Lucy has been chasing Shadow for years. An elusive graffiti artist, he’s left his mark all across the city and all across Lucy’s life. She knows Shadow is someone she could fall for. Hard. She knows, finally, she is close to finding him.
At the end of Senior Year Lucy’s friends Jazz and Daisy want an adventure. Lucy doesn’t. She wants to find Shadow and tell him how she feels. She doesn’t want to spend the night with Ed–not after she has finally escaped the gossip and rumors surrounding their first and last disastrous date two years ago.
But when the adventure Jazz wants turns into what Lucy wants, she knows she has to go along. Even if Ed is the person who might finally bring her to Shadow.
Ed thought his life was finally coming together after he left school. Instead it’s all falling apart. No job. No girl. And definitely no prospects. Haunted by all of the places he isn’t going, Ed leaves his mark across the city walls as Shadow saying with pictures what no one seems to hear in his words. Doesn’t matter anyway. His best friend Leo is the perfect Poet to his Shadow.
Too bad Leo is better with words than with life choices. Instead of a night spent working on another wall, Ed is drawn into Leo’s horrible plan to hang out with girls from school before making yet another terrible decision that could get them both in big trouble.
The prospect of spending a night with the girl who broke his nose is bad enough. When Leo offers to help that girl find Shadow and Poet, he knows it’s going to be trouble. But he goes along anyway.
As Ed walks Lucy through Shadow’s art, the night that promised to be a disaster turns into something else. In a city filled with missed connections and opportunity, Ed and Lucy are right where they’re supposed to be in Graffiti Moon (2012) by Cath Crowley.
Set over the course of one night, Crowley takes readers on a journey through Shadow’s art and also through each character’s background. At 257 pages, Graffiti Moon is a deceptively short book. Its length belies the broad range of things Crowley packs into this one marvelous novel.
Crowley uses a dual narrative structure to great effect here (as she did previously in A Little Wanting Song). Chapters alternate between Lucy and Ed’s narrations. Poets from Leo are also scattered throughout. With voices all their own, Lucy and Ed’s narratives sometimes overlap to show both of their interpretations of events and each other.
Filled with art, poetry, and humor Graffiti Moon is an evocative story filled with beautiful writing and characters that are achingly real. Immediately inspiring and refreshingly hopeful, Graffiti Moon is completely engrossing and a brilliant reminder that everyone has time to become exactly who they’re meant to be.
Possible Pairings: Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman, Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, When It Happens by Susane Colasanti, Paper Towns by John Green, Before I Die by Jenny Downham, Undercover by Beth Kephart, The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta, The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, After the Kiss by Terra Elan McVoy, I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero, Damaged by Amy Reed, Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales, A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith, Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
Exclusive Bonus Content: In addition to loving this book, I loved all of the art it mentions and I loved hunting it down to see what all of the characters were really talking about. If you don’t feel like doing that, you can find what I believe is a comprehensive list of all of the art mentioned below. Click “more” to see it in no particular order.
- Mark Rothko: Number 301 (Reds and Violet over Red/Red and Blue over Red) [Red and Blue over Red], 1959
- Jeffrey Smart: Cahill Expressway, 1962
- Rosalie Gascoigne: Metropolis, 1999
- Rosalie Gascoigne: But Mostly Air, 1994-1995
- Rosalie Gascoigne: Solitude, 1997
- Rosalie Gascoigne: Windows, 1999
- Angela Brennan: Everything is what it is & not some other thing, 2009
- Dale Chihuly
- Lino Tagliapietra
- Winged Victory of Samothrace
- Jan Vermeer: Woman Holding a Balance, 1664
- Jan Vermeet: Girl with a Pearl Earring, 1665-1666
- Pablo Picasso: Woman with a Crow, 1904
- Rene Magritte: The Lovers, 1928
- Salvador Dali
- Michael Zavros: Till the Heart Caves In
- Bill Henson
- Sam Leach: The Spoils
Exclusive Bonus Bonus Content: Ed and Lucy aren’t the only ones with artists they admire. Leo and Jazz also talk writers for a bit.
These are all of the writers mentioned:
- Margaret Atwood
- Charles Bukowski
- Leonard Cohen
- Woody Guthrie
- Pablo Neruda
- Henry Rollins