The Writing’s On The Wall: Wild Love

The Writing’s On The Wall is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I create desktop wallpapers inspired by some of my favourite novels, authors, and literary quotes.

Happy Thursday, everyone! Today’s edition of The Writing’s On The Wall is an extra special one for me, and a post I’d like to dedicate to someone I’ve been fortunate to get to know a little over the past year, Candice. For those who don’t know or don’t follow her on Twitter (Which you should! @CandiceAmanda!), Candice is a wonderful force for good within the community. Smart, strong, and endlessly inspiring, Candice is someone whose voice I have always valued, none more so then when she was generous enough to share some of her writing on Twitter throughout the month of April. This series of poems, which you can read here, were elegant and powerful and reminded me that there was beauty in the world at a time in my life when I needed to be reminded of that most of all. While I know it isn’t much, I wanted to give something back for all Candice has given to the community, and create something in honour of all she has has created. You are loved and appreciated, Candice, and this one’s for you.

1280×800 » 1440×900 » 1680×1050 » 1920×1200 » 2560×1400

I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Twigs and Twine, Vlad Cristea and Connary Fagen Type Design whose clipart and/or fonts I purchased, edited and used in the creation of this wallpaper!

Now it’s your turn! What would you like to see made into a desktop wallpaper next? Let me know in the comments – I would love to hear from you!

Top Fifteen Books Mom Might Enjoy

Top Ten Tuesday is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I count down my top ten choices on a particular theme. This weekly event is hosted by Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is: Top Fifteen Books Mom Might Enjoy.

I had a lot of fun putting together this week’s Top Ten Tuesday list and I sincerely hope you can find at least one book you and your mom – or another loved one – can enjoy together this year. Happy reading!

As always, these choices are listed in no particular order.

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“I might be Cinderella today, but I dread who they’ll think I am tomorrow. I guess it depends on what I do next.”

American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick’s sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he’s fated to become.

Which is how she gets into trouble.

Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she’s sacrificed for love – her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself – will have been for nothing.




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Two brown girls dream of being dancers — but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.

Tracey makes it to the chorus line but struggles with adult life, while her friend leaves the old neighborhood behind, traveling the world as an assistant to a famous singer, Aimee, observing close up how the one percent live.

But when Aimee develops grand philanthropic ambitions, the story moves from London to West Africa, where diaspora tourists travel back in time to find their roots, young men risk their lives to escape into a different future, the women dance just like Tracey — the same twists, the same shakes — and the origins of a profound inequality are not a matter of distant history, but a present dance to the music of time.




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This version of the Bennet family — and Mr. Darcy — is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help — and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming…

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.




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Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply-but that almost seems beside the point now.
Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her – Neal is always a little upset with Georgie – but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?




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A dazzling debut novel from an exciting new voice, The Mothers is a surprising story about young love, a big secret in a small community — and the things that ultimately haunt us most.

Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett’s mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret.

“All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season.”

It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance — and the subsequent cover-up — will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a “what if” can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.




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A whip-smart, hysterical dramedy about a family in crisis after the disappearance of its brilliant, misanthropic matriarch.

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle – and people in general – has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence – creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.




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A hilarious debut novel about a wealthy but fractured Chinese immigrant family that had it all, only to lose every last cent – and about the cross-country road trip that binds them back together.

Charles Wang is mad at America. A brash, lovable immigrant businessman who built a cosmetics empire and made a fortune, he’s just been ruined by the financial crisis. Now all Charles wants is to get his kids safely stowed away so that he can go to China and attempt to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands – and his pride.

Charles pulls Andrew, his aspiring comedian son, and Grace, his style-obsessed daughter, out of schools he can no longer afford. Together with their stepmother, Barbra, they embark on a cross-country road trip from their foreclosed Bel-Air home to the upstate New York hideout of the eldest daughter, disgraced art world It-Girl Saina. But with his son waylaid by a temptress in New Orleans, his wife ready to defect for a set of 1,000-thread-count sheets, and the rest of them involved in an epic smash-up in North Carolina, Charles may have to choose between the old world and the new, between keeping his family intact and finally fulfilling his dream of starting anew in China.

Outrageously funny and full of charm, The Wangs vs. The World is an entirely fresh look at what it means to belong in America – and how going from glorious riches to (still name-brand) rags brings one family together in a way money never could.




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An audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame, and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, from the author of three highly-acclaimed previous novels.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time – from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as The Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains – this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.




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One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly — thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.

Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.

When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.

Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together.




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A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.

Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.

Riveting and rich with lyricism, Burial Rites evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?




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Leah is living in Queens with a possessive husband she doesn’t love and a long list of unfulfilled ambitions, when she’s jolted from a thick ennui by a call from the past. Her beloved former boss and friend, Judy, has died in a car accident and left Leah her most prized possession and, as it turns out, the instrument of Judy’s death: a red sports car.

Judy was the mentor Leah never expected. She encouraged Leah’s dreams, analyzed her love life, and eased her into adulthood over long lunches away from the office. Facing the jarring disconnect between the life she expected and the one she is now actually living, Leah takes off for San Francisco to claim Judy’s car. In sprawling days defined by sex, sorrow, and unexpected delight, Leah revisits past lives and loves in search of a self she abandoned long ago. Piercing through Leah’s surreal haze is the enigmatic voice of Judy, as sharp as ever, providing wry commentary on Leah’s every move.

Following her “irresistible” (Time) and “wicked” (Slate) novel Bad Marie, Dermansky evokes yet another edgy, capricious, and beautifully haunting heroine ― one whose search for realization is as wonderfully unpredictable and hypnotic as the twists and turns of the Pacific Coast Highway. Tautly wound, transgressive, and mordantly funny, The Red Car is an incisive exploration of one woman’s unusual route to self-discovery.




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After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.




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The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.

Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her as a candidate for The Wife Project (even if she is “quite intelligent for a barmaid”). But Don is intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie―and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.




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In the latest masterpiece by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle – a girl said to have survived without food for months-soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life.

Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.

Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, The Wonder works beautifully on many levels – a tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.




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Every garden is a story, waiting to be told…

At the nursery she runs with her sisters on the New England coast, Sorrel Sparrow has honed her rare gift for nurturing plants and flowers. Now that reputation, and a stroke of good timing, lands Sorrel an unexpected opportunity: reviving a long-dormant Shakespearean garden on an English country estate.

Arriving at Kirkwood Hall, ancestral home of Sir Graham Kirkwood and his wife Stella, Sorrel is shocked by the desolate state of the walled garden. Generations have tried — and failed — to bring it back to glory. Sorrel senses heartbreak and betrayal here, perhaps even enchantment. Intrigued by the house’s history — especially the haunting tapestries that grace its walls — and increasingly drawn to Stella’s enigmatic brother, Sorrel sets to work. And though she knows her true home is across the sea with her sisters, instinct tells her that the English garden’s destiny is entwined with her own, if she can only unravel its secrets…

Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover Issue 78: Middle Grade (Part 18)

Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I pay tribute to some of the best and brightest the publishing world has to offer in the way of book cover design. This feature is inspired by Katie’s feature Cover Love on her blog One Page At A Time. The idea is being used with her gracious permission.

Some of my favourite covers this week include The Epic Fail Of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya, Zinnia and The Bees by Danielle Davis, Alan Cole Is Not A Coward by Eric Bell, The Half-True Lies Of Cricket Cohen by Catherine Lloyd Burns, The Great Hibernation by Tara Dairman, Beyond The Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk, The Gravedigger’s Son by Patrick Moody and See You In The Cosmos by Jack Cheng.

Please Note: I’ve done my best to credit the designers and artists responsible for the beautiful covers below, but was unable to find this information for a number of those listed. If you know of an uncredited designer responsible for any of these book covers, please let me know and I would be happy to include proper attribution in this post. Their work is lovely and deserves to be credited.

01. Who Let the Gods Out? by Maz Evans
02. The Epic Fail Of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya (Designed by Kate Renner, Illustrated by Jorge Lacera)

03. Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard
04. Zinnia and The Bees by Danielle Davis (Illustrated by Laura K. Horton)

05. Ivy by Katherine Coville (Illustrated by Celia Kaspar)
06. Alan Cole Is Not A Coward by Eric Bell (Designed by Aurora Parlagreco, Illustrated by Julia Kuo)

07. The Half-True Lies Of Cricket Cohen by Catherine Lloyd Burns
08. The Great Hibernation by Tara Dairman (Illustrated by Rebecca Green)

09. Littler Women: A Modern Retelling by Laura Schaefer
10. The Wondrous World Of Violet Barnaby by Jenny Lundquist

11. One Mixed-Up Night by Catherine Newman
12. Moon Princess by Barbara Laban

13. Beyond The Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk (Designed by Lindsey Andrews, Illustrated by Tang Yau Hoong)
14. I Love You, Michael Collins by Lauren Baratz-Logsted (Designed by Andrew Arnold)

15. The Gravedigger’s Son by Patrick Moody (Illustrated by Graham Carter)
16. Lily’s Mountain by Hannah Moderow

17. See You In The Cosmos by Jack Cheng (Art by Heads Of State)
18. Rise Of The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste (Illustrated by Vivienne To)

19. Who Let The Gods Out? by Maz Evans
20. Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard

Now it’s your turn! What are some of your favourite Middle Grade covers? Did I list one of your favourites here or is there one I forgot that just has to be included? Let me know in the comments!

