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You're Welcome, Universe

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  5,284 ratings  ·  984 reviews
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
Hardcover, 297 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Knopf
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,284 ratings  ·  984 reviews

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Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary, owned

*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
Emily May
I really struggled to finish this book. 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
Mar 05, 2017 rated it liked it
"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 two 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
Trina (Between Chapters)
I really, really liked this! One of the best debuts I've read this year.

Representation includes a main character who is Indian-American and Deaf, she has two mothers who are both also Deaf, and a side character who is fat.

What I liked:
-There was very minimal romance. The main character mentions a crush and there is one kissing scene, but romance was never really explored. This was nice and refreshing!
-There was a large focus on friendship and hobbies.
-The hobby was street art, which I don't see
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
Assigned reading for MLIS 7421: Multicultural Youth Literature.

Ironically enough, I had removed this book from my TBR in a blog post just a couple of weeks before receiving my assigned reading list for my course, and lo and behold… there it was. I wasn’t terribly excited about reading it, but Regina swooped in to offer to buddy read it with me, thus saving the day! ♥ Seriously, though, I would’ve struggled to finish this book without her help and motivation. The rep is fantastic, but the story i
Rachel Reads Ravenously
3 stars

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
Anna Priemaza
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed

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
#strangesummerreading No. 4 You're Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner ☀️☀️☀️

Julia is an aspiring street artist who gets kicked out of her school (a school for the deaf) for vandalism, and has to move to a mainstream school and find a new normal.

My biggest issue with this book was just that I felt the author could have done so much more with the topics she addressed. She chose to go the typical 'teen drama' path instead of choosing to give a greater lesson, bigger picture of beautiful message
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! This book has a complex and completely compelling central character, and I loved spending time in her world. The artwork offers another fascinating layer to the story, almost as good as the lovingly detailed descriptions of the passion and preparation Julia puts into her work. At its heart, a story about art and friendship that inspires.
Cale Dietrich
Nov 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: swanky-17s
I loved this book! It has great characters, phenomenal voice, and it gets MAJOR points from me for being so diverse and intersectional. Basically, I had an absolute blast stepping into Julia’s gritty and paint-streaked world, and I’m sure other YA fans will feel the same way.

Speaking of, Julia is an absolute firecracker of a character – she’s bold, unapologetic and really likeable. She’s so witty and blunt and yeah, I think she’s so great. I’m sure she’ll be a new favorite character for many.

Faith Simon
3 1/2 stars.
This was a really spectacular book about forgiveness, acceptance and friendship. Me, being the person that absolutely loves blossoming friendship in books, ate this one right up.
In this story, we follow Julia, a deaf, Indian girl who has two moms, both also deaf, and who's best friend recently betrayed her.
At the start of the story, we begin after Julia's been kicked out of her school and is required to attend another public school, one that does not operate for the benefit of lea
Lizzy (Bent Bookworm)
~*This review first appeared on The Bent Bookworm!*~

This book made me happy. Happy in the contented, yeeeeees this was good kind of way. I don’t read that many contemporaries (usually find them trite and boring), so I don’t think I’m easy to please – but this book. I pretty much clutched it to myself and gave it a hug when I finished. Also can I please have this quote on t-shirt:
I’m not easy. Never have been.

Julia is a tough cookie. A tough cookie with an artist’s heart and soul. I love her so m
Breeana Shields
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2k17-books
This book has so many cool elements—the inclusion of the art (drawn by the author herself) is amazing. It not only gives the story a ton of personality, but also adds a lot to the tension. I found myself rushing forward as the main character described what she was painting, anxious to see it for myself on the next page. And Julia is such a great heroine—she’s angry, and real, and has a killer voice. Perhaps my favorite element of all was the very real and poignant way YOU’RE WELCOME, UNIVERSE ex ...more
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
"I’m not better than friends, I want better friends. I want friends who are all in, all the time. It can’t just be all on your terms. You have to care, care about more than just yourself."

Unique Things About This Book:
•The main character Julia, is deaf. Also, she's a vandal.
•There's this weird graffiti war going on.
•You get to see the world in a deaf person's POV [which was pretty awesome]
•The illustrations ARE SO FREAKING COOL.

I'm not going to lie and say that I loved th
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There is so much to love about Whitney Gardner's debut. It's heartfelt - full of anger and hurt, hope and beauty. Set against the backdrop of a graffiti war, YOU'RE WELCOME UNIVERSE challenges our assumptions about art, belonging, and friendship in new and interesting ways. The characters are compelling, the art work is captivating, and the twists and turns make this an impossible book to put down. ...more
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another STELLAR 2017 release. Holding off on the review because of that 2017 release date, but REALLY CREATIVE. Entirely different from any other YA contemporary I've read. And Gardner did her own artwork. How dare she be this talented. *fist shake*

Thanks to Random House/Knopf for the review copy!
Bree Barton
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Holy hell. What a terrific book this is.

YOU'RE WELCOME, UNIVERSE knocked my socks off. Whitney has created so much more than a book here; she's created a book object. The story is wonderful in and of itself—Julia shimmers on the page; Mee's tenderness breaks my heart; YP's secret is delicious; I want to punch Donovan in the fucking face—but then the book also includes the author's own dazzling art, which bumps the whole thing up another ten notches.

And the sign language! My god! I don't have a
Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An intimate and stunning debut. There's so so so much I want to say, to rave, about this novel, but I won't. It should be discovered and it sure as heck will be. Put this on the top of your To Read list asap. It is SO GOOD. ...more
Jilly Gagnon
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-mg-lit
This book was absolutely MAGICAL.

