Reworking the Female YA Protagonist Cliche
Start writing a post

Reworking the Female YA Protagonist Cliche

A Review of "You’re Welcome, Universe" by Whitney Gardner.

Reworking the Female YA Protagonist Cliche
Whitney Gardner

You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner follows an alienated teenage girl named Julia, which seems to be a trope for almost every Young Adult novel these days. But Gardner made this cliche her own by writing about the alienation not having a particular sense and interacting in a world that does not adapt to someone’s limitations.

Julia is Deaf, "Big-D" Deaf, as she explains to her friend that we only know via her name sign: YP. For readers who have had no experience with the Deaf Community and some of the issues many Deaf people face, this book will give them insight into what Deaf people face on an almost daily basis. (The capital letter on Deaf is very important to the Deaf Community.)

Julia gets expelled from her School for the Deaf for covering up graffiti denigrating her friend with her art, made via spray paint and stencils, and must exist in an environment entirely geared towards the hearing: public high school. With the help of her interpreter Cindy, Julia must navigate high school when separated from everything that she knew and separated from her love: art.

Not only does Julia face public school but she does so without any friends. That’s how she got caught at her old school; the cardinal sin of taking a photo and sharing said photo. The photo she sent was to her denigrated friend, and that phone was the one shown to Julia as proof that she committed the heinous crime of protecting her friend via graffiti.

Julia’s graffiti artist ways do not stop with her expulsion. She continues on to decorate a stop sign, a scoreboard, and an underpass. All whom a rival artist also "contributes" to and Julia feels attacks her work. Julia is searching for the artist while becoming closer to her only friend, YP. YP has her own problems that aren’t spelled out until right before the climax of the novel that includes police officers stopping Julia and the rival artist on the street near a new piece of art.

The isolation from communication is indicated throughout the novel by the blanking out of words during a conversation that Julia is witnessing. This shows the difficulty that Deaf people have in a complete Hearing environment. There is also the difficulty that is dealt with when the school transfers Julia into the ESL class. ESL stands for English as a Second Language. This acronym is not overtly explained in the book until there is an explosion between the ESL teacher and Cindy. This is well worth reading for those that think that American Sign Language (ASL) is English with gestures. It is not. It has a different syntactic structure. (Its sentence structure is more like Spanish than English.)

The problems that Julia face throughout this novel are similar to the ones that every YA protagonist faces. When she says that no one understands her, or that few people understand her, she is 100 percent telling the truth. In this predominantly Hearing world, few people are willing to learn how to sign and make the Deaf people in their lives included in family parties and events. This book sheds light on that deficiency and makes me want to crack open my ASL textbooks and study a bit to correct mine.

This book was a phenomenal read. I recommend to all, Deaf and Hearing alike.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Two teenage girls smiling

The 2000s were a time that many young adults today can look back on, joyfully reminisce and somewhat cringe at the trends and the fads that we all used to love and adore. Here's a list of things from the golden 2000s that will have one feeling nostalgic about all of those times.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

7 Types Of Students You Will Meet In College

You wish you could be #5, but you know you're probably a #6.

cool group of lazy college students in class

There are thousands of universities around the world, and each school boasts its own traditions and slogans. Some schools pride themselves on sports, while others emphasize their research facilities. While there is a myriad of differences among each and every school, there will always these seven types of students in class.

Keep Reading...Show less
woman in white tank top and orange jacket holding a bible
Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

Life is hard. There is no surprise there. It’s confusing and scary and hectic, but there are some amazing qualities, too. Sometimes you feel alone and don’t know what to do. School gets in the way of what you want to do or you’re dropping friends you thought you trusted. Everyone has their moments. Everyone has felt in the lowest place and couldn’t find the strength to get back up. But I want to help with that. Here are 10 Bible verses I hope will brighten your day, or at least make you feel stronger and happier.

Keep Reading...Show less
Buddy The Elf Attacked by Raccoon

Finals, the time we all dread. Amidst trying to juggle a social life, lack of sleep, exams, essays, and classes, it can be more than overwhelming to juggle this crazy season of life. Thankfully, Elf gets it. Here's 15 feels of finals week before winter break, as told by Buddy the Elf:

Keep Reading...Show less

10 Pros And Cons Of Autumn

Navigating the Season's Upsides and Downsides

concrete road among autumn forest with bright orange leaves

Personally, Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. The air is crisp but not too cold, there is so much to do, and you're not collapsing from the heat. I asked some friends and family what their favorite and least favorite parts of Fall. Below is the list I put together:

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments