TITLE: You’re Welcome, Universe
AUTHOR: Whitney Gardner
RELEASED: March 7th, 2017; Knopf
AGE RANGE: YA
Assigned reading for MLIS 7421: Multicultural Youth Literature. (Yeah, the class I took almost a year ago. That’s how overdue this review is…)
Ironically enough, I had removed this book from my TBR in a blog post just a couple of weeks before receiving my assigned reading list for my course, and lo and behold… there it was. I wasn’t terribly excited about reading it, but Regina swooped in to offer to buddy read it with me, saving the day! ♥ Seriously, though, I would’ve struggled to finish this book without her help and motivation. The rep is fantastic, but the story itself, well…
I’m sure she goes home and talks to whatever friends she has about how brave I am. I didn’t choose to be deaf. I have no idea why it makes me brave.
Let’s talk about the positives first. Julia is D/deaf, Indian, and has two mothers who are very loving and supportive of her (well, besides the whole illegal graffiti habit, which they don’t look too kindly upon—can you blame them?). Julia’s new friend is overweight, and the rep there is decent—not my favorite, but I didn’t have any major complaints, either. There is a lot of very important discussion about how D/deaf people are treated in society, the struggles many individuals face (such as Julia’s struggle to make out what is being said to her when she’s forced to rely on lip-reading, or the harassment she undergoes at the “mainstream” school).
I might be burning bridges, but they’re my bridges to burn.
Unfortunately, the positives for You’re Welcome, Universe pretty much stopped there for me. The storyline drags a lot, and I frequently found myself losing all interest in Julia’s goals, or desires, or whatever else you’re supposed to connect with in a plot. Most of the characters aren’t terribly enjoyable and are very simplified—especially YP, her friend, who I felt like was treated as more of a prop than anything else, most of the time. Also, though there was a novelty in the idea of this story involving graffiti and tagging, but it got old kind of fast. It’s all Julia talks or thinks about for most of the book, and I found myself rolling my eyes a couple of times.
All in all, this book isn’t a waste of time—the rep is fantastic, and if you’re interested in the plot, I really, 100% recommend checking it out. I just couldn’t connect with the characters or storyline much, so it was just a “meh” read for me overall.
Buddy read with Reg!
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