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You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P!

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Jilly thinks she's figured out how life works. But when her sister Emma is born Deaf, she realizes how much she still has to learn. A big fantasy reader, Jilly connects with another fan, Derek, who is a Deaf Black ASL user. She goes to Derek for advice but doesn't always know the best way to ask for it and makes some mistakes along the way. Jilly has to step back to learn Jilly thinks she's figured out how life works. But when her sister Emma is born Deaf, she realizes how much she still has to learn. A big fantasy reader, Jilly connects with another fan, Derek, who is a Deaf Black ASL user. She goes to Derek for advice but doesn't always know the best way to ask for it and makes some mistakes along the way. Jilly has to step back to learn to be an ally, a sister, and a friend, understanding that life works in different ways for different people, and that being open to change can make you change in the best possible ways.


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Jilly thinks she's figured out how life works. But when her sister Emma is born Deaf, she realizes how much she still has to learn. A big fantasy reader, Jilly connects with another fan, Derek, who is a Deaf Black ASL user. She goes to Derek for advice but doesn't always know the best way to ask for it and makes some mistakes along the way. Jilly has to step back to learn Jilly thinks she's figured out how life works. But when her sister Emma is born Deaf, she realizes how much she still has to learn. A big fantasy reader, Jilly connects with another fan, Derek, who is a Deaf Black ASL user. She goes to Derek for advice but doesn't always know the best way to ask for it and makes some mistakes along the way. Jilly has to step back to learn to be an ally, a sister, and a friend, understanding that life works in different ways for different people, and that being open to change can make you change in the best possible ways.

30 review for You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P!

