You're Welcome, Universe (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Julia is d/Deaf, Indian-American, and most importantly, an Amazing artist. The fact that her primary medium is spray paint and graffiti murals is beside the point. Except when she gets kicked out of her School for the Deaf for covering up a slur of her best friend and is forced to go to public school.

Gardner does all the illustrations for Julia's art and hand signs, and let me just say that they are INCREDIBLE. Julia's tenacity and refusal to be ashamed of her differences are inspiring and a much needed voice in books - YA especially.

— From Avery


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

About the Author

WHITNEY GARDNER played her ukulele in an episode of Portlandia, danced the rumba with Bill Nye the Science Guy in a New York swing-dance club, and experimented with LARPing in college. She lives with her husband, Roger, and their incredibly cool pugs, Gouda and Fig, in Portland, Oregon. Find her online at and follow her at @HeyWhitney.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780399551444
ISBN-10: 0399551441
Publisher: Ember
Publication Date: March 6th, 2018
Pages: 320
Language: English