Whitney Gardner

Author Illustrator

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You're Welcome, Universe

Winner of the 2018 Schneider Family Book Award

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.

Praise for You’re Welcome, Universe

“[A] spectacular debut…a moving, beautifully written contemporary novel full of quirky art and complicated friendships…this book is a gift to be thankful for.” –BookRiot

“Julia…is a Deaf teen girl who is creative, artistic, and passionate. She can be sulky and vengeful when she feels she has been wronged, but she is also caring and fiercely loyal to the few that she considers friends. And she is an authentic portrayal of deafness.” –DisabilityInKidLit.com

“Fresh and compelling…a satisfying story about trust, forgiveness, hard work, and friendship.” –Publishers Weekly

“Julia’s strong voice and multifaceted background offer an eye-catching glimpse of graffiti culture while introducing deaf culture.” –Kirkus

“This debut novel is a dive into self-discovery for Julia and a compelling, engaging read for a wide variety of teens, including those interested in graffiti and street art. [A] well-told, artsy coming-of-age tale that is also an excellent representation of a Deaf protagonist.” –School Library Journal

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Chaotic Good

Cameron’s cosplay creations are finally starting to earn her attention–attention she hopes to use to get into the CalArts costume design department for college. But after she wins a major competition, she inadvertently sets off a firestorm of angry comments from male fans online.

When Cameron’s family moves the summer before her senior year, she hopes to complete her costume portfolio in peace and quiet away from the abuse.

Unfortunately, the only comic shop in town–her main destination for character reference–is staffed by a dudebro owner who challenges every woman who comes into the shop.

At her twin brother’s suggestion, Cameron borrows a set of his clothes and uses her costuming expertise to waltz into the shop as Boy Cameron, where she’s shocked at how easily she’s accepted into the nerd inner sanctum. Soon, Cameron finds herself drafted into a D&D campaign alongside the jerky shop-owner Brody, friendly (almost flirtatiously so) clerk Wyatt, handsome Lincoln, and her brother Cooper, dragged along for good measure.

But as her “secret identity” gets more and more entrenched, Cameron’s portfolio falls by the wayside–and her feelings for Lincoln threaten to make a complicated situation even more precarious in this geek girl anthem from You’re Welcome, Universe author Whitney Gardner, complete with fully illustrated comic pages.

Praise for Chaotic Good

“Captivating…. A delightfully diverse, feminist, and realistic narrative.” –Booklist

“Rich and overflowing with geek culture, this nerdy homage to She’s the Man slays every mythical stereotype of the ‘fake geek girl’ with wit, charm, and +20 heart. Readers will root for Cam when she goes head-to-head with real-life trolls, and gives courage to ever girl who wants to let her geek flag fly.” –Ashley Poston, author of Geekerella

“Whitney Gardner’s fresh, honest voice lends vulnerable passion to a cast of characters so thoroughly realized that they feel like family. Chaotic Good is a beautifully raw story of the way women craft our armor. Gardner’s prose is as clean as her characters are messy. Chaotic Good is an urgent battlefront correspondence from the fight to exist in an environment that can be more hostile than the surface of an asteroid: geek culture.” – Sarah Gailey, author of River of Teeth

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Fake Blood

A middle schooler comes head-to-head with his vampire slayer crush in this laugh-out-loud funny graphic novel that’s a perfect coming-of-age story for anyone who’s ever felt too young, too small, or too average.

It’s the beginning of the new school year and AJ feels like everyone is changing but him. He hasn’t grown or had any exciting summer adventures like his best friends have. He even has the same crush he’s harbored for years. So AJ decides to take matters into his own hands. But how could a girl like Nia Winters ever like plain vanilla AJ when she only has eyes for vampires?

When AJ and Nia are paired up for a group project on Transylvania, it may be AJ’s chance to win over Nia’s affection by dressing up like the vamp of her dreams. And soon enough he’s got more of Nia’s attention than he bargained for when he learns she’s a slayer.

Now AJ has to worry about self-preservation while also trying to save everyone he cares about from a real-life threat lurking in the shadows of Spoons Middle School.

About

Whitney Gardner is an author, illustrator, and coffee addict. Originally from New York, she studied design and worked as an art teacher and school librarian before moving to Victoria, British Columbia, where she lives by the Salish Sea with her husband and two pugs. In the rare moment Whitney isn’t writing or drawing, she’s likely to be reading comics, knitting, or roasting coffee.

Direct inquiries to Brent Taylor at Triada: brent@triadaus.com