Book Review: You’re Welcome, Universe

You're Welecome UniverseYou’re Welecome Universe By Whitney Gardner

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Fiction, Disability
Pages: 297 pages
Published: March 7th 2017
Publisher: Knopf
My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

PlotWhen 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.

My Thoughts: So this book has been on my TBR since last year. I put it on my Spring 2017 list. I just never ended up picking it up. When I got the chance to buddy read this with Destiny @Howling Libraries because she needs to read it for a class, I jumped at the chance. I feel this book had a lot of potential to be really good. There was just so much I didn’t like.


The story is about a deaf girl who gets kicked out of her deaf school for covering up graffiti talking bad about her best friend. She ends up going to a new school where she is the only deaf kid. To deal with this she begins painting anywhere she can. Then someone begins adding to her art turning it into a graffiti war.

I was really intrigued when I heard what this story was going to be about. I had never read a book where the main character was deaf or did graffiti. I felt like that is a dangerous combo because people get in big trouble for doing graffiti but it still sounded really interesting. I did feel myself flying through the readings we had for the day. However, I felt like the story dragged on a bit too much. I just felt like a lot of scenes didn’t really add to the story. I do have to say I was curious to see who was adding to the main character’s graffiti. Destiny and I even said we are probably just overthinking who it is. We were overthinking it. I feel like at one point one character basically gives you a hit that they believe it’s this character. I honestly felt like that one scene happened for that reason. I kinda wish the author just let it happen without really throwing hints at it.


I feel this book could have been so much better if majority of the characters weren’t horrible people. The main character was someone I did not like. She was so mean to everyone for no reason. When she goes to her new school she has a translator. She is so rude to her the whole book. Even the girl who is trying to be her friend, she wants nothing to do with her. I know she had a bad experience with the only friend she had. I just felt she could have tried with these two people who were nothing but nice to her. It really was not enjoyable to read. I did like that she ended up having two moms who also were also deaf. They did so much for her and I feel she really took them for granted going behind their backs and continuing to do graffiti in places she wasn’t allowed to. There were a couple other side characters that popped up and they were also just really rude and just horrible people. It made the story less enjoyable.


So I felt this was a pretty quick read. I felt the writing wasn’t anything special but I found myself reading the assigned readings quickly. I did like that because the main character is deaf there were blank spots. Sometimes when people would speak to her they would end up speaking too fast. So she would try to lip read what they were saying. She would mention how she couldn’t catch everything they were saying. So when it was mentioned there would be certain words that weren’t added and replaced by a blank spot. I liked that. The only thing is there were times when I wasn’t 100% sure what a person was trying to say to her. I would have an idea but not the whole sentence. She would make her one friend text her cause it was easier.


This is a part I don’t usually add to my reviews. However this book had really cool pictures included in it. I mentioned the main character does graffiti. So when she would go and tag a place the art was shown in the book. I really felt like that added to the experience. It was really well done. I honestly wasn’t expecting that. I really enjoy when books give you that something extra. I do have to admit her work did look a lot cooler when the other artist added to it.

Overall I thought this was an okay book. I feel it had a lot of potential to be a really good book. It had a lot of good material but a lot of the characters ended up killing the story for me. I feel if they could have been changed and the story didn’t drag on as much I would have liked it a lot more. I do like that the author added the graffiti that was mentioned. That was my favorite part of the book. I really wish I could recommend this book to you guys but I’m going to say pass on it.

Have you guys ended up reading this book? If so what were your thoughts on it. If not, is this book on your TBR? Are you planning to read it? Let me know in the comments.


4 thoughts on “Book Review: You’re Welcome, Universe

  1. Great review! I loved buddy reading this with you even though neither of us loved the book itself lol. I agree with everything you said about the characters being unlikable and all, but I also agree with what you said about how it was neat (though confusing at times) that there were gaps in her understanding of what people said to her – I thought that was a pretty cool touch and made it feel more authentic. I’m reading a book right now called A Quiet Kind of Thunder and it has a selective mute MC and a deaf love interest, and the love interest is so good at reading lips that he never misses anything anyone says. I don’t know if anyone can actually be THAT good at reading lips but it feels less authentic than it did in this book when she talked about how if people had facial hair or an accent it totally ruined her being able to read their lips and stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so happy we ended up reading this together! I felt like it was such a fun experience. Plus I’m glad I had someone to talk to about this book. Yeah like I feel like there were really cool aspects of this book that made it unique. It would have been a lot better if majority of the characters were likable. Yeah I feel it takes a lot of practice to get good at lip reading but I’m sure there are times they don’t catch something or mistake one word for something else. So that’s a shame. I hope you’re enjoying the book overall.

      Liked by 1 person

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