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.

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  • 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!

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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?  😏

 

Guess the YA Book by the Overdramatic Title!

“GAH. WOE IS ME. I SHALL DIE WITHOUT AT LEAST TWO PECAN PIES.”

We’ve all got a dollop of drama queen within us. (Me, I’ve been told, a little more than others.) That’s what makes life sparkle! Some book titles, in fact, could do with a few more dollops of drama. You know, just to keep things bubbling. So I’ve rewritten some titles to let the novels’ true dive selves shine.

Can you guess the YA book by the overdramatic title?Read More »

The Education of Margot Sanchez | The Reviewing of Becca Stevenson 😉

Title: The Education of Margot Sanchez

Author: Lilliam Rivera

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, #OwnVoices

Published: February 21, 2017 by Simon & Schuster (who provided this delighted blogger with a review copy! Yay! This does not affect the honesty of my review.)

Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.

THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

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6 YA Books About Muslims Casually Not Being Terrorists

Because America seems to have a bit of trouble distinguishing Muslims from terrorists, I’ve decided to supply a handy dandy reading list. Books are delightfully decorated passports to empathy, so take a look at these novels about Muslims NOT. BEING. TERRORISTS.

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How to Remember Things Via Science: Book Series Edition

Hi, I’m Becca! I suffer from book series memory loss 😦

All book-bosomed buddies know the agony:

Book 1 releases. You read book 1. You love book 1!

One year later: Book 2 releases. You begin book 2. But then you realize:

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How the heavens are we, hard-working, worn out ‘lil bookworms expected to remember everything from book 1 when when read book 2? Or book 3 or book 4?

Well, my coconut-crusted chums, I’ll tell ya how with the help of my handy friend: SCIENCE!!!

Read More »

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda | This Book is Basically Just About Oreos {Review}

Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, #diversebooks
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.


With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

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Bookish Ouija Board! (Prepare to be SPOOKED)

BOO!

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YOU’RE SO SCARED, RIGHT? I know, I know. I’ve been told I’m a truly intimidating person. It’s alright. Dry your eyes, calm your beating heart, and prepare yourself—you’re going to be just as spooked throughout this whole post, cause it’s bookish ouija board time!
Read More »

Edgar Allan Poe Adult Coloring BOOk | Spooky & Dark + Colorful & Bright {Review}

2 things I’ve never before experienced:

  1. Edgar Allen Poe
  2. Adult Coloring Books

So wasn’t I a cheery pumpkin when Sterling Publishing kindly shipped me the Edgar Allen Poe Adult Coloring Book  by Odessa Begay for an honest review! Woohoo, new experiences!

Read More »

Can Positivtiy Go Too Far in Literature? {Becca’s Bookish Discussion}

YAY POSITIVTY GO POSITVITY WE LOVE THE POSITVITY SPREAD THE POSITIVITY!!!

I mean, obviously I believe in the above! Why else would I create The Blogger Positivity Movement??!

But. Hmm. How far do we carry that principle in literature? What are we willing to sacrifice for total positivity?

This calls for a pro-con list, doesn’t it! (Of course it does. Everything calls for a pro-con list. Cream puff or pecan pie? Pro-con list. Sleep forever or do education? Pro-con list. Vacuum your atrociously dirty home or lounge on the couch with Netflix and never move? Pro-con list. Solves everything.)

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  • Positivity makes people feel goooood! Don’t we all adore that fuzzy wuzzy feeling blossoming in our chest ☺️
  • Being pummeled with positivity leads us to pummel positivity on others. We become kinder people when we rollick in love!
  • TIME FOR SOME SCIENCE! Research shows positivity builds your skills right up, boosts your health bunches, and improves your work! Guys! That’s amazing! Positvity rocks!

  • If we never focus on negative situations, we can never change them. Think about it: if we had never faced the reality of the boiling negativity of slavery, would it have been abolished?
  • As all the creepy peepy dystopian novels have taught us, wanting ALL THE POSITVITY can lead to destroying ALL THE TRUTH. Issues exist. Ignoring them solves nothing.

Recently I’ve been campaigning for a bit more positivity in the bookish community. But what about literature? Am I campaigning for positvity in literature too?

Short answer: Not really, no.

