AUTHOR = Cath Crowley
GENRE = RELATIONSHIPS, FAMILY, GROWING UP, IDENTITY
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 11, 12
This is a beautifully written story which is set over one hot, summers night in Melbourne as a group of teens celebrate the end of Year 12. Cath Crowley is able to use wonderful imagery because the teens who are telling the story are both artists, so they tend to describe their surroundings in a very visual manner. A number of recent teen novels have employed the convention of alternating voices to tell the narrative but in “Graffiti Moon” this technique is employed in quite a sophisticated manner because the voices tend to overlap; so as one chapter ends (with Ed’s perspective on an event or conversation, for instance) the next chapter will go back so that Lucy can give her (quite often, differing) perspective on the same situation. This allows the reader to have insights beyond those of the characters. There is a certain symbolism in the artistic perspectives of both major characters, too: Ed is a graffiti artist who uses broad expanses of walls to share his view of the world with others (and he tends to look at life from a broad perspective, too) whilst Lucy tends to worry obsessively about details, so it is no surprise that her artistic canvas takes the form of glass blowing (where she can capture images from her life in miniature).
On the surface, it would seem that Ed and Lucy are diametrically opposed with their approach to life and their past history (of a failed dating experience which ended with Ed’s broken nose) would tend to reinforce this view. However, on this night, Lucy has asked Ed to help her find the graffiti artist Shadow who she claims to adore and the reader is aware that Shadow and Ed are one and the same. As the night progresses we realise that Ed and Lucy are made for each other – if only they could see this too!
This is a thoroughly engaging novel and particularly apt for readers who are in Years 11 or 12 as the two main characters spend some time musing about their futures, the role of art in their lives and different ways of making a living. The challenges faced by some young people with learning difficulties, the significance of self esteem in enabling young people to take on challenges and the importance of supportive parents and mentors, all come into play over the course of an adventurous and ultimately rather magical night for Ed, Lucy and their friends. The loyalty of friends and the need for empathy is also explored in an entertaining manner.
A delightful read – it is easy to see why it has been shortlisted in the CBC Book Awards (Older Readers) 2011.
Highly Recommended (dma) *****