Review: You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner


Title You’re Welcome, Universe
Author Whitney Gardner
Published March 7th, 2017 by Knopf
Pages 297 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Part of a Series? No
Source & Format Purchased, Hardcover
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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.

Six stencils and it’s gone. Okay, the tag vanished by Stencil Number Two, but I have a point to prove. I’m not covering up your scribbled slur with just anything. I’m making art here. I’m creating. I’m on fire.

No good deed goes unpunished and few know that more than high school junior, Julia Prasad. When the Kingston School For The Deaf refuses to act after a slur is written about Julia’s best friend, Jordyn, Julia decides to takes matters into her own paint-stained hands and creates a beautiful work of art in its place. Sure that her act of vigilante vandalism will remain their little secret, Julia is stunned when Jordyn betrays her trust and identifies her as the artist, getting Julia expelled from Kingston in the process. Now, Julia must confront the difficulties of being the only Deaf student at a mainstream school, earn a place in the school’s advanced art class and navigate the complicated social politics of her job at McDonalds, all while continuing to create graffiti art within the suffocating confines of her new small, suburban town. But when a rival artist begins adding to (and maybe even improving) her work, Julia finds herself the unwitting participant in a graffiti war and enters an increasingly risky game of one-upmanship with surprising, and heartwarming, results.

It’s silent.
Who am I kidding? It’s always silent, but this – I can feel it. Like for the first time, I know what the word really means. It pounds in my head. Silence is the loudest sound.

In You’re Welcome, Universe, Whitney Gardner makes a concerted effort to ensure her young adult debut is as inclusive and intersectional as possible, and thus beautifully captures the diversity inherent in the world around us. The novel’s protagonist, Julia, is a Deaf, Indian-American teenager with two lesbian mothers, charmingly referred to in the text as “Mee” and “Ma”, who are both also Deaf. Gardner’s choice to portray Julia’s parents as positive, active, and invested participants in Julia’s life is a particularly welcome addition to the story, all the more so because young adult novels are so often populated by parents who are uninterested in or entirely absent from their children’s lives for the sake of plot convenience. Julia’s relationships with other secondary characters are equally well-rendered. From her burgeoning friendship with a girl known only to her as “Yoga Pants” (“YP” for short) to the dismantling of a toxic friendship born of little but convenience and proximity, Julia’s relationships are allowed to progress organically and each contribute in a meaningful way to her personal growth. These and other relationships also allow You’re Welcome, Universe to touch upon important issues including disordered eating, body image, ableism and bullying. Julia’s identity as an Indian-American was less overtly explored and could have benefited from greater depth and attention. Nevertheless, it was nice to have a character whose race was explicitly identified on the page and deviated from the tiresome homogeneity of Caucasian characters who so often dominate the market for books aimed at this age group.

My piece is still burning under the overpass and, more important, untouched. Now this, this, is real street art. Not some Sharpie doodled on poser-printer paper in art class.
This takes ovaries.

