Release date: March 7th 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.
It didn’t take me long to fall in love with this book. The way Julia(and Whitney) described how Julia felt when seeing or creating art was easily relatable and I found myself getting pulled into her world, her passion. The book had great moments between Julia and her moms, Julia and her new friend YP, and Julia and her former best friend.
Julia was an amazing character. She didn’t always make the best decisions, was often impulsive, and could be quick to judge but she was also passionate about the things and the people she cared for, had a great sense of humour, and just had a great voice to read. The way she described her connection to her art, how it was such a huge part of her identity, was really well done. I loved her interactions with her moms, obviously loving but a definite divide in understanding between them. Her friendship with YP was wonderful as she tried to fight against becoming friends but failed.
Julia being Deaf was a huge part of the story without being the main focus. The main plot was a coming of age, self discovery journey Julia went on after being expelled and put in a mainstream school as well as having to deal with her moms knowing about her graffiti. She also had an interpreter with her while she was at school to help her follow along in her classes and the dynamic between them was really interesting. Casey seemed to want to look out for Julia in ways an older sister would while Julia wanted her to simply interpret and stay out of her private life.
Art played another huge part in the book. Julia was an artist and she needed to create. I loved seeing the art class debate about graffiti versus vandalism and other art topics. The graffiti war, the tagging, the message boards Julia was a member of, how angry she would get that some other artist added to her pieces, it was all so great. It was the type of book that’s going to have me looking closer next time I pass an area with graffiti on it.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.