graffitimoonLucy feels certain that Shadow is the right boy for her. The trouble is, she has no idea who he is, just that his graffiti art resonates with her in a way that few things manage to do. On the final night of year twelve, she sets out with her friends and Ed, the boy whose nose she broke in year ten, to search Shadow’s haunts in the hope of finding him and possibly more.

The trouble with hype is that I can’t help but be influenced by it when I pick up a book. Anyone who is at least marginally involved with young adult fiction couldn’t help but hear at least a little about Graffiti Moon last year, given that it seemed to win pretty much every award going, along with the adoration of readers worldwide. Knowing that the novel had such an incredible resume meant that I went into reading it expecting something mindblowingly amazing. And the trouble with that kind of expectation is that it’s hard for any book to live up to it.

Graffiti Moon is very well written, combining poetic prose with realistic dialogue in a way that works far more than it rightfully should. It focuses on teens with realistic backgrounds and personalities, although the ratio of sensitive, arty criminals is significantly higher than it probably is among real life teenagers. It shows character growth and provides a hint of romance without succumbing to the soulmates-at-first-sight mentality that is so common today. It’s a very solid book.

I didn’t love it, though. And that’s the problem with hype. Instead of being pleased to have read a good, enjoyable book, I feel disappointed that it didn’t change my world. I want to focus on the fact that the comedy of errors plot grew a little tired towards the end, when I just wanted Lucy to realise, or on the fact that the voices of the two key protagonists didn’t read as distinctly as I would have liked. And I don’t think that’s fair to Cath Crowley, because there are good reasons why Graffiti Moon has been as successful as it has. It’s just that it wasn’t really for me, and that’s okay. A lot of books aren’t.