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    (I read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I discuss the content of the book, so my review contains spoilers.) As a writer, Alex Gino doesn’t know how to play it safe. In their debut middle grade (MG) novel, George, the protagonist is a transgender girl who wants to be Charlotte in a play of Charlotte’s Web, so everyone can see who she is, once and for all. The book, which has reached so many young readers, continues to be a lightning rod for queer oppression and censorship. https://www.s (I read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I discuss the content of the book, so my review contains spoilers.) As a writer, Alex Gino doesn’t know how to play it safe. In their debut middle grade (MG) novel, George, the protagonist is a transgender girl who wants to be Charlotte in a play of Charlotte’s Web, so everyone can see who she is, once and for all. The book, which has reached so many young readers, continues to be a lightning rod for queer oppression and censorship. https://www.slj.com/2018/05/opinion/l... In a recent presentation to the Association of Children’s Librarians, Gino stated (I’m using auto-captions): “That’s why I write for the future. That’s why I write kids’ books, so the next generation of people have more of a range of seeing what’s in the world.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuoWy... Flash forward to this month: May 2018. During Deaf Awareness Week, I have twice read the ARC of Gino’s new MG novel, to be released in September. It is titled You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! And it’s marvelous. It is brilliant and funny and topical and timeless—and not safe. From the first page of chapter one, we are introduced to Jilly’s life and the themes that will weave together masterfully throughout the book. Jilly and her family are white and hearing. Jilly’s mom (or J.M., in the book’s ‘initialisms’) is pregnant with a second daughter. Jilly and her parents are in their living room watching TV, when the news come on that a fifteen-year-old Black girl has been fatally shot by the police following an undescribed ‘incident.’ “Again?” Dad says. “This world gets scarier and scarier.” “No kidding,” says Mom. “Dad shuts off the TV and turns to me, wiping the concern from his face as quickly as the image on the screen disappears. As if it didn’t happen if we don’t mention it.” Jilly goes up her bedroom and logs into a fan site for her favorite fantasy book series, the Magically Mysterious Vidalia trilogy. Jilly and the other under-14 fans engage in text-like fandom specific banter. But life often leaks in. Especially in the form of profoundinoaktown, who does not wipe away the fact that he is Black and Deaf. He’s forthright and nervy; and Jilly thinks she may have a crush on him. When J.M gives birth to baby Emma it becomes quickly apparent that child is at the very least hard of hearing. J.M and J.D. are sullen for a period as they retest the baby and seek professional help. As Jilly’s best friend Macy explains to her, “I mean, they were expecting to have another kid who can hear and everything, and now they have to get used to the idea that they don’t.” This notion of parents ‘mourning the death of a perfect child’ when they have a Deaf or disabled child is not one I’m fond of, but many people will identify with it and it may help children understand their parents’ behavior in such circumstances. Especially if the period is temporary, as it is with Jilly’s parents. I’m more sympathetic to J.M. and J.D. when they consult with Emma’s first audiologist, the appropriately named Dr. Slapp. Dr. Slapp immediately talks hearing aids and getting Emma back on a “normal” track. She introduces the notion of surgery for a cochlear implant (CI) in their first meeting. She is oralism focused. Dr. Slapp discourages Emma’s family from learning American Sign Language. “Unless and until a family decides to go down the road of manual communication, it’s best to focus the child’s attention on spoken language.” None of this is exaggerated. It’s kind of thing that can confuse hearing parents of deaf kids who are not yet aware of their options and trying to do the best for their child. In my experience, audiologists like Dr. Slapp are persuasive and absolute. Gino shows this well. In doing so, they place themselves firmly on the side of Deaf community. That is, people (like me) who identify as culturally Deaf and speak ASL. There are so few MG and YA books that do this, it was stunning and affirming for me to read. I can’t wait to get this book into the hands of the Deaf kids I work with; and the hearing kids too. Jilly finds respite from her parents’ worries at her aunts’ house. Jilly’s Aunt Joanne is married to her Aunt Alicia, who “is Black, with dozens of straight, long locks running down her back.” She is real with Jilly in a way that her parents are not. Aunt Alicia has a young son and daughter from a previous marriage, and, like all Black mothers of Black children, she watches the daily news reports of Black adults and children being killed by law enforcement with intense pain and fear. We aren’t far into the book when we discover that Jilly really doesn’t know *everything*. She has never confronted her white privilege. When Jilly suggests to her Aunt Alicia that “things will be different” when her two cousins grow up, Aunt Alicia doesn’t pull any punches: “That’s a really sweet thought, Jellybean. But we’ve got a long way to go between here and there.” Aunt Alicia tells Jilly to discuss the latest shooting of a young Black man with her family that night. Their responses are uncomfortable and evasive. She also makes missteps online with profound. He is uncomfortable and embarrassed when she excitedly tells him her sister is Deaf in front their Vidalia group. Moving along to a Thanksgiving dinner from hell, which families are certainly experiencing in Trump’s America. Aunt Alicia is confronted with both outspoken racism and microaggressions (“Will you bake us sweet potato pie?”) from her wife’s family. Aunt Alicia rightly storms out. This is a catalyst for Jilly to begin to confront her own privilege and the prejudice of her comfortable white family and community. “If [cousins] Justin and Jamila aren’t safe because they’re Black, does that mean Emma and I are safe because we’re white? I feel weird even thinking that.” Further conversations and confrontations with Aunt Alicia and profound aka Derek grow her mind. By the end of the book, Jilly suggests that her family place a BLACK LIVES MATTER sign on their lawn. “A sign doesn’t save anyone’s life, but it let’s people know we’re thinking about it and that they can too." I’ll pause here to say that there will certainly be people who find this book didactic. Some critics and parents will find this an ‘indoctrination’ of a different kind than George, but equally offensive. But these are crucial issues in children’s day to day lives and there’s no reason they shouldn’t appear in kid lit fiction. In fact, there’s every reason they should. And it needs to happen before YA; kids can't wait that long to see themselves in books. In their excellent back matter, Gino is aware that they have written a book to educate young white readers about their privilege. They write, “especially to Black Deaf readers”: “I hope that you will forgive me for killing two Black youth on the page, and injuring another, for the edification of my white main character. I hope that my choices are worthy of forgiveness.” This is an amazing author’s statement. I cannot speak for hearing Black or Black Deaf readers. But, as a white Deaf reader, I believe that the reader’s trust Gino gained in their more linear first novel will be sustained by many who pick up this multilayered book. How is Gino on ASL and deafness? That’s something I can speak to. I’m going to bullet point a few things. -Derek’s 1st language is ASL. It is not uncommon for someone like us to mix up English spelling and grammar. Gino demonstrates this but doesn’t labor over it in a way that would make the Deaf seem illiterate. -I held my breath during the discussions about name signs. This is a highly important tradition in Deaf culture, and Gino honors it. When Jilly creates a name sign for Emma: “profoundinoaktown: you’re not Deaf. JillyP: So? profoundinoaktown: so, name signs come from Deaf people. that’s just how it works. it’s one of the perks.” I hope this will prevent hearing readers from making up their own name signs. Not to mention hearing teachers, who should never assign that as a book-related task. Gino knows enough about the playfulness of ASL to know that certain name signs are built-in, so to speak. Like Vidalia=onion. -Derek references the history of Deaf oppression; specifically, that ASL has been forbidden to so many. “profoundinoaktown: oralism is back. as if hanging around hearing people is going to make me hearing or something…I mean, it’s not the same as it was…there aren’t asylums or anything anymore…and Deaf people have always found a way to sign with each other.” This is Gino’s family history. From the back matter: “My father’s parents were Deaf and my grandfather co-founded the Staten Island Deaf Club. I spent many weekend evenings surrounded by Deaf and HOH folks…the music pumping heavy enough to shake the floor.” -Many hearing authors who write Deaf characters are strictly anti-CI. As if they are politically righteous and in-the-know. Gino knows it’s more complicated. It’s helpful for some people and not others. I appreciate that, since the majority of D/deaf/HOH kids and teens I work with have CIs. Many of them (including native signers) use them as tools to acquire language rather than as a cure. Alienating them as readers is cruel and senseless. Jilly makes lots of mistakes, big and small. Aunt Alicia tells her: “Jillybean, if I gave up on people when they made mistakes, I’d be lonely. Real lonely.” While this book is a roadmap for kids to understand injustices or “the range of what’s around them in the world,” and strive to get it right. It also recognizes that they’ll make mistakes and hurt people, but that shouldn’t stop them from asking questions and engaging in hard discussions. If that isn’t a hopeful message for young readers, I don’t know what is. There is a paucity of Deaf #ownvoices. There were moments while I was reading this book that I despaired. For example, it hurts me that a hearing author is going to be the first writer to explain name signs to hearing readers. For all Gino’s research and sensitivity, there is still a wide space between us. Just like there is a wide space between Jilly and Derek on Maeve Norton’s excellent book cover. A cover that is as plain and identifiable as the one for George. Gino’s prose is plain (with some nice flourishes, like the ‘everything’ on the cover) and identifiable too. They are growing as a writer, and that’s always exciting to witness. This isn’t an author who has written a couple of remarkable books and will rest on their laurels. It’s someone who will keep making fearless leaps that earn them loyal readers. The Deaf #ownvoices that exist (including me) are largely white women. The need for BIPOC Deaf #ownvoices is intense. This is the first book I know of since Jacqueline Woodson’s Feathers (2007) to feature a significant Black Deaf character. Black ASL and Black Deaf culture are historically and contemporary rich traditions. There are so many stories to be told that will entertain and change people’s perspectives. What are the obstacles unique to Black Deaf writers in English and ASL? How can we help them publish their stories, and gain recognition and have careers? These are questions I keep asking myself. I am also asking publishers and white hearing authors who benefit from telling their stories. In the Vidalia community, white hearing Crytaline says: “oh. double whammy…I just mean that’s a lot to deal with. Deaf AND black.” Gino perhaps serves their readers (and characters) best by showing that Derek’s blackness and deafness are indivisible; they make him a whole person. This is what's actually meant by 'intersectionality.' I HIGHLY RECOMMEND You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! *One of Gino’s Black Deaf sensitivity readers, Ayisha Knight-Shaw, demonstrates the name sign she gave Derek. http://www.alexgino.com/jillyp/ Note: Gino uses the verb 'to use' to describe those native and fluent in ASL. I prefer to say I 'speak' ASL, just as I speak English. That may seem contradictory to some, but I feel it creates parity between my two languages.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laura Gardner

