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
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.