Indies Introduce

    Young Adult

    • You're Welcome, Universe, Whitney Gardner
      Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780399551413, March 7, 2017 (Young Adult)

      Julia might be Deaf, but that hasn’t held her back in her graffiti art, or in life, until she gets turned in for vandalizing her school to save her best friend from humiliation. She gets kicked out and finds herself the only Deaf kid in a hearing school and without a best friend. In the midst of all this chaos, she uses her graffiti skills to claim her place in her new environment. When she is thrust into a graffiti war, she must decide how far she is willing to take things. Julia is not always likable, but you will spend the book rooting for her anyway. Gardner has managed to make a very specific and angst-filled story universally appealing and lovable. She gets bonus points for her well-researched depiction of Deaf culture. 

      -Molly Olivo, Barstons Child’s Play (Washington, DC)

      My lived experience is not similar to Julia’s and I’m grateful to Gardner for giving me this window into her character’s world. I cannot speak to how accurate her portrayal is of the Deaf community or how it feels to be a teenager with two moms, to be brown, or to be a teenage graffiti artist. But I did feel Julia’s rage and angst, and I understood it as a former teenage dirt-bag myself. I felt the authenticity of friend breakups and betrayals and the soothing, soaring feelings of finding a new best friend. Gardner is a truly skilled writer to place an angry character within an overall beautiful and heartwarming book. The refreshing format is another delight — chapters headed with emojis, text messages, and dialogue with an authentic feel plus the amazing art spreads make this novel an absorbing experience unlike almost anything else currently on the YA market. I can’t wait to share this book with other readers who love a little bit of grit, art, and mystery in their lives.

      -Johanna Albrecht, Flyleaf Books (Chapel Hill, NC)

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