    Thanks to @scholasticinc for the free book! ~*~*~*~*~* ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 for this thought-provoking MG book by #alexgino ~*~*~*~*~* Jilly (white, hearing) is introduced to the complexities of the Deaf community, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement in this moving coming of age story by the author of GEORGE. ~*~*~*~*~* YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING, JILLY P sucked me right in and never let me go. Here’s why I loved it: ❤ ~*~* honest conversations like the ones between Jilly and her Black Aunt Alicia (her Aunt J Thanks to @scholasticinc for the free book! ~*~*~*~*~* ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for this thought-provoking MG book by #alexgino ~*~*~*~*~* Jilly (white, hearing) is introduced to the complexities of the Deaf community, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement in this moving coming of age story by the author of GEORGE. ~*~*~*~*~* YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING, JILLY P sucked me right in and never let me go. Here’s why I loved it: ❤️ ~*~* honest conversations like the ones between Jilly and her Black Aunt Alicia (her Aunt Joanne’s wife) about racism and how to stand up for others ❤️ ~*~* students will learn a lot about the debate over cochlear implants in the Deaf community—is it a tool or a cure? So fascinating. Jilly’s friend Derek (who is Deaf) schools her...and the reader in Deaf culture and ASL rules. ❤️ ~*~*the title. It gets right to the heart of things. The realization that you don’t know everything and you’re bound to make mistakes and offend someone is tough, but oh so real. Jilly learns it’s inevitable to make mistakes “the hard thing about accidentally saying the wrong thing is that you don’t know it’s the wrong thing until you already said it and hurt someone. And even if you didn’t mean it that way, you can’t take it back.” 😢 ❤️ ~*~*Alex Gino does an excellent job explaining the damage of microaggressions, as well as the responsibility white people have to speak up when they witness those. The afterword is a beautifully written explanation of how Gino came to write this book, including the sensitivity readers he sought out.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Steckert

