Review: Graffiti Moon - Cath Crowley

Australian Release Date: August 1st 2010
International Release Date: February 14th 2012
Published By: Pan Macmillan Australia
Pages: 264
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list

Rating: 4 out of 5

“Let me make it in time. Let me meet Shadow. The guy who paints in the dark. Paints birds trapped on brick walls and people lost in ghost forests. Paints guys with grass growing from their hearts and girls with buzzing lawn mowers.”

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.

Review: Reading Graffiti Moon I had no expectations. I did know that this book has been extremely popular in Australia and also overseas since it was released there, but I didn’t know what to expect.

What I ended up getting from this, was a beautifully written contemporary story about an Aussie girl named Lucy who is in love with a graffiti artist she has never seen or met named Shadow. She’s found herself drawn to his street art, and one night finds herself with Ed, who tells her he knows Shadow and they set off in the night looking for him. One thing she doesn’t know however is that Ed actually IS Shadow.

I feel it’s worth pointing out firstly that I noticed huge differences in the Australian version of this book to the US version of this book. I listened to the unabridged audiobook version of this, which was the reading of the original Australian publication. And I was trying to read alongside it with my US ARC copy that I received when this book was being published in the states. And there was quite a few big differences (whilst the story remained the same). I get that some of our Aussie slang doesn’t translate too well overseas and so it needed to be changed. But I didn’t understand some of the other changes, like entirely different poems when we get to Poet’s chapters. But anyways, that’s more a point of interest than anything. Personally I would still recommend the Australian version any day. They changed the Freddo frog conversation into something about Reeces Pieces. Scandalous!

The characters felt real, and the dialogue felt genuine. It’s as though Cath Crowley remembers exactly what it is like to be a teenager and has captured that beautifully in this book. I appreciated the unpolished factor to the characters. Ed is quite open about coming from a single parent family with hardly anything. He describes his living conditions and I can picture them perfectly. You can feel the real sense of low self esteem that he has - he doesn’t feel he is worthy of anything better before he meets Lucy.

The audiobook version of this is actually something I would strongly recommend if you’re looking at picking up a copy. Both of the readers are Aussie, which adds to the authenticity of the book, but I also felt like they both read this with a certain amount of believability. They didn’t try too hard, and they made this book an even better experience for me.

Such a sweet story.. this book makes me feel proud to be an Australian. The language, the characters, the setting… the fact that it doesn’t try too hard makes this one of the best YA books I’ve read.



“While we were walking to the movie I bought up To Kill A Mockingbird and he went to a level of quiet beyond the quiet we’d had before and grabbed my arse.
“Shit,” he yelled as a elbowed him in the face. “Shit, I think you broke my nose.”
“You shouldn’t have grabbed my arse. You don’t do that on a first date. Atticus Finch would never have done that.”

“I just didn’t know you wrote poetry other than for our pieces. Would you say you’re more a poet or a social commentator?” I ask, thinking about what Lucy said earlier.
“I don’t know.” He chuckles. “Would you say you’re more of an idiot or a wanker?”
“Fair point.”

“Every time he looked at me I felt like I’d touched my tongue to the tip of a battery. In art class I’d watch him lean back and listen and I was nothing but zing and tingle. After a while, the tingle turned to electricity, and when he asked me out my whole body amped to a level where technically I should have been dead. I had nothing in common with a sheddy like him, but a girl doesn’t think straight when she’s that close to electrocution.”

What do you think?

  • Amy says:

    Heyhey new blogging friend! Awesome review! I loved Graffiti Moon. I didn’t know they changed some things in the US edition. Reeces Pieces instead of Freddo’s? What is this mayhem?!!!

    • Melissa says:

      Hello my bloggin’ buddy! hehe Thank you!
      How good was it!? I was seriously like.. why didn’t I read this book sooner! I know. One does not simply change Freddo’s to Reeces Pieces. Madness I tell you! There was a few changes like that to Americanise the book a little, but ultimately kept it’s Australian identity - I guess to make it easier to understand on an international market. But seriously… you just don’t change Freddos!

  • Lynn K. says:

    First off, this book sounds wonderful and it’s been on my list for ages. Lovely quotes! Huh, again with the changes. This seems to be quite common and I didn’t even know about it before until I read someone’s review on Good Oil/Love and Other Perishable Items (which I totally did not know were the same lol). Personally I would try to grab the original version since just about every slang is ‘foreign’ for me, not being from US/UK/Aus.

    • Melissa says:

      Definitely read it when you get a chance Lynn! This one had much bigger changes than Good Oil/Love And Other Perishable Items did (my review of this by the way is coming on Friday).

      My recommendation is to read the Aussie version for sure - not to be bias, but it IS an Australian read, and isn’t the original always the best? ;)

      • Lynn K. says:

        I will definitely grab the Aussie copy if possible! In fact, I was hunting for this specific title + Melina Marchetta books when I visited Australia last year. Didn’t find any if the few stores I popped into and Aussie books are quite expensive when compared to their US/UK counterparts. o___o

        • Lynn K. says:

          *For some reason I had assumed I would walk in and spot them straightaway because they were by Aus authors lol. *crushed dreams*

          • Melissa says:

            You would think our Aussie patriotism would come out more and spotlight these books, but alas no. Our bookstores hype up international artists more in most cases. :(

        • Melissa says:

          Yeah our books are quite pricey compared to overseas. Many of us actually shop online to get books cheaper at places like The Book Depository! Although I think in the last 12 months prices have come down a bit. sell all the Aussie titles but shipping is a bit steep.

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