Title: You’re Welcome, Universe
Author: Whitney Gardner
Published Date: March 7th 2017
Genre: Young Adult
***THIS BOOK WAS PROVIDED TO NERD GIRL IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***
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.
Julia graffiti’s on school property to help her best friend Jordyn. There was a mean thing that was written on a wall that no one at the school did anything about for over three weeks, so Julia took matters into her own hands. She snaps a picture of it and sends it as a text to Jordyn and next thing she knows, she’s being expelled because Jordyn told the principal the graffiti art was done by her. She’s absolutely furious with Jordyn because not only does she has to go to a completely new school, but Jordyn doesn’t seem to care at all. Julia’s old school was perfect because it was a school for deaf kids, and at her new school she can barely communicate with anyone. She does have a translator, and she can read lips but it’s still hard to communicate back and forth with some people. There is a girl that she nicknames “YP” for yoga pants, because that’s the only pair of pants this girl seems to wear, that she starts to slowly become friends with. All she wants is to show her art, and her two deaf moms may have banned her for using any more spray paint, but she still sneaks out sometimes and tags wherever she can. She thinks that the only issues she has to deal with now are new school bullies, and teachers who she can’t really communicate to, but someone seems to be going around and adding more to her tags. She’s furious and wants to find out who is doing that to her art and make them pay.
I did enjoy this story because I have never read a book about a deaf main character and I was interested to see how that would translate. You do understand how difficult it can be to be in some situations that she’s in, and it’s written in a way that you know as much as the main character. So if a person is talking and she’s reading their lips she may understand some things but if they look away or talk too fast she may not catch it all like “oh well ___________ did that.” It did enlighten me to how difficult it can be to communicate with someone who is deaf. However some of the characters and actions I found myself saying “really? Is that really needed?” and some things were a bit of a clique but overall I don’t think little things brought the story down. The book is also filled with drawings of what the Julia’s tags are and I think that made everything a lot more interesting and enjoyable. You can visually see what she is tagging and not have to create a mental picture so it’s easier to understand what her art looks like. I did find the story enjoyable and I was pleasantly surprised with who the other tagger was. It is a very fast read, and the drawings are very well done in it so I would recommend for a fast summer read.
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