Five out of five stars
Talented new author Marita Hansen is an expert at getting inside the mind of her characters. She takes a firm hold of the reader and drags them kicking and screaming into the pages with her. Not always pleasant and many times downright cringe worthy, she takes us inside the lives of four troubled teenagers. Their souls are laid bare to our eyes, every motive, good and bad, exposed, their deepest, darkest secrets held under a magnifying glass. They live in a hypocritical society, one where people prefer to stay blind to the truth and are quick to point fingers away from themselves. Often time unforgiving, a fist is the weapon of choice when it comes to handling disagreements and real, or imagined, transgressions. I found Graffiti Heaven as passionate a read as her debut novel Behind the Hood, perhaps even more intense because the characters are so young. Sixteen should be a carefree time in the lives of these teenagers, one of growth and change, of first love, a first kiss, friendship and trust. Instead we are shown a realistic view of intense conflict and pain, as much internal as external. Enter Ash, Tianna, Levi and Jenna’s world, where dysfunctional families are the norm, jealousy dominates, and one dangerous paedophile lies hidden amongst them. Loyalty and trust will be tested and fail, misunderstandings common. Expect a change in the way you’ve always viewed the dangerous and chaotic world our teenagers must find a way to survive in today.