There’s something about Australian authors that gets under my skin. Why are they so talented? Or do we only get to import the cream of their YA/literary crop? Either way, I think nearly all my favorite YA authors are Australian–Markus Zusak, Melina Marchetta, Lucy Christopher, and now Cath Crowley.
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.
So, it’s not a spoiler (trust me) to say that Ed is Shadow. We learn it at the very beginning, and the dramatic irony that results is a thing of pure magic. Their chemistry grows across the story, and Ed knows they’ll never find Shadow but Lucy keeps hoping and discussing Shadow like she’s not talking right to him. Best of all? It’s a slow-burn romance. The kind that tugs at romantical little heart strings one by one until your heart is totally in it with the characters.
Not to mention, in a story filled with various expressions of art, Crowley’s prose manages to be the most stunning work of them all. She merges beauty and LOL humor. Angst and hope. I am not a rereader, but I want to reread this just to pick apart her sentences and revel in them.
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.
The secondary characters–Jazz, Leo (aka Poet), Daisy, Dylan–were all dimensional and fun, with their own arcs that mostly tied into the main plot. I adored the few chapters we got from Poet’s perspective. His depth was surprising.
Overall, five out of five stars. And I can be incredibly stingy with my five stars.
What was your favorite August read? Are you as hooked by Australian YA authors as I am?