While You’re Welcome, Universe is not an #OwnVoices novel and I cannot speak directly to the voracity of Whitney Gardner’s portrayal of Julia as a Deaf teen because I do not share that identity, it appears as though the author put a great deal of time, care and attention into ensuring that the representation in the novel is as sensitive and accurate as possible. Gardner expertly explores the nuances of Julia’s disability, and the effect, both positive and negative, that being Deaf has on Julia physically, mentally and emotionally. Julia becomes an object alternatively of curiosity and alienation at Finley because of her interpretor, Casey, who helps by signing the teacher’s lessons to her. (“They act like Casey’s conjuring black magic, waving her arms around, when really she’s only blathering on about tariffs or decimal places.”) Despite the assumptions of those around her to the contrary, Julia also struggles to read the lips of those speaking to her, and these omissions are eloquently represented in the text with dashes (“–“) to indicate the words that allude her. (“Was everyone deaf — old school?”) Few of the characters Julia interacts with are familiar with ASL (American Sign Language), and instead Julia is frustratingly forced to act out a pseudo game of charades in order to make herself understood. (“There’s only a million more things I wanted to say to him. Or, you know, have an actual conversation. But that’s all I get with Hearies. Hi. Bye. Thumbs up, thumbs down. Head nod.”) Finally, Gardner is careful to note the painful, everyday microaggressions that are perpetrated against Julia. These include (but are not limited to) those who address her interpretor, Casey, rather than speaking to Julia directly, the student who holds Julia’s hands together, unaware that this effectively silences her, or the older man who assumes Julia’s use of her phone to communicate is indicative of a generational fad and not a practical necessity. The author’s exploration of Julia’s identity as a Deaf teen is informative without ever appearing patronizing and encourages readers to become more educated about, mindful of and empathetic toward those in the d/Deaf community.

“I’m not better than friends, I want better friends. I want friends who are all in, all the time. It can’t just be all on your terms.
You have to care, care about more than just yourself.”

Julia has the potential to be a polarizing protagonist for prospective readers who prefer a more biddable, even-keeled character, but Gardner is to be commended for her courageous storytelling. The author bravely explores Julia’s deepest flaws and insecurities with a raw, emotional vulnerability many readers will recognize from their own turbulent teenage experience. Julia is proud, passionate, fiercely independent and quick to anger, especially when she feels she’s being pitied, and must overcome the pain of her past – most notable of which is her toxic relationship with Jordyn – in order to pursue and embrace the happiness she so richly deserves. The street art that Julia creates acts as an outlet for things she might otherwise be unable to articulate. From an image of Julia’s beloved car, Lee, to instructional hand positions for various words and phrases in ASL, You’re Welcome, Universe is beautifully complimented throughout with illustrations by Gardner that marry the written and visual arts to bring Julia’s world to life in rich, vivid detail. Nowhere is this more effective than in the author’s inclusion of Julia’s artwork, and her artistic rival’s additions to it. It is because of these illustrations that the reader is given a unique glimpse into the protagonist’s perspective in a manner few novels allow. Julia’s art is treated as a character in its own right, continuing to improve and evolve over the course of the story, an evolution which runs parallel to that of the protagonist’s own personal growth.

My lungs are shredding. Tension rips through my chest. I run my gloved finger through the wet paint on the last little beige circle. My work looks right back at me. It’s the biggest, most beautiful piece I’ve ever done. My gift to Greenlawn. You’re welcome, Universe.

An uplifting, satisfying story of one teen’s attempt to leave her own unique mark on the world, You’re Welcome, Universe is a loving tribute to the d/Deaf community and an art form that is all too often unexplored and unappreciated. Creative, inclusive, sensitive and insightful, You’re Welcome, Universe would make a valuable addition to any classroom, library or personal collection and will inspire readers to look at art, and the world around them, in a new and exciting way.

Still not sure this is the right book for you? Here’s what some other reviewers had to say about it!

● Ashleigh Paige @ The YA Kitten wrote “You’re Welcome, Universe is YA novel to remember and pass along to your friends.” (Read the rest of the review Here!)

● Gabrielle @ So We Read This Book wrote “You’re Welcome, Universe was like nothing I’d ever read before, and I mean this in the absolute best way possible.” (Read the rest of the review Here!)

● Cait @ A Page With A View wrote “My little sister is Deaf and we’ve been waiting forever for an accurate portrayal of a Deaf main character who gets to do more with her story besides just…be Deaf. This book was so incredibly well done!” (Read the rest of the review Here!)

The Writing’s On The Wall: You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

The Writing’s On The Wall is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I create desktop wallpapers inspired by some of my favourite novels, authors, and literary quotes.

Title You’re Welcome, Universe
Author Whitney Gardner
Pages 297 Pages
Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Published March 7th, 2017 by Knopf
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

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.

1280×800 » 1440×900 » 1680×1050 » 1920×1200 » 2560×1400 » iPhone 5 » iPhone 6 » iPad

I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Kate Macate and The Branded Quotes whose clipart and/or fonts I purchased, edited and used in the creation of this wallpaper!

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I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Fox & Bear and The Routine Creative whose clipart and/or fonts I purchased, edited and used in the creation of this wallpaper!

Now it’s your turn! What would you like to see made into a desktop wallpaper next? Let me know in the comments – I would love to hear from you!