Graffiti Moon

Mom,

I’m so glad you liked Graffiti Moon.  I read it back at the end of 2011 to review for VOYA and was immediately optimistic for 2012 – and I was right, seeing that as good as Graffiti Moon is, it isn’t even really getting any awards attention, since there are so many great contenders.  Unfortunately, the fact that I read it so long ago means I don’t remember specifics, so I’m relying here on the notes from my review.

First, I’m totally with you on the “all in one night” concept.  In my review I compared the somewhat-contrived plot (Lucy and Ed are looking for Shadow but Shadow is Ed!) to Shakespeare–specifically to an inverted version of As You Like It (in which, if you remember, Orlando is searching Arden Forest for Rosalind who, dressed as a boy, tests Orlando’s feelings for her).  My point was that the plot (and here I’m including the it-happened-one-night aspect as well) is contrived, but in a way that makes the reader want to suspend their disbelief, like a fairy tale, or a Shakespeare romance, not in an eye-rolling way.  At least, that’s how it read for me, and apparently you.  I also appreciated the fact that Crowley didn’t use the set up for cheap gags, which is an easy place to go with dramatic irony.

The other thing that really sticks with me from the novel, and to which you alluded, is the strong characterization, especially Ed/Shadow. I was really impressed with how Crowley portrayed Ed’s conflict over whether to reveal his “secret identity” to Lucy, and how he felt sure he couldn’t live up to Lucy’s image of Shadow in her mind.

Much less good for me were the (to my ear) poorly written poems by Leo that were interspersed through the text.  I suppose it’s possible that Crowley meant to show that Leo is a mediocre poet, but it seems more likely that she is just a far superior writer of prose than poetry.  Fortunately, the poems can be easily ignored without changing the story a bit.

Finally, one bit of intrigue about this title.  I made reference over at Someday My Printz Will Come to this book being a personal favorite but flawed, and a fellow commenter named Adele responded: “I really wish you’d read the Australian version. It wasn’t flawed – it was a modern Australian YA classic. I have heard many changes were made for the American market.”  Now, I don’t really have the time or money to go trying to scrounge myself a copy of the Australian version, but this comment is intriguing enough to make me at least think about it.  I wonder what kind of changes were made.

- Mark

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