    Very ambitious book. Strong representation of deaf community (my daughter is hearing impaired) but missed the mark on the racial issues. Dialogue came off as preachy and disingenuous. It is hard to top George but the lessons are lost in the obvious and predicatable plot.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kate Olson

    Thx to @kidlitexchange for this review copy! . Still struggling with long typing sessions so I’ll sum this one up with a list: • incredibly important messages re: inclusion/race/Deaf community/ASL/police brutality/microagressions • middle grade with a message for ALL • one of my top MG reads of 2018 and one of my very shortlist of top books of Fall 2018. If you read MG, teach MG, parent MG, librarian MG, this book needs to be on your radar.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Robin Stevens

    A sweet, earnest book about a girl struggling to understand the world around her. (8+) *Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. If you use it in any marketing material, online or anywhere on a published book without asking permission from me first, I will ask you to remove that use immediately. Thank you!*

  6. 5 out of 5

    Avery (Book Deviant)

    thank you Miss Print for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!! i loved this one as much as i loved GEORGE. alex gino is writing intense and badly needed MG books for the next generation. full review to come!!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Akoss

    @Kidlitexchange #partner - I received a copy of this book from the Kidlitexchange network in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Releases 9/25/18 Jilly P is observant and likes to think of herself as a problem solver. When a challenge arises, Jilly P will meet it all the way. After the joyful birth of her baby sister is quickly eclipsed by unforeseen challenges, Jilly P takes matters into her own hands to adapt and bring her family up to speed when it comes to the Deaf communit @Kidlitexchange #partner - I received a copy of this book from the Kidlitexchange network in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Releases 9/25/18 Jilly P is observant and likes to think of herself as a problem solver. When a challenge arises, Jilly P will meet it all the way. After the joyful birth of her baby sister is quickly eclipsed by unforeseen challenges, Jilly P takes matters into her own hands to adapt and bring her family up to speed when it comes to the Deaf community. This book is so much more than my summary. Jilly P’s family is diverse and that aspect adds such a vast range of social commentary (Black Lives Matter, LGBTQIA, etc…) to this book I was not expecting. I believe race issues were handled realistically and the character of Aunt Alicia was well rounded. I was worried she would’ve been written to “preach to white people about Black issues”. Young readers will walk away from this book with a lot to discuss and think about but the one that stood out to me the most was that people make mistakes. How they react from that can change the world if they aren’t afraid of learning from their mistakes and do better. I love Jilly P so much. She knows what she wants and doesn’t want. She is also open-minded and doesn’t let the fear of uncertainty (or other) get in the way of things she wants to accomplish. If we all take a page from her book, we can make the world a better place for marginalized communities with small but impactful daily acts.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Kahn

    This book, Alex Gino's sophomore effort, has a lesson or two to teach and it feels like it, especially at the beginning. That said, they are very important lessons - about white privilege, microaggressions, racism, ableism and assumptions. During the first part of the book, I confess to being annoyed at the overly simplistic way Jilly P. spoke. She does sound younger than the typical seventh-grader. (I'm a middle school librarian) I did flip to the back to read the author's note as I contemplate This book, Alex Gino's sophomore effort, has a lesson or two to teach and it feels like it, especially at the beginning. That said, they are very important lessons - about white privilege, microaggressions, racism, ableism and assumptions. During the first part of the book, I confess to being annoyed at the overly simplistic way Jilly P. spoke. She does sound younger than the typical seventh-grader. (I'm a middle school librarian) I did flip to the back to read the author's note as I contemplated setting it aside. I'm glad I did. I returned to the narrative and slowly became immersed in the story. Jilly P. owns her mistakes and bravely confronts the racism that exists in her extended family. She also eventually chides her not-racist parents for not talking about racism. There's warmth and humor to soften the tougher parts of the book. This is a brave, important book that would help adults start conversations with the young people they care about. Thoughtful adults and young people will identify their own privilege and hopefully work to change minds and raise consciousnesses.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    I devoured Jilly P in just a few hours, and I think that this book is going to be another game changer in middle grade literature. Jilly, white and hearing, looks in from the outside at both the big and small ways that Deaf people are discriminated against after her family discovers her newborn sister is Deaf, as well as the discrimination of black people, like her Aunt Alicia and her cousins. Her online friend is both Deaf and black. Between all these people, Jilly's world opens up wide. She is I devoured Jilly P in just a few hours, and I think that this book is going to be another game changer in middle grade literature. Jilly, white and hearing, looks in from the outside at both the big and small ways that Deaf people are discriminated against after her family discovers her newborn sister is Deaf, as well as the discrimination of black people, like her Aunt Alicia and her cousins. Her online friend is both Deaf and black. Between all these people, Jilly's world opens up wide. She is determined to learn from her mistakes as she tries to understand, and stand up to life's bullies, even the adults she holds dear. Heavy at times, but full of love, learning, and acceptance. Much like Gino's last novel, George, this is another essential and current book that readers of today, at any age, need to have on their list.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Jillian is experiencing growing pains in the form of life lessons. Her new baby sister was born deaf and she is dealing with some racial tensions in her family as well as in a newly forming friendship. While this is a book written for kids, Gino is very open that it "is consciously written for white people as a catalyst to talk about modern racism and police violence in the United States," as they stated in the author's note at the end. The part of the book that especially spoke to me was the te Jillian is experiencing growing pains in the form of life lessons. Her new baby sister was born deaf and she is dealing with some racial tensions in her family as well as in a newly forming friendship. While this is a book written for kids, Gino is very open that it "is consciously written for white people as a catalyst to talk about modern racism and police violence in the United States," as they stated in the author's note at the end. The part of the book that especially spoke to me was the tension-filled Thanksgiving dinner where Jilly is saddened to learn that some of her family members are racist. That was such a palpable moment in the story. If I had one criticism of the book is that it's as subtle as a sledgehammer in addressing political issues, to the point where it feels a bit didactic in places. But the book has lovable characters and its greatest strength is that it models the necessity for white people to talk about race and in order to do that, we need to get uncomfortable and recognize that we're going to screw up. But doing and saying nothing speaks just as loudly as saying something offensive.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Samadhi