You read this blog post and knot your eyebrows in confuzzledment. “Becca!” You exclaim. “There are more positvity pros than positivity cons! You’ve been campaigning for positivity before, why not now?? Why are you so confusing and weird??”

What a cool beans question!

Really, why don’t I call for more positivity in literature?

Because literature has been, throughout history, a resource for addressing negativity. It has done so in the most powerful manner, and it’s not something to undermine.

The Marvelous Examples:

These works of literature and a plethora of others have contributed to inspiring revolution, abolishing slavery, and saving species! Power is in words and it isn’t to be underestimated!

Yup, these world-shaping books had to spread some knowledge of all the negativity around. And you know what happened after that? People fixed the negativity. People were inspired by words and they FIXED. IT.

In order to create positvite we must expose negative realities.

So, NOPEDY NOPE. I will never complain about negativity in literature.

What about having positvity in books?

Yup, super important too! Positive books:

  1. Influence the world to feel just a bit happier and that matters. And you know what? We’ve got those books too! (Comment below if you’re looking for recommendations 😉)
  2. Allow us to escape from the negativity of the world for just a bit, also a must. And you know what? We’ve got those books too! (Comment below if you’re looking for recommendations 😉)
  3. Expose us to the possibilities. Expose us to the world that results when we’re kinder. And you know what? We’ve got those books too! (Comment below if you’re looking for recommendations 😉)

ARE YA SENSING A PATTERN?

Literature has glorious works both inspiring positivity and exposing negativity. LITERATURE HAS ACHIEVED THE SPLENDOROUS BALANCE.


Positivity in literature  accomplishes great good. Negativity in literature accomplishes great good.

Literature accomplises great good.

My perspective isn’t the only one! How do you feel about positivity + negativity in literature? Do you have anything to add? Or subtract? What books have shone you some negativity in the world you must change? What books have proven a healthy escape in times of struggles?

Searching for more electrifying discussions? Fret not! I’ve got ya covered:


BLOGGER POSITIVITY MOVEMENT! {A Challenge to Share the Bookish Blogging Love}

There’s negativity galore parading around in the bookish community, especially lately.

Now, I will admit, when drama first plopped down in my twitter feed, my reaction was exactlyyy this:

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But then more drama moved in. And more. And more? AND MORE. It wasn’t entertaining anymore; it wasn’t funny.

TWITTER IS NOT A PERMANENT RESIDENCE FOR NEGATIVITY, thankyouverymuch.

It’s Fadwa’s marvelous post, “Where’s All the Love?”, that built my decision: I’m going to do something about this negativity! I’m going saturate the bookish blogging world with inescapable positivity!

But I can’t do it alone. So I ask you, chums, will you help me smolder bookish buddies with love?


What Exactly is the Blogger Positivity Movement?

The Blogger Positivity Movement is a challenge wherein you spread love to fellow bookworms/bloggers.

How Does the Movement Work?

It’s simple!

  • You sign up for the Movement and are paired with a bookish blogger.
  • For the month of October, you leave 3 comments a week on your blogging partner’s post. Each comment should include 3 things you loved or found positive about their post/blog.
  • You find 1 newbie blogger to welcome with love to the bookish community.
  • You find 1 old sage-blogger and ask what they find positive about the bookish community.

That’s it, bud!

But I have lots of things to do! I don’t know if I have time!

I understand! Completely! If you don’t comment 3 times a week, don’t worry about it. Just do the best you can, that’s all your blogging partner will expect from you. But I urge you to do all you can to spread the love!

 If you have NO time, it isn’t the best idea to join. It wouldn’t be fair to your blogging buddy if you never interact with their posts. Even if you don’t have time to join, you can still help by spreading the word! (use #BloggerPositvityMovement on social media!)

Neat-o! How do I Join?

To sign up, just:

  • Click the photo below; it’ll take you to a google form. Just fill the short questionnaire out!
  • Write a blog post about your joining of the Movement.
  • Spread the word! Spread the love! (use #BloggerPositvityMovement on social media!)

(Sign-ups end September 29 so I have time to pair everyone up for October 😚)


    How do you feel about the drama in the bookish community? Are you laughing and munching on popcorn as it unfolds, or are you becoming a little tired of it all? Are you joining the movement? Are you spreading love and positivity?