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.
Review: What did you accomplish last night? I ate too many brownies, did a bit of reading, and slept for a fulfilling eight hours. Then this morning I woke up and finished Graffiti Moon and felt like a schlub. Because guess what Ed, Leo, Dylan, Lucy, Jazz, and Daisy—the wonderfully funny and flawed characters in the book—accomplished last night? They only explored the entire city of Melbourne, learned about art and themselves, forgot and remembered birthdays, took part in many bathroom stall pep talk sessions, averted an attempted robbery, and, oh, they fell in love.
In Graffiti Moon the entire plot and heaps of character development occur in one night. One magical night. Everything about this book is so ridiculously clever. Lucy, a whipsmart glassblower whom I think most dreamer/reader types will relate to, is on a quest to find Shadow, an enigmatic and brilliant street artist. Unbeknownst to her, the group of boys she and her friends have decided to celebrate the night with includes Shadow and his partner Poet. The narration is first-person alternating POVs, a technique that works perfectly since we see things unroll from two distinct but intertwined perspectives.
This book is so funny while also promising us that people have the capacity to change, the capacity to be better than they first appear. It’s a lesson on the falsity of first impressions. A lesson on taking a chance to get to know someone. It can be rather poetic in doling out these lessons. For example, my favorite quotation:
…and then I do know the truth. Then he clicks together, and I see him. His face is kind of lopsided for a second, like he’s trying to keep himself together, keep himself in the shape that he shows to the world, but he can’t do it anymore and everything in him is sliding out.
The characters in Graffiti Moon are smart. I’ve always bemoaned the paucity of intelligent teens in the YA genre, but I think I’ve found my cure with Australian authors like Cath Crowley. They construct humorous books that remain tethered to reality; imperfect characters that still function at a high mental level; love stories smothered in beautiful truths.