Author: Mara Purnhagen
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
"Can Kate Morgan stand up for herself - without being labeled a snitch?
Kate is just as confused as her best friend, Lan, when she arrives at Cleary High to find the building's been "tagged" with a life-size graffiti mural. Could the culprit be one of their friends or classmates? And is the kind-of-amazing creation really vandalism, or a work of art? She's tempted to stay out of it - mostly because, as the police chief's daughter, she's worried about being labeled a snitch. But when the same mysterious graffiti starts appearing throughout the state, putting more pressure on the authorities to catch the vandal, her investigative instincts kick in.
Now Eli, Kate's favorite coworker at the local coffee shop, is MIA. With Lan preoccupied with her own boy troubles, Kate needs to figure out some things on her own. Like why she can't stop thinking about Eli. And what she will do when all the clues about the graffiti point to someone she's close to..."
"When I got off the bus that crisp January morning and stepped onto the parking lot, the only thing I could see was a crowd of students gathered near the east wall of our school. It looked like some sort of rock concert, except instead of holding up lighters and swaying to a heavy guitar ballad, people were raising their cell phones to snap pictures and inching forward amid the rumbling."
Honestly I was a little worried about this book. I read a couple of reviews that weren't exactly stellar - things like the title being a little misleading because the art was more "mural" than "tagging." I can see where that's coming from, but it really worked in this story (even if it was a little teachy about what tagging is).
There were several things I really liked about this story. One is the discussions the characters had in one of their classes about what is considered art. I really enjoy that conversation - mostly cause I think graffiti has the potential to be beautiful. I think it's a really good conversation for people to have. Of course, this is all coming from someone who lives in NYC and sees graffiti pretty much everywhere. :) ahem.
I also really enjoyed the relationship of the parents to Kate in this story. They were just really... realistic. At least in my mind. I also really loved that her mother is a cake maker - it's so creative and interesting. That's one of those jobs that I can imagine being amazing. Maybe that's just me.
One other thing I loved was the conversation of finding a passion. There was a conversation about Kate finding her passion - and what it was about. Everyone around her had a passion for something specific... and not necessarily something artistic. Questioning that is so very high school. I remember having the same thoughts. Just a really cool insight.
There's definitely a touch of romance and relationship talk in this book, but it's really not the focus. It's a well developed book and I look forward to reading the next thing by this author. Speaking of which... check out Mara Purnhagan's website. It's got info about her and upcoming books.
This book also counts for my Debut Author Challenge, which is always fun. I will definitely be recommending this one on to any age teen looking for some fun realistic fiction.
Other Blog Reviews:
Good Books and Wine
Chick Lit Teens
Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf
YA Book Queen