You're Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

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 o...

Title:You're Welcome, Universe
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0399551417
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:297 pages

You're Welcome, Universe Reviews

  • Anna Priemaza
    Mar 17, 2016

    I loved YOU'RE WELCOME, UNIVERSE!

    Deaf culture. Graffiti artists. Words and artwork combining to tell the story. Intersectionality. All of these things made me so so so excited to read this book, and they did not disappoint. I wanted them to be awesome, and that's exactly what they were.

    What made the book even better than I hoped was the complexity of the characters. The main character, Julia, doesn't always make good decisions. She's not always nice. I loved her to bits, but also sometimes wante

    I loved YOU'RE WELCOME, UNIVERSE!

    Deaf culture. Graffiti artists. Words and artwork combining to tell the story. Intersectionality. All of these things made me so so so excited to read this book, and they did not disappoint. I wanted them to be awesome, and that's exactly what they were.

    What made the book even better than I hoped was the complexity of the characters. The main character, Julia, doesn't always make good decisions. She's not always nice. I loved her to bits, but also sometimes wanted to smack her. Similarly, her friend, YP, was sometimes so sweet I wanted to hug her, and sometimes so oblivious I wanted to shake her. In other words, they felt like real people. Wonderful, imperfect, flawed, magical people.

    I also loved loved loved the way dialogue was done. Dialogue was heavy with communication barriers, done in a way that felt authentic and insightful and at times beautifully frustrating.

    YOU'RE WELCOME, UNIVERSE was everything I wanted it to be and more. Definitely pick this one up!

  • Emily May
    Apr 10, 2017

    . At less than 300-pages it should have been a breeze, but it took me so long to push through.

    One problem, perhaps, is that I chose the wrong kind of story for me. I like it when art is a subplot in a book - used for expressing oneself or for escapism - but I am often bored by books that focus almost entirely on art. I have no personal interest in different types of paint and the techniques required to turn them into something beautiful. I don't get anything

    . At less than 300-pages it should have been a breeze, but it took me so long to push through.

    One problem, perhaps, is that I chose the wrong kind of story for me. I like it when art is a subplot in a book - used for expressing oneself or for escapism - but I am often bored by books that focus almost entirely on art. I have no personal interest in different types of paint and the techniques required to turn them into something beautiful. I don't get anything out of art lessons about still life, or wheatpaste. I need something

    .

    And there isn't really anything.

    , that is.

    's plot is about a graffiti war between the Deaf protagonist, Julia, and some mystery artist who keeps painting over her work. I guess it all depends on how interesting a graffiti war sounds to you as a reader.

    As far as I can tell as an able-bodied individual, the author has done a lot of research on d/Deaf culture and spent time with a number of Deaf beta readers. Also consider checking out

    by a Deaf reader. What Julia is unable to realistically lip-read is shown by blanks in the dialogue, and Gardner gives consideration to details, such as when Julia tries to determine what kind of music

    songs are by the lyrics, and everyday microaggressions.

    But I think my problem with this book was

    . I couldn't stand her. And not only that, but the way her actions are so easily swept under the rug without consideration. She goes around vandalizing other people's property, slut-shaming a girl for being "easier" after she apparently "stole Donovan", lying to everyone, and stomping around when she doesn't get her own way.

    Julia is horrible to everyone in the book. I couldn't understand why so many people continued trying to befriend her. Sometimes people are moody and they screw up, but it was never treated like Julia

    . And I was horrified by that scene where

    A hard to like protagonist and hard to enjoy plot. Not for me.

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  • Hailey (HaileyInBookland)
    Feb 11, 2017

    *4.5

    *I received an ARC for review from Chapters Indigo as I am an Indigo employee but this in no way affects or influences my opinion*

    This was such a beautiful story. I loved how thoughtfully it portrayed Deaf culture and really how overall diverse it was. A Deaf Indian MC with lesbian parents, like come on! And the two moms thing wasn't even a plot point, in fact it was hardly brought up it sort of just was which was even better! Also there was no romance, it was all about friendship. YAY! I wi

    *4.5

    *I received an ARC for review from Chapters Indigo as I am an Indigo employee but this in no way affects or influences my opinion*

    This was such a beautiful story. I loved how thoughtfully it portrayed Deaf culture and really how overall diverse it was. A Deaf Indian MC with lesbian parents, like come on! And the two moms thing wasn't even a plot point, in fact it was hardly brought up it sort of just was which was even better! Also there was no romance, it was all about friendship. YAY! I will be doing a full review for this closer to the release date!

  • Rachel Reads Ravenously
    Feb 09, 2017

    This book started out strong and then midway through kind of fell off for me. It's about a deaf teenager named Julia who likes spray paint art. When there is a graffiti tag insulting her best friend she covers it up with her own art, and then gets expelled from her school for it. Now she's in a new school with no friends, one that isn't for deaf students so she needs an interpreter. Julia is having a hard time and doesn't fit in, and doesn't want to fit in.

    I think Whitney Gardner nailed

    This book started out strong and then midway through kind of fell off for me. It's about a deaf teenager named Julia who likes spray paint art. When there is a graffiti tag insulting her best friend she covers it up with her own art, and then gets expelled from her school for it. Now she's in a new school with no friends, one that isn't for deaf students so she needs an interpreter. Julia is having a hard time and doesn't fit in, and doesn't want to fit in.

