Publisher : Knopf
Genre :Young Adult | Contemporary
Page Count: 304
Synopsis : 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.
*I received an Arc of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
I’ve been eyeing this book since it was announced because ILLUSTRATIONS. Call me shallow if you please, but my eyes like all things pretty and I can do nothing about that. I even mentioned it in my Most Anticipated Books of 2017 post. So, when I saw that it was available for request, I jumped on the occasion and was thrilled when approved. Although this book took a little more time than I expected to win me over, once it did, I really enjoyed it.
You’re Welcome, Universe is written in 1st person from Julia -the MC- ‘s perspective. I loved the writing style, it is great and powerful especially with the main character having such an honest strong voice. I think the author managed to depict a true teenager’s voice. One thing that annoyed me (really, the only thing I couldn’t brush off) is the use of some ableist language, like psycho and hysterical when really the event or person described is none of those things and it was unnecessary.
This is a very character driven story, we follow Julia’s journey as she struggles to trust anyone after her best friend sells her out and get her expelled from school, as she tries to find herself and her voice through her graffiti, trying to balance between the part of her that tells her that what she’s doing is illegal and the one that cares only about expressing itself through street-art. And I loved it. The character development she went through was so raw and real that I couldn’t help but adore her. This was the kind of book that made me think by the end, this girl will be alright.
The main character is a Deaf Indian-American girl who just got betrayed by her so called bestfriend and that shows in the writing. It is intense, and very emotionally charged, even though she pretends not to care about anything or anyone anymore, she does, and very deeply so. The first word that comes to my mind when I think of Julia is angsty. Oh lord! No one can compete with the attitude that girl has got going, and that’s what made it hard for me to get into the book at first. But then I remembered what an angsty teenager I myself was (yep, 14 y/o me was no joke, all emo and dramatic) and all my frustrations with her behavior went away because they’re simply normal.
She’s just a caring passionate teenager, scared to get hurt again who puts up walls around herself, and really, who can blame her?
My favorite thing about You’re Welcome, Universe is with no doubt its focus on friendship. It has no romance whatsoever and I appreciated that so so much (and this comes from a sucker for everything romance). It shows the difference between what a real friendship is and a toxic friendship is. And that’s such an important thing for young teenagers to see, because not everyone who is present in your life, is present FOR YOU. It also shows friendship in its truest form with its ups and downs, fights and make-ups. It’s not made up to be this perfect thing where people never get hurt. It’s human.
Jordyn is the so-called bestfriend who betrays Julia to save her own skin and the worst part is that she expected Julia to be there for her and listen to her complaints despite it all. There was so much entitlement and manipulations in her behavior and I’m glad that was called out and challenged in the book. She was so self-centered, and just all around awful. My hate for her is very deeply rooted. In contrast with that there was sweet, lovely YP and I’m so fond of her. She was there for Julia even when she didn’t see it, listened to her, confided in her and it went both ways. She stood up for her, called her out and loved her.
Another relationship that I loved is the one she had with her moms Ma and Mee. It was so realistic and heartwarming. She was much closer to Mee than to Ma -which happens to most teenagers, being naturally drawn to a parent more than the other. Here again, they never hesitated to ground her and putt her back in her place when needed while being present and loving her all the same.
The illustrations added a nice touch to the book and I feel like it wouldn’t have been the same without them. It was a mix of her graffiti, things from her daily life as well as some ASL signs that were mentioned in the text. I kind of was disappointed at the end when the author didn’t show the last graffiti but I was pleased all the same.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read You’re Welcome, Universe? If so, what did you think?
What did you think of Julia’s behavior and her character development?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.