Gardner did such an amazing job of immersing you in the many different, unique worlds Julia belongs to, especially those of graff artists and Deaf culture, two realms I'll admit I knew little to nothing about coming in.

I now feel...initiated. That's how real Julia feels, how true and honest her perspective. The voice is so strong it's hard to believe she won't jump off the page and tag a sign on your street.

And she's such an amazing, flawed character! Her frustra
Alexandra Ott
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really loved YOU'RE WELCOME, UNIVERSE! It's a story about art and friendship and the ways that they can inspire each other. I devoured it quickly because I just couldn't stop reading. The characters are complicated and compelling. Julia, the protagonist, is a Deaf graffiti artist with a killer voice. She doesn't always make good decisions and isn't always nice, but she's fierce and bold and unapologetic, and I loved her passion for and commitment to her art. Her friend YP is another standout c ...more
Rosalyn Eves
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Whitney Gardner is an insanely talented new writer, and I adored You're Welcome, Universe. This contemporary YA novel feels fresh and different, and much of that is courtesy of Julia--the vividly drawn main character, who has just been kicked out of her elite Deaf school for graffiti (in a good cause!) and exiled to a regular school in the suburbs, where she struggles to fit in. What I loved most about the book (aside from the spectacular artwork, which Gardner did herself), was the slowly unfol ...more
Emma Giordano
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK. It is definitely one of my absolute favorite reads of the year thus far. I don't want to write too much on Goodreads because I HAVE to review this one on my channel because I loved it so much, but I'd highly highly recommend it!

I loved Julia as a main character; the girl has so much depth! She's proud to be Indian, she's proud to be deaf, she's proud to have two Deaf moms, and she won't stop painting for anything. She's also not necessarily a nice "goody-two shoes"
Elle (ellexamines)
3.5 stars. You're Welcome, Universe is one of the better contemporary books I've read, focusing around a Deaf street artist who gets in an art war with a mystery person.


—> Julia is an exciting, dynamic character who is far from perfect; she can be downright mean at times, although she's still good to her friends and family. She draws you in with her snappy, sarcastic narration.

—> The book puts a good emphasis on friendship. This doesn't have
Cori Reed
Jun 07, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was really fun! Learning about Deaf culture was very interesting, and our protagonist Julia was a complex and interesting person, not just Deaf. Add in all the information about street art and the fact that this story isn't a romance and it was a wonderful read!

The writing was pretty simple, but it was an addictive and I devoured in a couple hours. I would definitely recommend this book as I think everyone can gain something from it.
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
You're Welcome, Universe is Whitney Gardner debut novel and it is phenomenal, extremely phenomenal.

You're Welcome, Universe is about a Deaf girl who was kicked out of her former school for drawing over something that hurt her friend and is then sent to another school where she finds herself in a graffiti war with someone that I did not see coming. Also I cannot get over the fact that art was featured in You're Welcome, Universe; every single piece was amazing and I couldn't stop staring at the d
Katie Nelson
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received an early copy of this novel, and was so lucky to discover it!

Julia is an artist. She's smart, daring, and a fiercely loyal friend. But when she gets expelled from her deaf school for covering up a slur about her best friend with an amazing--but illegal--piece of graffiti, she is thrown into a mainstream school in the suburbs. Though Julia swears she doesn't need friends, she gets dragged into a graffiti war and has to decide just how far she is willing to take it.

I loved seeing the wo
rachel ☾
Unpopular opinion time: when I think of this book, all I can think of is how nauseated it left me.

I know that You’re Welcome, Universe has connected with a lot of readers; for a lot of people, it was the first time they had seen themselves represented on the page. The power of that is not something I would ever want to take away but oh boy, this was so not for me.

My problems mainly stemmed from my dislike of Julia.

If you know me, you know that I adore flawed or morally grey protagonists. It isn'
Merphy Napier
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it

With this being a 2017 release, I'll be doing a video review on my channel so I'll keep it concise here.

I loved living in Deaf culture and and learning more about Graffiti - I thought the environment of this book alone deserved five stars.

There were plenty of elements that really brought the rating down for me though, the writing/ pacing was odd and left me rereading things at times, there were lots of stereotypes used that didn't go beyond their borders, and a few other small things.

Mar 31, 2017 rated it liked it
You know, the first 200 pages of this book were awesome, in my opinion. Julia seemed like a kick ass character and I enjoyed her. She was on a mission to tag spots in the neighborhood to make a name for herself, but someone goes beyond what she did and makes her graffiti look even better than it was. As the reader, it was fun how Julia was trying to figure out who it was. But then, the last 90 something pages just ruined it for me. I thought Julia turned into a baby after finding out who was the ...more
sil ♡ the book voyagers
I decided to start You're Welcome, Universe because author Laura Silverman was tweeting about it and she was actually reading it. It made me more excited, that's what I'm saying. I couldn't help but pick it up and read the first chapter, and boy, did it leave me wanting more.

You're Welcome, Universe is the story of a girl and her art. It has this killer graphics and drawings in the book, Whitney is so talented in every way (I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S HER DEBUT NOVEL!). I cannot wait to see them in the
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Whitney Gardner is an author, illustrator, and coffee addict. Originally from New York, she studied design and worked as an art teacher and school librarian before moving to Victoria, BC, where she lives by the Salish Sea with her husband and two pugs. In the rare moment Whitney isn’t writing or drawing, she’s likely to be reading comics, knitting, or roasting her own coffee beans.

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