The Children’s Book Review | March 7, 2017
The Children’s Book Review: Which five words best describe You’re Welcome Universe?
Whitney Gardner: Graffiti, Fury, Friendship, Fingerspelling, and Fire.
If you had to take a vacation with one of the characters from You’re Welcome, Universe, who would it be? Why?
It would have to be Julia, my main character. I think she and I would get into lots of good trouble together.
What has been the best reaction from a reader, so far?
Watching author Laura Silverman live tweet her read through of my book was thrilling!
What’s on your nightstand? Any books?
My Kindle is there, so lots of books! Also a NYT crossword puzzle book, a pencil and sharpener and probably two half full water glasses.
For your writing energy: sugar or salt, tea or coffee?
Coffee, always coffee. But I do take mine light and sweet.
Writing tools: computer, pen and paper, or all of the above?
I write on the computer but I’m surrounded by Post-It notes with half-ideas scribbled down on them. All my ideas and notes go into notebooks but all the actual writing is done on the computer.
Can you tell us one more thing we may not know about You’re Welcome, Universe, your writing style, or yourself?
You’re Welcome, Universe has an homage to one of my favorite places in New York City that has since been demolished. 5 Pointz Aerosol Art Center. My main character gets to do one last piece of art there before it’s destroyed.
Written by Whitney Gardner
Publisher’s Synopsis: 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.
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.
Ages 14+ | Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers | 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0399551413
About Whitney Gardner
Whitney Gardner is the author of YOU’RE WELCOME, UNIVERSE (March 7, 2017; Knopf), an illustrated YA novel about a Deaf teen artist who must decide between being painted into obscurity or risking getting caught after she finds herself locked in a graffiti war with an opponent who takes it a step too far. Visit her at heywhitney.com.
This speed interview with Whitney Gardner, author of You’re Welcome, Universe, was conducted by Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Young Adult Fiction and Speed Interview.