    I think Whitney Gardner nailed the portrayal of a perspective from a deaf teen because this book wasn't about that only, the story was more about fitting in at a new school and her struggles with her art and the illegal side of it. I also think Gardner presents interesting ideas and perspectives about graffiti versus tagging, the art side of it and the not so great parts.

    Ultimately this book didn't work for me because halfway through I was a bit bored, and near the end I felt a lot was unresolved. I also stopped caring what happened with the characters which is sad because they started out the book pretty strong.

  • Raeleen Lemay
    Feb 10, 2017

    NEEEEEEEEEED

  • Cait • A Page with a View
    Mar 10, 2017

    My little sister is deaf and we've been waiting forever for an accurate portrayal of a deaf main character who gets to do

    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, s

    My little sister is deaf and we've been waiting forever for an accurate portrayal of a deaf main character who gets to do

    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

    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.

  • Ariel
    Mar 05, 2017

    "Silence is the loudest sound."

    It's been a really long time since I've read a book that has, chapter after chapter, taught me so much about a world I knew so little about. Actually, make that

    worlds.

    Julia is Deaf, and when her best friend rats her out for spraying graffiti in the school gym, she has to leave the Deaf school that she goes to and attend a Public school where no one knows how to communicate with her. What follows is a frustrating and eye-opening experience for Julia and me. I l

    "Silence is the loudest sound."

    It's been a really long time since I've read a book that has, chapter after chapter, taught me so much about a world I knew so little about. Actually, make that

    worlds.

    Julia is Deaf, and when her best friend rats her out for spraying graffiti in the school gym, she has to leave the Deaf school that she goes to and attend a Public school where no one knows how to communicate with her. What follows is a frustrating and eye-opening experience for Julia and me. I learned so much about being Deaf - things I never could have even guessed. The fact that Julia can't speak perfect English because ASL is a language, not a translation of English. How she has to find visual cues for things like the school bell ringing, how important cellphones have become for communication in all sorts of settings, and how terrifying it can be to try and communicate with cops if they can't communicate with you. There were big themes and little intricacies that this book opened me up to. But like I mentioned, I learned about

    worlds. This book is also massively about graffiti. About how territorial it is and about what it means to the people that do it. I was so into the awesome illustrations that are sprinkled throughout.

    You might be wondering, then... why only 3 stars? Well, I just couldn't connect with the writing. It felt like a classic example of telling instead of showing. It felt so straight-forward that it lost any subtlety, more like a means to an end instead of powerful writing. There were even moments where I had to go back and reread a few paragraphs because something would suddenly be happening and I was left thinking "wait... what?! what did I miss?!" On top of that Julia could get over the top angsty. Frustration, confusion, and yes, even anger, were going to be a part of her story, but at her petty vendettas and misplaced immaturity would grate on me.

    So was it a perfect book? No. But was I glad I read it? Yes. I'm grateful to Whitney Gardner for writing this and educating me.

    PS: I don't understand the title. It's not part of why I took off stars, but srs. I don't get it. It has no connection to the plot!

    *This book was sent to me by the publisher for possible review.*

  • Lola  Reviewer
    Mar 15, 2017

    The last YA book I read with illustrations inside was gorgeous little Everything, Everything, and that was almost two years ago, so I was surprised to find plenty of drawings to admire when I opened this new book.

    Sadly though, I do believe they weren’t exactly necessary. They don’t add to the story, since the author uses space to describe them anyway. It wouldn’t have been hard to picture them, had they not been included.

    Regardless, it’s one of the things that make this book different from the

    The last YA book I read with illustrations inside was gorgeous little Everything, Everything, and that was almost two years ago, so I was surprised to find plenty of drawings to admire when I opened this new book.

    Sadly though, I do believe they weren’t exactly necessary. They don’t add to the story, since the author uses space to describe them anyway. It wouldn’t have been hard to picture them, had they not been included.

    Regardless, it’s one of the things that make this book different from the others. The other thing is the deaf non-white main character (Julia). Hooray! Diversity. And she’s not only into art; she’s into graffiti.

    While she is authentic enough, especially in regards to her disability and culture, I preferred her sidekick Yoga Pants to the lead herself. She often appears rather angry, relentless and defensive. As much as I tried, I did not see myself in her. Not one bit.

    Yoga Pants, on the other hand, is calmer and far more interesting, interestingly. I was curious about her past with Julia’s new enemy, her family and her interest in art. At some point, I wished she and Julia switched personalities, because YP is the kind of person I could easily see myself becoming good friends with, not Julia. Sad face.

    I’m disappointed with the attempted romance theme. I say attempted, because there is a love interest, and lots of drama surrounded him, and yet there is not one romantic scene. I never did see what Julia saw in Donovan. I’m glad friendship at least trumps romance in this book.

    This looks like such a captivating story, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t. It’s not extraordinarily written and it definitely lacks in meaningful events. Julia’s inner rambling can be a good thing if you need a good night’s sleep, I’ll give her that. I did truly enjoy the realistic portrayal of a deaf teenage girl struggling to fit in her new school, but it failed to move me. Boring emotional experiences. Not recommended.

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