Title: You’re Welcome, Universe
Author: Whitney Gardner
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication date: March 7, 2017
Summary (via Goodreads): 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.
This one is a little hard for me to rate. I love the message, and the culture, of the book. I just didn’t like the main character as much as I wanted to. Thank you Netgalley for providing me a copy in exchange for a honest review. I’m giving it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
I don’t think there’s enough out there focusing on Deaf culture. I haven’t had much exposure to the community, as I only have one Deaf cousin who I haven’t seen in like 20+ years, and I only learned the ASL alphabet (and some other random signs) years ago. But I enjoy reading other people’s experiences, and this book is a sneak peek into a snippet of the Deaf culture.
Overall I enjoyed the story, and definitely the art. I wish I could make something half as beautiful as the illustrations scattered throughout this novel. I just didn’t like Julia, the main character, as much as I should have; she was kind of over-dramatic and some of the things she said/did rubbed me the wrong way. I liked YP quite a bit, and Julia’s parents as well. That’s about it though. Most of the other people were meh or annoying, but that seemed purposeful on the author’s part to sell the ending we got.
I didn’t find a book boyfriend, but I wouldn’t mind a friend like YP. To close this out, I wish I could make art like what was shown in this book. My kind of art is written only. I know this book was highly recommended, so others might enjoy this more than me. It wasn’t bad; it just wasn’t love at first read.