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You're welcome universe
2017
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Creating a graffiti mural to cover up a nasty slur about her best friend written on the back of their school for the deaf, Julia is expelled and is sent to a mainstream school where she is treated like an outcast while she continues to paint graffiti before a mysterious fellow artist starts adding creative touches to her work. Simultaneous eBook. - (Baker & Taylor)

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. - (Baker & Taylor)

When Julia gets kicked out of the Kingston School for the Deaf for putting up an illegal mural, she is moved to a mainstream school in the suburbs where she starts putting up more art, but she soon finds that someone is showing off their skills by addingto her tags. - (Baker & Taylor)

A vibrant, edgy, fresh new YA voice for fans of More Happy Than Not and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, packed with interior graffiti.

Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award!

 
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.

"[A] spectacular debut...a moving, beautifully written contemporary novel full of quirky art and complicated friendships...this book is a gift to be thankful for."—BookRiot - (Random House, Inc.)

Author Biography

WHITNEY GARDNER played her ukulele in an episode of Portlandia, danced the rumba with Bill Nye the Science Guy in a New York swing-dance club, and experimented with LARPing in college. She lives with her husband, Roger, and their incredibly cool pugs, Gouda and Fig, in Portland, Oregon. Find her online at heywhitney.com and follow her at @HeyWhitney. - (Random House, Inc.)

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Booklist Reviews

Julia does graffiti art to elevate the spaces and people around her. She won't stop, even when a piece obscuring a slur about her friend Jordyn on the wall of Kingston School for the Deaf gets Julia expelled, and Jordyn doesn't even care. At public high school, Julia gains an interpreter who tattles on Julia to both of her moms, the unwanted adoration of a bubbly girl she dubs YP (for Yoga Pants), the ire of just about everyone else, and an insatiable urge to continue her risky art form. When YP persists in her efforts at friendship, Julia begins to let her guard down, bringing YP into her world of tagging and eventually learning that YP has some secrets of her own. Julia's motivations are complex, and the intersectionality of her character is appealingly realistic. Gardner brings together Deaf culture, discrimination, sexuality, friendship, body image, trust, betrayal, and even a potential Banksy spotting for this fresh novel, brightened by black-and-white illustrations from Julia's notebooks. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

Indian American graffiti artist Julia's latest work (covering up a slur about her friend) gets her expelled from Kingston School for the Deaf and sent to mainstream school, complete with communication breakdowns and bullying. There Julia finds she's not the only one who expresses through public art what she can't elsewhere. A nuanced narrative at the intersection of Deaf- and graffiti culture. Copyright 2017 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

A deaf, Indian-American teen with a flair for graffiti learns how to make her mark. With two deaf moms, a deaf school, and Jordyn, her deaf best friend, Julia Prasad has always been unapologetically deaf. But when she paints graffiti over a slur about Jordyn and is expelled, she's thrust into the chaos of mainstream high school with a patronizing interpreter, clueless teachers, and persistent bullying. Spoken dialogue is broken by blank lines, representing the words she realistically can't lip-read. Graffiti, despite its illegality, is her only outlet besides art class. Julia's cynical wit is augmented by illustrations of her work, which reveals the parts of her personality that English and her rebellious exterior can't express. ASL signs emphasize her points. When she discovers that her work is being altered, she enters a risky graffiti war as she looks for the culprit. Meanwhile, she befriends "Yoga Pants," an overeager white girl, in spite of herself. Several red herrings later, the culprit forces her to evaluate the differences between art and vandalism and between listening and hearing. Eating disorders, racism, and homophobia are mentioned in passing. In scenes that smack of wish fulfillment, iconic street artist Banksy makes a cameo appearance. Julia's strong voice and multifaceted background offer an eye-catching glimpse of graffiti culture while introducing deaf culture. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus 2016 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

PW Annex Reviews

Gardner's debut novel opens with high school junior Julia Prasad getting expelled from the Kingston School from the Deaf after getting caught spray-painting an elaborate graffiti mural on the building. Julia, who is deaf herself, struggles to let people in and is suspicious of everyone around her, instead devoting her time and attention to her art, specifically the graffiti she paints on whatever public space she can get away with. Gardner's glimpse into the world of a deaf teenager is fresh and compelling. Julia's drawings pepper the story, the images representing her graffiti (which feature her tag, "HERE") and the ASL signs she teaches a new friend, whom she nicknames YP (for Yoga Pants). Julia's willingness to trust YP unfolds little by little, hitting bumps major and minor, in a satisfying story about trust, forgiveness, hard work, and friendship. Less central but equally rewarding is Julia's relationship with her mothers, both of whom are deaf, and who do their best to support their daughter at every turn. Ages 12–up. Agent: Brent Taylor, Triada U.S. (Mar.)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly Annex.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 8 Up—After executing her best-ever graffiti, to cover up an insult written about her friend, Julia is kicked out of her Deaf school and mainstreamed. Frustrated by trying to connect with her hearing peers, Julia delves deeper into her art, only to find a rival defacing her finest creations. This debut novel is a dive into self-discovery for Julia and a compelling, engaging read for a wide variety of teens, including those interested in graffiti and street art. The author has clearly done her research on both Deaf and graffiti culture, and she incorporates details about both communities organically into the narrative. The translation of American Sign Language and Deafspeak to the page is done effectively, although it takes a backseat to native English narration. Julia, who has two mothers and resembles her parent of South Asian descent, inhabits many minority identities (disabled, a person of color, the child of same-sex parents, an English language learner) without any one of them being the engine for the story. She is a complex protagonist, and the secondary characters are well-developed, too. A few plot threads aren't fully explored, but overall, this is a well-told, artsy coming-of-age tale that is also an excellent representation of a Deaf protagonist. VERDICT The rich characterizations and focus on often underrepresented cultural communities make this a noteworthy debut for both school and public libraries.—L. Lee Butler, Hart Middle School, Washington, DC

Copyright 2016 School Library Journal.

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