    This is a great book that I think is best for people in grades 4-8. You don't know everything Jilly P! by Alex Gino is about a girl name Jilly who has a baby sister named Emma who was recently born deaf. She realizes that the world is going to treat Emma different than her and that the world is going to treat her two black cousins (she is Caucasian) different than her. To learn how to deal with it she talks to a boy online who is black and deaf about his experiences and just life. Follow Jilly a This is a great book that I think is best for people in grades 4-8. You don't know everything Jilly P! by Alex Gino is about a girl name Jilly who has a baby sister named Emma who was recently born deaf. She realizes that the world is going to treat Emma different than her and that the world is going to treat her two black cousins (she is Caucasian) different than her. To learn how to deal with it she talks to a boy online who is black and deaf about his experiences and just life. Follow Jilly as she navigates everything from racism in her family to innocent people getting shot. The only reason that I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars is that even though Jilly was 12 years old, she kind of sounded like a 5th grader. Overall it was a Great book!!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mary Thomas

    Thank you to the publisher, scholastic, for a free review copy. This will be an important addition to 4th grade classrooms & up, especially for white students. Gino masterfully weaves so much into one story- racism, black lives matter, the deaf community... I learned a lot! Excited to hand this to students in the fall. I knocked off one star, because the voice of the character felt a little young (she is supposed to be in 7th grade but read more like a fifth grader to me). All in all an impo Thank you to the publisher, scholastic, for a free review copy. This will be an important addition to 4th grade classrooms & up, especially for white students. Gino masterfully weaves so much into one story- racism, black lives matter, the deaf community... I learned a lot! Excited to hand this to students in the fall. I knocked off one star, because the voice of the character felt a little young (she is supposed to be in 7th grade but read more like a fifth grader to me). All in all an important and timely book!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A thoughtfully written book on a necessary topic analyzing privilege from being hearing and white and a child, Jilly P, seeking answers but really on a path to do better and understand more. There's no real resolutions here but the pathway to the steady work involved. JILLY P! doesn't talk down to nor preach to kids but engages them on the reality faced by many in marginalized communities. And Gino seeks to tread in a real and considerate way while never losing humor or heart. Very excited to se A thoughtfully written book on a necessary topic analyzing privilege from being hearing and white and a child, Jilly P, seeking answers but really on a path to do better and understand more. There's no real resolutions here but the pathway to the steady work involved. JILLY P! doesn't talk down to nor preach to kids but engages them on the reality faced by many in marginalized communities. And Gino seeks to tread in a real and considerate way while never losing humor or heart. Very excited to see Alex talk more about this book and see how this engages with various communities.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Laurie Balderson

