought I was. The thing about mood reading is that if I'm reading a book and I don't really want to is that said book needs all the luck in the world and then some if I'm going to like it very much, otherwise it doesn't really stand a chance. Because when I picked Graffiti Moon up again, though all the problems were still there, they weren't nearly as bothersome. I actually liked the book this time, and I was able to momentarily mute the book's issues and really read it.

All that said, Graffiti Moon's biggest downfall was its writing. Other aspects--like the characters and their actions and some of the believability, so to speak, of the story--would have been more successful if the writing had allowed them to be so, and then the book as a whole would have been an improvement. My problem with the writing was its lack of maturity. The characters said and did things that were mature--they're all over eighteen, I think--but the writing caused their voices to come off as obnoxious, immature, unbearable middle graders. (No offense to middle graders, but some just drive me up the wall.) And it's a damn shame, really, because there were some really lovely and beautiful and metaphorical lines throughout, but they just got gobbled up and overshadowed by the writing that wasn't all of that.

I mean, Graffiti Moon has a great concept, what with a glass artist who fancies herself a mysterious graffiti artist named Shadow searching him for one night with the help of a guy she crushed on--until she broke his nose. It's told from three points of view--Lucy (the glass artist), Ed (the guy whose nose she broke), and Poet (the guy who puts words with Shadow's art). Almost immediately we learn that not everyone is who they appear to be and that there are secrets and mysteries abound, but it's fun to watch it all unravel and predict how the story may end. But one of my favorite things about Graffiti Moon--and what it may have done most successfully--is what it instilled in me: the complete and utter need to do something fun and creative and artsy. The desire to grab a paintbrush and just put paint on something, anything, was very strong, and I love it when a book can inspire such things.

Though my second try with Graffiti Moon was a vast improvement over the first it still did not, unfortunately, hit the hopes and expectations I had for it. (And I'm still iffy over the close-knit hype it seems to have.) My issues started with the way it was written and the voices given to the characters and went from there, but it did have strengths in some lyrical lines, its push to make its readers make art, its premise, and the works of Poet. I was looking forward to Crowley's upcoming release Words in Deep Blue (I mean, dat cover), but I will admit that I'm wary over what I read in Graffiti. But I'll still give it a chance because, if you do recall: second chances can work out okay.

Did I like it? Yes.
Did I love it? Nope.
Would I reread it? Probably not.
Would I purchase it? I mean, I already did, but if I didn't own it I wouldn't really have a need for it.
Who would I recommend it to? Contemporary lovers who are fans of stories filled with romance, art, a night in the city, poetry, and books that make you want to get up and do.

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