My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Last week, as I was strolling with my two little ones around town for our morning promenade, I happened to pass in front of our neighborhood's church. In its front yard there was quite a congregation of young kids, their instruments and a lot of out of tune music, as they were preparing to rehearse for some parochial event. Of course my daughter, who's 4 and knows the whole Aladdin soundtrack by heart, begged me to stop and listen to whatever they were going to play.
When I said "young kids" I forgot to mention these kids where more on the 12 to 14 y.o. range than on the 16 to 18, so imagine my amazement (and my daughter's dismay) when the notes they started to strum on their instruments didn't belong to either Walt Disney, Justin Bieber or Tokio Hotel but to "Smoke on the Water"... these kids were practically born the day before yesterday, they could easily be MY kids and they were playing Deep Purple, for god's sake.
So I got to thinking I generally tend to underestimate teenagers and think their brains work only on Wii waves, text-messaging and angst. But there are also some very talented and artistic kids out there whose sole interest in life is not limited to a remote control.
The Graffiti Moon crew, despite being a bit older, is composed by such kids. Slightly eccentric, artistic, urban teens whom author Cath Crowley still manages to depict in a very believable way, complete with teen dorkiness and false romantic ideals.
There's Lucy, the glassblower, who when asked by her best friend Jazz to compile a list of guys she would "do it with", writes down only fictional characters. Enamored with a mysterious graffiter's work called Shadow, she is determined to find him, convinced they can't be but twin souls.
Ed. Part Adam Wilde from If I Stay, part Tom MacKee from The Piper's Son, Ed is a high school dropout, a graffiter and thinks he's a total loser. After having lost his job at a paint shop, he embarks in an illicit adventure with his friend Leo which involves a pink getaway van, some bad men and some "travel plans" with Lucy.
Daisy and Dylan, trait d'union between Lucy, Jazz, Ed and Leo, are going through a relationship crisis and are, apparently, the only ones who can lead Lucy and Jazz to Shadow and his friend Poet.
I loved this book. The story, told in alternating POVs by Lucy and Ed with some of Poet's poems thrown in for effect, is brilliant. It recounts the happenings of one night (a bit à la Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) and it is just great. I loved how the two POVs overlaps so the reader can be inside both heads for the same scene, I loved how, throughout the book, roles get reversed and misunderstood, like in a comedy of errors. I loved the dialogues, the characters' sense of humor, the banter: this book is just downright hilarious.
"If my like for you was footy crowd, you'd be deaf cos of the roar. And if my like for you were a boxer, there'd be dead guy lying on the floor. And if my like for you were sugar, you'd lose your teeth before you were twenty. And if my like for you was money, let's just say you'd be spending plenty."
And finally, I loved the author's writing style. Another talented author which manages to give us a realistic, cute, hilarious teenage story, coupled with believable and well developed characters with great personalities, all encased in pretty words, a bit flowery but not too purply.
I'm hacking half a star off just because I thought the ending was a bit too Gone with the Wind style. But this is, definitely, definitely, a book that needs your attention.
Another great Australian author, another great YA story.