I received this ARC from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influences my opinion.
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.
In 2016, I became interested in a musical called Spring Awakening. It is a rock-musical based in 1800s Germany. A few months ago, I discovered Spring Awakening had a second run on Broadway. The second production was different because of this: a majority of the cast was deaf. The production was put on by the Deaf West Theatre in LA. As soon as I saw the Deaf West production of it, I became interested in sign language. I was fascinated that this language is entirely spoken by hand movements. I’m slowly trying to learn it now (I can say my name is Olivia and how are you woohoo).
I then began my research to find Young Adult books with a hearing impaired main character. I sent a request to Penguin Randomhouse and received an ARC.
I was really excited to finally read a book with deaf representation. With that being said, I think my expectations for You’re Welcome, Universe were a bit too high. The book was definitely good–don’t get me wrong. It just didn’t live up to the hype I felt. I really expected to be BLOWN AWAY, but I sadly didn’t feel that way.
Firstly, let’s talk about the diversity in You’re Welcome, Universe. We have an Indian-American teen, who is deaf, with two moms who are also deaf. Julia’s deafness was *what I believe to be* very accurate. In many other books/movies/TV shows, it depicts that there is no communication barrier between a deaf person and a hearing person. However, that is definitely not the case. Many deaf individuals can’t lipread very well, and most hearing individuals only know minimal sign language. It was very interesting reading a story like this in a deaf person’s POV.
Within the book, there are many pages with spray-paint artwork. I really admired this extra feature on the book, especially that it fit really well with the story. Julie is a graffiti artist which was really cool because I’ve never seen someone with that interest in a YA novel.
This book was not perfect. That’s quite an obvious statement because no book is truly perfect. In particular, I wasn’t super in love with the writing style. It felt very blatant; I just really wasn’t a fan. Also, the characters didn’t really grip me like I wish they would. The characters weren’t very unique. They were pretty ‘black and white stereotypical high school’ personalities.
With all that being said, I’m still really glad I read You’re Welcome, Universe. I really enjoyed the different areas of diversity within this novel.
So, what do I rate You’re Welcome, Universe?
Have you purchased/read You’re Welcome, Universe yet?