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.)
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.
- LA DEE LA DEE DA. ALL THE DIVERSITY FOR ME TOO READ! Let’s review:
- 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? 😏