    Had to read it to review for a magazine. Absolutely one of the worst books I’ve ever read. Basic plot: young protagonist learns to adjust her thinking after sister is born deaf; all cops and white people are bad.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    @kidlitexchange #partner Thanks to @scholasticpress for sharing this review copy with #kidlitexchange. All opinions are my own. This #middlegrade book was AMAZING y’all! Alex Gino has knocked it out of the park (once again) with YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING, JILLY P! Important and timely topics include racism (both overt and microaggressions), white privilege, Deaf culture, and police brutality and WOW do they know how to talk about these tough things! I love how Jilly wants and tries to do the righ @kidlitexchange #partner Thanks to @scholasticpress for sharing this review copy with #kidlitexchange. All opinions are my own. This #middlegrade book was AMAZING y’all! Alex Gino has knocked it out of the park (once again) with YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING, JILLY P! Important and timely topics include racism (both overt and microaggressions), white privilege, Deaf culture, and police brutality and WOW do they know how to talk about these tough things! I love how Jilly wants and tries to do the right thing and ends up making mistakes…AND THEN KEEPS TRYING! Because that’s what everyone should do – if you don’t know something – ASK! And LISTEN. And then try not to keep making the same mistakes… Jilly P. is excited for the upcoming birth of her baby sister, but her world is rocked when Emma is born Deaf. Jilly turns to her online friend Derek, who is both Deaf and Black, for guidance, but ends up making mistake after mistake. Jilly wants to be a good big sister, a good daughter, and a good friend, but she just doesn’t always know the right thing to so, or how to say what she’s thinking. She quickly learns that the world is going to treat her, a white, hearing girl, differently from her Deaf sister, just as it will treat them both differently from their Black cousins. Thankfully, through trial and error, and some great support from her family (Aunt Alicia is a phenomenal character), Jilly learns that NOT having all the answers is ok, and that sometimes listening to others’ perspectives and experiences is the best way to learn, grow, and be a good friend. This one will stick with me. I learned SO much in these 234 pages, and I did not want it to end! Alex Gino addresses absolutely crucial topics. They do not shy away from the hard truths, yet leave the reader feeling confident that by talking about them honestly, we at least have a chance to change things. I can’t recommend this one enough (and GEORGE, too, for anyone who hasn’t read it)!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    “The hard thing about accidentally saying the wrong thing is that you don’t know it’s the wrong thing until you have already said it and hurt someone.” (166) Jilly P’s baby sister is born Deaf. Through talks with her fantasy chat room peers, especially her new friend Dereck, a young Deaf Black adolescent, Jilly learns that she has many misconceptions about the Deaf and about racism. And that some of her well-meaning comments and questions are hurtful. At a Thanksgiving dinner with her aunt’s wife “The hard thing about accidentally saying the wrong thing is that you don’t know it’s the wrong thing until you have already said it and hurt someone.” (166) Jilly P’s baby sister is born Deaf. Through talks with her fantasy chat room peers, especially her new friend Dereck, a young Deaf Black adolescent, Jilly learns that she has many misconceptions about the Deaf and about racism. And that some of her well-meaning comments and questions are hurtful. At a Thanksgiving dinner with her aunt’s wife, who is Black, she learns that racist attitudes are still alive—even within her own family members. When a Deaf Black female—an Honors high school student—is shot running away from the police, having not heard and heeded their call to stop, Jilly observes, “Derek’s right. It doesn’t matter whether Jessica was wearing hearing aids. It doesn’t matter whether she was out late at night. She should have been safe….Everyone should be safe. But they’re not. Especially people who are Deaf. Or Black. Or both.” (202) Jilly’s story was written by author Alex Gino to “help white readers learn a bit more about their privilege and how to support marginalized people in their lives.” (Author’s Note) Jilly recognizes, “I’ve learned that what you say matters, and that you can hurt people even when you don’t mean to. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to help someone start a rough conversation, even if that person is an adult. Even if those people are your parents. I’ve learned that racism is still around today….And I’ve learned there’s no such thing as being done with learning.” (215)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Neha Thakkar

    Jilly IS nice and IS kind, and still makes others angry and upset. Her family is educated and supportive, and present. But Jilly still has problems, she’s learning about being deaf as her baby sister is deaf. She is learning more about African Americans as her aunt is African American and her cousins are half African American as well. Jilly sees her extended family in new lights as their reactions show her that not all is black and white. What seems “nice” can be hurtful in layers (or as micro a Jilly IS nice and IS kind, and still makes others angry and upset. Her family is educated and supportive, and present. But Jilly still has problems, she’s learning about being deaf as her baby sister is deaf. She is learning more about African Americans as her aunt is African American and her cousins are half African American as well. Jilly sees her extended family in new lights as their reactions show her that not all is black and white. What seems “nice” can be hurtful in layers (or as micro aggressions). This book has so many layers, as does Jilly’s favorite fantasy world, Vidalia (also, just got that connection!). Love. Just pure love. Alex is wonderful at character voice. Their writing captures a child’s thoughts and feelings. Their writing also makes you think about your thoughts and feelings, and how you see and interact with your world. I loved George, and I’m excited to share this one with my students too. Thank you for an excellent book that touches on so many “hard” topics, that so many of our kids live through every day. Yes, it is hard, yes, it is uncomfortable, but by ignoring it, it’s not making it go away. Like Aunt Alicia tells Jilly, “so keep talking and keep asking questions.”

