Alternating narrators and snatches of poetry tell the tale of love among graffiti artists.
Lucy has been searching for the mysterious graffiti artist Shadow, whose work seems to address her fear of romance. Unfortunately, the only guy who knows how to track him down is Ed, whose nose Lucy broke at the end of a disastrous date. Ed knows how to track down Shadow because he is Shadow—a secret he hopes to keep from Lucy while he leads her around town revisiting old haunts. When Lucy discovers that Ed has been lying to her, she must deal with her conflicted feelings over the artist and the annoying man. Readers will quickly realize that Ed and Shadow are one and the same, a fact that Crowley reveals fairly early on. With that mystery stripped away, Ed is difficult to like, lacking both a strong personality and emotional resonance. His difficulty at school due to dyslexia smacks of pandering and isn’t well integrated into the overall story. Lucy’s personality is slightly more developed; glassblowing is a talent not often seen in teen fiction. However, Crowley’s divided narrative doesn’t suit the characters, and the decision to intersperse poems into the mix further fractures their interactions.
There’s splashes of color, but teens will find their interest washes out rapidly. (Fiction. 13 & up)