You’re Welcome, Universe | FOR THIS DELIGHTFUL REVIEW ;)

Title: You’re Welcome, Universe

Author: Whitney Gardner

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, #DiverseBooks

Published: March 7, 2017 by Knopf (who kindly supplied me with a review copy! In no way does this affect my review.)

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A vibrant, edgy, fresh new YA voice for fans of More Happy Than Not and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, packed with interior graffiti.

When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural.

Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast as the only deaf student. The last thing she has left is her art, and not even Banksy himself could convince her to give that up.

Out in the ’burbs, Julia paints anywhere she can, eager to claim some turf of her own. But Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town. Someone is adding to her tags, making them better, showing off—and showing Julia up in the process. She expected her art might get painted over by cops. But she never imagined getting dragged into a full-blown graffiti war.

Told with wit and grit by debut author Whitney Gardner, who also provides gorgeous interior illustrations of Julia’s graffiti tags, You’re Welcome, Universe introduces audiences to a one-of-a-kind protagonist who is unabashedly herself no matter what life throws in her way.


    • Indian-American protagonist! I can attest to perfectly acceptable rep 😉
    • Deaf protagonist! With helpful ASL illustrations and authentic lip-reading faultiness, the accurateness of the deaf rep is explored in this review.
    • Julia’s got a pair of interracial moms. WAHOO!


  • I love art! And by I love art, I mean yesterday a drew a stick figure of myself holding a piece of pizza twice the size of my face. Art! So the illustrious street art spraying through the pages were a wonder. Though, I gotta say, I’m still not a fan of the illegal aspect of it. Ya know. Not cool.
  • THE BOOK SOUNDS SPECTACULAR ALREADY, RIGHT?? But I’m not even done! There are…illustrations! Of the street art, of some ASL. BY. THE. AUTHOR.


  • MAKE NEW FRIENDS. KEEP THE OLD (except when they betray you and snitch). ONE IS SILVER AND THE OTHER IS GOLD (except in this situation silver is more valuable ahem roll with it). From broken old friendships to shiny new ones, the story rocks with girl power love.


  • Here’s the thing with YA books with “angst.” People get fluffered because “they’re teens—if you don’t like reading about angst, don’t read YA.” Which I, as a fifteen-year-old girl, find incredibly offensive. I don’t like reading about angst as a teen…so what am I supposed to read? Now let’s talk about Julia’s overwhelming angst. Understandable in certain cases—discrimination/hardship due to deafness or being Indian-American is acceptable. Being angsty because people want to be your friend? Because you can’t do illegal things? Eh. I don’t get it. I don’t like reading about it. And I’m a teen, so what’s the deal?
  • This year, I have read ONE book that hasn’t been ferociously predictable. You’re Welcome, Universe wasn’t that book. THAT’S IT. IT’S FIRM REVIEWER BECCA HERE. I DON’T CARE IF YOU’RE A CONTEMPORARY. IF YOU’RE GOING TO INCLUDE A “TWIST’ IN YOUR STORY, SURPRISE ME WITH IT.


A masterpiece! A work of art!

But even the Mona Lisa gets tiring after you’ve seen copy after copy…

What books include artist protagonists? More importantly, Indian-American protagonists? MOST importantly, deaf protagonists? Have any books surprised you? Do ya think it could pass my test?  😏



19 thoughts on “You’re Welcome, Universe | FOR THIS DELIGHTFUL REVIEW ;)

  1. I’ve mixed reviews of this book, and I loved reading your take on it!! Thanks for an awesome, honest, and in-depth review.

    I’m new to blogging and book reviewing, and I was wondering if you had any tips for newbie bloggers and book reviewers.

    If you have the time, please check out my blog @breenysbooks. I’d love any feedback. Have a wonderful day.

  2. Ooo, I LOVE your review! I enjoyed this book for sure; I loved all the diversity and the premise was super cool. I was definitely irritated with Julia at times, but I appreciated that she was still a very real (if rather angsty) teenager despite being deaf. I never expect that people who are deaf or have disabilities are any different from anyone else in friendships, parents, romance, illegal art… Er, average teenage stuff. It’s awesome to see it interpreted that way in books!
    Anyway, fabulous review! 😉

  3. I’m glad you did a review for this! I’m really looking forward to it and already conscious and aware that I might not enjoy Julia’s attitude 100% of the time. What did you think of the Indian rep? I know you mentioned it was acceptable but I was wondering if you could elaborate for me 😄 If not, that’s okay! Great review! ❤️

  4. Thank you, Marie! Oh perfect, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. ART IS SO COOL. And then in books, it’s art within art. MIND BLOWN. Yeah, the angst wasn’t cool. And it shouldn’t be a teenager thing anyway?

  5. I’ve just finished this book this afternoon and I agree with you on so many counts, Becca! I love the rep and the art and the themes, but I just wasn’t that into all the angst… and I mean, Julia WAS doing dangerous, illegal, law-breaking things, haha. I loved when she smashes us with realities of what being Deaf is like, but I got a bit annoyed because to me it felt like she was making very reckless decisions re: the graffiti/vandalism. Great review. ❤

  6. Lovely review, Becca! I have this book on my TBR and I can’t wait to read it, it sounds so good and I’m happy there are little pieces of art just as well, that sounds so great, I just want to hold the book in my hands to see what it’s like! 😀 I 100% agree with you about angst, though ; I’m not a teenager anymore but I don’t get the “if you read books with teenagers there are lots of angst in it”, and you should enjoy it or something?! It seems stupid and pointless to think that way.

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