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Nixon

    Great YA book that lightly covers issues of race, white privilege, ASL/hearing loss and society attitudes around "disability" If you're looking for substance on those issues, this isn't the book for you (try The Hate U Give). While the coverage of the issues presented here IS thought-provoking (packed with a punch) it is mostly superficial and light, which I suspect was due to the tender age of the narrator. OR maybe the author missed the mark. Nevertheless, I feel the cursory stance was appropri Great YA book that lightly covers issues of race, white privilege, ASL/hearing loss and society attitudes around "disability" If you're looking for substance on those issues, this isn't the book for you (try The Hate U Give). While the coverage of the issues presented here IS thought-provoking (packed with a punch) it is mostly superficial and light, which I suspect was due to the tender age of the narrator. OR maybe the author missed the mark. Nevertheless, I feel the cursory stance was appropriate for the feel of the book. On the negative: I did find it highly unbelievable Alex and Jilly were 13yo 7th graders. If they were freshman/early sophomores, it would be more authentic, though all of YA tends to make teens too "adult-like" (fiction with a capital F). One MASSIVE complaint... OMG (!) Jilly said this one phrase "JPPJ - Jilly Pierelli Peanut Butter & Jelly" 25 times (no exaggeration), sometimes TWICE in the same sentence. I wanted to smash a sandwich in her face by the end. Summary: Jilly is a white, middle-class teenager, who, until now, had been living in an idyllic bubble, but is soon awakened to the racial issues in her community, country, and family as well as the ASL/hearing loss communities and how many deaf do not see themselves as disabled but gifted.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa (splitreads)

    Alex Gino, as they say in the acknowledgments, writes books with the hopes that they will foster discussions between children and caregivers. I love that mentality and the ideas Gino writes about. In You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P!, we are introduced to Deaf culture; I don't know the last time I read a book that features the Deaf community (and I did learn a lot in that regard). We are also introduced to #BlackLivesMatter issues. Unfortunately, You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P! suffers from Alex Gino, as they say in the acknowledgments, writes books with the hopes that they will foster discussions between children and caregivers. I love that mentality and the ideas Gino writes about. In You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P!, we are introduced to Deaf culture; I don't know the last time I read a book that features the Deaf community (and I did learn a lot in that regard). We are also introduced to #BlackLivesMatter issues. Unfortunately, You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P! suffers from somewhat flat characters, sometimes preachy messages, and the short page count. I feel like we could've gotten more (and I would've felt more) if I had learned more about the nuances and intricacies of Jilly, her family, and friends.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    I respect Alex Gino and what they are trying to do here - simultaneously tackle the tricky topics of being Deaf and Black. Their mission, as stated in the author's note, was to provide white readers a resource to learn and I absolutely believe books are the best outlet to making this a reality. However, this felt really disjointed to me and I wish one big topic had been chosen to dive into, instead of skimming the surface of two opposing topics. Still, I learned some new things about being Deaf I respect Alex Gino and what they are trying to do here - simultaneously tackle the tricky topics of being Deaf and Black. Their mission, as stated in the author's note, was to provide white readers a resource to learn and I absolutely believe books are the best outlet to making this a reality. However, this felt really disjointed to me and I wish one big topic had been chosen to dive into, instead of skimming the surface of two opposing topics. Still, I learned some new things about being Deaf and anytime something new is learned, the time spent reading is worthwhile.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Misti

    Jilly P thinks she knows a few things about interacting with people who are Black and Deaf -- she has Black family members, and a Black, Deaf online friend. But when her baby sister is born Deaf, she finds she still has a lot to learn about that, and about other things happening in the world as well. This was a good, quick read, with great characters. It's didactic in spots, but the author's note makes it clear that it was written with didactic intent. I thought it was interesting that Jilly and Jilly P thinks she knows a few things about interacting with people who are Black and Deaf -- she has Black family members, and a Black, Deaf online friend. But when her baby sister is born Deaf, she finds she still has a lot to learn about that, and about other things happening in the world as well. This was a good, quick read, with great characters. It's didactic in spots, but the author's note makes it clear that it was written with didactic intent. I thought it was interesting that Jilly and her friend never had to face up to the low-level bullying that they were doing in their chat room, but maybe that's a topic for another book -- after all, everybody in this world still has things to learn.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anniek

