DATE PUBLISHED: 07th March 2017
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.
I really enjoyed this contemporary novel exploring a Deaf character and her development as a character as well as her love for Graffiti. The plot was intriguing and the pace steady as the story developed. The character development was amazing and I became invested in the different characters and the development of the plot.
Julia as a character is facing many changes in life while people don’t fully understand how to communicate with her in her new school. I appreciated the exploration of a Deaf character and how she interpreted the world. I appreciated how the dialogue was done in such a way that the reader could understand that Julia doesn’t always catch every word someone says when she is lipreading. The concept of sign language and a name sign and how the Deaf community is something they take pride in, it is who they are, is explained within this novel.
I appreciated how being Deaf did not make up all of Julia’s character. Art makes up a big part of Julia’s life, it is a way to express herself. The illustrations of Julia’s art and different sign language was an addition to this book that only brought more to the story and engaged the reader on a deeper level.
I enjoyed Dianne’s (YP) character. She is a girl at Julia’s new school who befriends Julia. Julia nicknames her YP, for the Yoga Pants she always wears. YP is her own character with her own complexities and the two characters complement each other perfectly.
This diverse book was a breath of fresh air. The examination of a Deaf character and self-expression through Graffiti were elements I enjoyed. The limited romance in the novel only promoted the journey Julia made through the novel.
Keep Calm and Read On,