Contemporary Young Adult
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Available February 14th
Received through NetGalley for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.
Like stepping from the soft, muted whites and grays of winter into the bright, vibrant colors of spring, Graffiti Moon surprises us with a rich beauty we weren’t necessarily expecting, forcing us to see temporarily through the eyes of two unique individuals for whom the world is both canvas and muse for their art. Reading from the points of view of both Ed and Lucy has us longing for the ability to see as they do; to find levels of meaning in the seemingly mundane and be able to express and interpret our emotions (as well as the emotions of others) through the use of bold colors and images that speak louder and truer than words ever could. For a short time reds, blues, and greens are not simply colors, instead they represent levels of feeling in a completely foreign yet distinctly understandable way thanks to Ms. Crowley's careful crafting of two people who help guide us through their Technicolor world where life is depicted through graphics, glass, and poetry.
Lucy is a young woman easy to love, full of fire and sass with a penchant for breaking boys’ noses when they attempt to grab any part of her anatomy she’s not given them permission to touch. She speaks her mind but not in an abrasive or overly opinionated way, instead simply preferring to live out loud and tell the world her own beautifully unique view of it. She doesn’t see things through only rose-tinted glasses, but rather the glasses she filters her friends, family, and surroundings through are gloriously multi-hued, and she chooses to stop and interpret things in a way others might not take the added time to do. Her relationship with Ed is brimming with tension given their past history and the secrets he’s keeping from her, and watching the two of them relate to one another as they haven’t been able to with another person is a joy we are thankful we have the opportunity to witness.
Ed is a young man who exists in dualities, baring his soul to the world through his graffiti work yet hiding not only his identity, but also the parts of himself he doesn’t feel other people would understand, in the empty spaces surrounding the bright tones of his artwork. He is as much a shadow as his graffiti persona suggests, keeping himself very much in the dark and allowing his perceived shortcomings to keep the colorful intensity expressed in his paintings locked up tight in the guise of a ghost artist. Little by little over the course of his night with Lucy we see that color start to leak through–attracted to the light she emits so brightly–as she slowly starts to draw the fear out of some of his secrets and makes them seem not quite as threatening as they once were.
Graffiti Moon is an extremely quick read, full of humorous interactions between Ed and Lucy who both have quick wits and sharp minds, and rich with details that illustrate just how well art can help people communicate with others and understand themselves. The romance between our two protagonists and narrators exists not in the physical—touches between them being few and far between—but rather in possibilities, giving us glimpses of how they could be together without ever showing us the full picture. We get to interpret what we will about them and their future, just as they interpret the world around them so fascinatingly, and therefore for the duration of the time we spend reading we find ourselves a little more like Lucy and Ed than we were before picking their story up.