• Page Count: 304
  • Release Date: March 7, 2017
  • My Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

You're Welcome, Universe 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.


My Thoughts:

My little sister is deaf and we’ve been waiting forever for an accurate portrayal of a deaf main character who gets to do more with her story besides just… be deaf. This book was so incredibly well done!

Julia is a Deaf Indian teen with two moms who are also deaf. She’s really into graffiti/street art but gets kicked out of her deaf school for trying to cover up a rude comment someone wrote about her friend (who totally sold her out). Julia keeps working at McDonalds to pay for her supplies, switches to a hearing school, and learns about real friendships throughout the course of the story.

The author did SUCH an amazing job of depicting things like Deaf culture, common texting grammar, and some typical experiences deaf students face when mainstreaming. I really wish I could buy a box full of these books for my sister’s high school! I could see my sister & her friends and so many shared experiences throughout our lives in this story.

Some details were really fun for me to read from the perspective of someone growing up around the deaf community, like how those vibrating bed alarms totally sound like a freaking earthquake. And I’m not that into street art, but still thought this was a fun look at that interest! There are illustrations scattered throughout the book of some pieces + signs used. The whole story is really engaging and well written, so I definitely recommend it!

Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC.

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5 comments on “Review: You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner”

  1. I just finished this. It was so awesome, and I’m so happy to read that it was a pretty accurate portrayal of Deaf culture. Whitney Gardner is definitely an auto-buy author for me now!

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