Saturday, October 10, 2009

Throwback Thrusday (Yes I do realize it's Saturday): Graffitti Girl by Kelly Parra

Graffiti Girl by Kelly Parra 2007

Rating: 4/5

IQ "The other day I tried to put a fat cap on my spray can, but when I pressed the nozzle nothing came out. I shook the can and pressed, still nothing. Miguel finally told me the cap was clogged. That was kind of how I felt with my art, a spray can full of color and ideas ready to paint, but stuck-clogged-with no place to create." Angel

I wish I had artistic talent. That was my final thought when I finished this book. The art described by the author of Angel, Nathan, Miguel and others made me ache for artistic talent and to see their artwork for myself.

Graffitti Girl is about junior Angel Rodriguez who loves art, especially painting. She's being raised by a single mom who seems to care more about the random, hurtful men in her life, than her daughter's own life. The only family member who seems to care about Angel is Nana. A contest is held to paint a community mural and Angel loses. She's crushed, especially when her art teacher describes her art style as "whimsical." (although that's not why she lost the contest). Angel sees the term "whimsical" as an insult, almost saying that her artwork is done in a cartoony, not very well-done style. Angel's guy friend (who she would love to be something more with), Nathan Ramos tries to console her and he also becomes interested in her art. He's an athlete (track), talented artist and a good student. Enter "Badman" aka Miguel Badalin. Miguel is also in Angel's art class. He's your typical Sexy Bad Boy, who is a great artist. His main style is graffiti and he leads Angel into the dangerous, tumultuous world of graffiti art.

Something I love about Kelly Parra's books is the interesting way she mixes it up between chapters. In Invisible Touch she uses blog entries, in Graffiti Girl she headlines each chapter with a term used by graffiti artists. I loved learning about the words graffiti artists use, especially ones that you think you already know the meanings of, like writer. A writer is a practitioner of graf art. Also I enjoyed the commentary Angel added after each term. For example: Character is a figure used to add something to a piece. Angel's commentary: I seemed to know a lot of these.Learning about graffiti was absolutely fascinating. The culture, the designs, the terms, the different perspectives and the creative tag names. Some viewed graffiti as vandalism, others viewed graffiti as an expression of their artistic freedom.

The love triangle added a nice level of drama into the story, but it wasn't the key element. We never really saw the characters of Nana and Angel's mother become fully developed and I felt their relationship could have been expressed a little better, more details. Watching Angel grow on her journey as an artist and a person was an engaging read.

I would highly recommend this book to all art lovers, non-artists and people interested in graffiti as well as those who view graffiti artists as criminals. 7th grade and up. I'll be thinking of my own tag name, even though I'm no artist!

- Graffitti Girl
was donated by Kelly Parra to be featured in my Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration giveaway. Thanks for your generosity Kelly! Also don't forget my HHM Celebration giveaway ends tonight at 11:59 PM CT!


  1. Great review! I really liked Invisible Touch, so I'll have to check this one out(:

  2. I recently bought this at a library book sale, so it was awesome seeing it pop up on google-reader! Glad you enjoyed it so much, I think that bodes well for this book!

  3. Thank you for the review, Ari!! It's been great being part of your HHM giveaway!


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