Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers


Monday, March 27, 2017

The Universe Thanks Whitney Gardner for Writing…: You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

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The Universe Thanks Whitney Gardner for Writing…: You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner
You're Welcome, Universe
Whitney Gardner
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: March 7th, 2017
by Knopf Books for Young Readers

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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.

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.
-A copy was provided by Knopf Books for Young Readers for review-

You’re Welcome, Universe is an incredibly special book and one I count myself lucky to have had the opportunity to read. It’s eye-opening, heartwarming, angsty and just a whole lot of fun. Julia is a main character YA has been waiting for and will be made all the more better by her presence.

Julia is a deaf, Indian graffiti artist. She is incredibly talented but also just tired of graffiti not being taken seriously as an art form. She is tired of all the people who give graffiti a bad name and she is tired of it being seen as vandalism instead of ART that has the ability to make a point and to make people think. She gets kicked out of her school when she covers a slur about her best friend up with a graffiti mural. She is ratted out by this supposed best friend and finds herself in new waters and unable to trust the people around her because of this terrible ex-friend (who she unfortunately still works with and so still has to see her face.) Julia is a wonderfully, angsty teen and I LOVED seeing her character develop over the course of the book as she makes newer, better friends. As she navigates the world and expresses herself.

The author has clearly done so much research to be able to do justice to Julia’s character yet my favorite thing about this book is that it isn’t about being deaf or Indian (although it does focus more on Julia’s former identity.) You’re Welcome, Universe is not an #ownvoices novel (at least that’s what I gathered from reading the acknowledgements) and thus it seems appropriate that it isn’t really telling a story about how those identities impact the main character but rather the story of a character with those identities.

While I cannot speak to her portrayal of Julia’s deaf identity, I can speak a little bit to her portrayal of her Indian identity. Julia’s cultural identity wasn’t actually a huge part of the book and we only got glimpses here and there but I generally enjoyed what I saw. My fav scene ever was that moment when Julia’s Mee massages coconut oil into her hair and it just reminded me of all the times my mom did that for me growing up. We saw her culture identity also expressed a little bit through food and my one complain was that I felt like the food wasn’t done justice?? I know this seems like such a TINY thing but no matter what part of India you’re from/your parents are from, we LOVE FOOD. For the foods mentioned, it just seemed the author replaced the work curry with makhani and not everything in our cuisine is a makhani? Obviously, they were ordering Indian food and probably ordered specific comfort foods but I also wish the food porn was a little bit more researched and we could have seen a little bit more variety.

Overall though, this book is gorgeous written and I absolutely adored it. I loved getting to know Julia and her family. I loved watching her relationships bloom with both her mothers and also with friends. I loved watching her develop healthy relationships with people and also express herself through art. This book is such a pleasure to read and I hope that others will enjoy it as much as I did.  SO GO FORTH AND READ, my friends!

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

Blog Tour: The Warden’s Daughter by Jerry Spinelli

Blog Tour: The Warden’s Daughter by Jerry Spinelli

Posted by on 01/19/2017 • 5 Comments

The Warden’s Daughter is honestly unlike anything I’ve ever read by Jerry Spinelli. When I was in middle school, Stargirl was one of the most important books in my life so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from a historical middle grade novel written by Spinelli. There is still very much the ‘old Spinelli’ in this book but I can definitely see that he has grown and developed as a writer since I last had the joy of reading a book by him.

The Warden’s Daughter is a heartfelt story of loss and just the general need to find one’s place within the world. Cammie has always felt a little incomplete because she never had a mother growing up. She has made it her summer goal to claim a mother…

Review: The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Review: The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Posted by on 10/07/2016 • 8 Comments

I KNOW IT’S TOO EARLY to be reading Christmas-y books but I am already getting into the mood for the holidays and I really wanted to be reunited with Dash & Lily so I READ THE BOOK and it was 100% worth it. Also, to be fair, this book comes out this month so I am allowed to read a christmas-y book in October.

The biggest issue I had with this book (because rarely is a book perfect) is that it was a lot more angsty than the original Dash & Lily. Lily was justified in being angsty but the lack of communication between Dash & Lily was so off-putting given that they had been good at in the first book. If Dash & Lily just talked to each other,…

Review: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Review: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Posted by on 09/19/2016 • 12 Comments

I have a weird thing about sequels that aren’t about the main characters from the first book but since Illuminae was the bomb.com, I was still pretty excited for Gemina. I didn’t love it as much as Illuminae but that’s also probably because I missed the sh██ out of Kady and Ezra. I MISSED THEM SO SO MUCH because they are so wonderful together and I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS FOR THEM.

As a result of the mentioned weird thing I have, it took me a lot longer to warm up to Nik and Hanna but when I finally did, I was able to appreciate the fact that they were wonderfully well-rounded characters who were pretty darn easy to like. They are both funny and sarcastic like Kady…

Blog Tour: Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff – Review

Blog Tour: Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff – Review

Posted by on 03/11/2016 • 4 Comments

 

Hello everyone!! I am honored to be participating in this huge blog tour for Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood. I adore fairy tales and I love retellings, so naturally I had to take part. This tour has been running for about a month and there is plenty more to come. You can refer to the tour schedule that will be at the end of this post. Don’t forget to check out the other stops for really great guest posts and fun things! For my post I am doing a review of this book.

This book was all sorts of fun. The characters were fantastic and the storyline was great. There was a bit of mystery to it as well as magic (of course), friendships, and adventure….

A Letter to Kady (Illuminae) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

A Letter to Kady (Illuminae) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Posted by on 10/21/2015 • 11 Comments

I’m excited to have the Illuminae tour stop by the blog today with a fun guest post! I’ve got both Amie and Jay here today with a letter to their main character, Kady! Also don’t forget to enter to win before you go! Before we get to that, let’s see what this book is all about:

Guest post by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

A Letter to Kady

Dear Kady,

Okay, first up, we’re sorry. WE’RE SORRY. Please don’t delete our back-up files, remotely active our car alarms or plaster our embarrassing baby photos all over the internet. We know you know how. And okay, maybe you’d be justified. We put you through some stuff in Illuminae. We can acknowledge that.

We’re particularly sorry about…

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Posted by on 09/08/2015 • 9 Comments

It’s not often that I read a book in one day. Especially huge books like this monster. I just couldn’t put this one down though. It loved the fast pace of it, the heartbreaking story, and even the format it’s told in. I loved reading this story through instant messages, documents, and case files, along with other things as well. It was almost impossible to put down because I was so interested in what was happening, and was quickly attached to the characters. The main one being the AI. I loved getting to know it. While books have been written in documents and such things before, this one has so much more. I especially loved the pictures that are done in it as part of the story. They really help…

Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Posted by on 12/22/2014 • 17 Comments

This is the sort of story that kinda sneaks up on you. You’re not sure what kind of book it is at first – especially if you’re like me and don’t brush up on the blurb beforehand. It seems intense and gritty and even a tad confusing. You notice right away that the characters are definitely messed up with deep rooted issues they need to work on. Then there’s romance and profound conversations and soul searching and what seems to be a light at the end of this dark, dreary tunnel. Then, BAM!

BAAAAAM!

Well ok don’t get too agitated, it takes a while until reality crashes down – almost at the end, really, but it basically changes the whole meaning of the book. At least it did for me….