Review: You’re Welcome, Universe – Whitney Gardner

You're Welcome Universe
Book cover: Julia sprays the title of the cover on a wall covered in graffiti

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.

I was quite excited about You’re Welcome, Universe, because I’m quite a fan of graffiti. I think graffiti is really beautiful and a very creative art – I’m aware that it’s usually done illegally but I’m talking about the art not where it is done. Some reviews mentioned that sign language influences Julia’s art and that sold me.

You’re Welcome, Universe is a fun story that discusses the value of friendship, loyalty and acceptance in a light-hearted and humorous way.

What I absolutely loved about this book, is how Julia grows as a person. She learns more about herself, her mothers and her friends. She starts to question her own values and ideas. She learns to stand up for herself and look after herself. She learns that it’s okay to have new friends, and that it’s also okay to cut off fake friends. I loved her character development.

The discussions about graffiti and the legality and creativity of it were very interesting to me, as a person who has no idea about the culture around graffiti.

The title of the book is mentioned twice in the text, which were nice touches. However, I thought that the title wasn’t that fitting to the entire story of the book.

I wasn’t a fan of the writing style. It was too quick and short for me. The story itself is very fast-paced and it just didn’t fit to the message that the story was trying to convey. I would have preferred it if the text had been a bit longer.

Some ableist language is in this book as well: psycho, crazy.

You’re Welcome, Universe is a nice book but it wasn’t really my type of book. The writing style wasn’t right for me but that’s not to say that you might not like it.

3 stars

Have you read You’re Welcome, Universe? Are there any (preferably #ownvoices) books with deaf characters that you’d recommend?


7 thoughts on “Review: You’re Welcome, Universe – Whitney Gardner

  1. Awh, I’ve heard such goods things about this book 😦 not own voices, but You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Gino is about a young girl who’s sister is born deaf and she works with her friend who is deaf so she can interact with her sister 🙂 i haven’t read it yet but it seems really cute.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good catch on the ableist language, I missed that! I’m sorry this one didn’t work out for you. There aren’t too many #ownvoice novels that I know of. One on my TBR list is called T4 and set in Germany during WWII – however it uses American Sign Language and the reviews are mixed.

    Liked by 1 person

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