    I mostly enjoyed this book, and I think it has a lot of valuable lessons to teach young readers. Even so, it fell a little flat for me. The actual story was often overshadowed by the lessons Gino wanted to teach, making those seem a little forced at times and breaking up the flow of the story. I think the book could have benefitted from being a little longer, and more fleshed out.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    The state of affairs regarding how to talk to people who are different from you and how you will definitely mess it up, but that there is hope if you are honest and keep learning - for middle school trending younger. Talking to kids about microaggressions. It felt heavy handed at times, but I think that only proves how dead on it is. It would make a good conversation starter. Maybe a good book club pick.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    E-ARC from Edelweiss Plus I learned a lot about the Deaf community in this story about family and friendship and being open to learning and growing.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Jilly P's education includes both Deaf culture and white privilege, not to mention being a big sister and trying to interpret initialisms like Y.Y.A. (Yes You Are). The last two are more humorous interludes between the first two. The Deaf subject arises because Jilly's new little sister is born deaf, and how her parents (and the doctors) deal with that - to sign or not, and when signing is ok (like waving vs. name signs), and what about cochlear implants - will be questions most readers have nev Jilly P's education includes both Deaf culture and white privilege, not to mention being a big sister and trying to interpret initialisms like Y.Y.A. (Yes You Are). The last two are more humorous interludes between the first two. The Deaf subject arises because Jilly's new little sister is born deaf, and how her parents (and the doctors) deal with that - to sign or not, and when signing is ok (like waving vs. name signs), and what about cochlear implants - will be questions most readers have never considered. The white privilege parts are done well, given the age group, but I wonder if the combination of both isn't a little much. ARC provided by publisher.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Bookfairs

    The sophomore offering by Alex Gino packs in a LOT of topics. Racism & White Privilege, Able-ism, Deafness/deafness ... Jilly P is a middle school kid who is getting a new baby sister. She is also a big fan of a hot trilogy & she spends time each day on line with other pre-teen fans awaiting the final book release and rehashing details of the 1st two novels. When it looks like her infant sister might be deaf or hard of hearing Jilly turns to her online friend (Derek - who is deaf, black & The sophomore offering by Alex Gino packs in a LOT of topics. Racism & White Privilege, Able-ism, Deafness/deafness ... Jilly P is a middle school kid who is getting a new baby sister. She is also a big fan of a hot trilogy & she spends time each day on line with other pre-teen fans awaiting the final book release and rehashing details of the 1st two novels. When it looks like her infant sister might be deaf or hard of hearing Jilly turns to her online friend (Derek - who is deaf, black & Oakland Proud) for guidance. But sometimes her questions come off like judgments & the new friends work on navigating how to talk about hard subjects. When Dereks' friend & tutor at his school is shot by the police the ability to communicate beyond their own experiences becomes even more complicated. This middle school novel takes a head on look at Race (the author explains that they are specifically writing this book for white kids to be able to start looking at racism & white privilege)- especially around police shootings of black Americans, and deafness/Deafness and the Deaf community relations with the hearing community. There is a good appendix which can encourage deeper exploration & conversation. And despite hitting some very heavy topics - a lot of the book is fun, light & joyful & the characters are captivating.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Edelweiss Plus Jilly's is very excited when her mother finally has her baby sister, Emma, who is adorable, even if she cries a lot. When it turns out that Emma may have some issues with her hearing, it's good that Jilly has a close knit extended family that includes her Aunt Joanne, Joanne's African American wife, Aunt Alicia, and her children Justin and Jamila. She also has a support network in a chat community for the Magically Mysterious Vidalia trilogy, a fantasy series she really E ARC from Edelweiss Plus Jilly's is very excited when her mother finally has her baby sister, Emma, who is adorable, even if she cries a lot. When it turns out that Emma may have some issues with her hearing, it's good that Jilly has a close knit extended family that includes her Aunt Joanne, Joanne's African American wife, Aunt Alicia, and her children Justin and Jamila. She also has a support network in a chat community for the Magically Mysterious Vidalia trilogy, a fantasy series she really likes. One of the other members of the group, Profound, is deaf. He is very politically aware of issues facing the Deaf community as well as the African American community, and often brings Jilly to task when she makes comments that are offensive, even if she doesn't mean them to be. Jilly's parents are not entirely sure how they should proceed with Emma, because they are getting conflicting opinions from the medical professionals they consult. One says they shouldn't even encourage Emma to wave, although some think starting sign language is a good thing. They do have her fitted with hearing aids, and attend an event with families with deaf members in order to learn more. Profound, whose real name is Derek, has invited Jilly to come to the event, and she's glad to meet him in person. It's helpful to her family to learn more, and Derek and Jilly continue to chat online. Thanksgiving and Christmas are difficult for Jilly, because the rest of her extended family are not as welcoming of Joanne and Alicia's family. It doesn't help that there are many incidents in the news about racism, including some that hit very close to home. Jilly must confront her own privilege and speak out when she hears unjust comments, knowing that Emma may face some issues of her own. Strengths: Gino's notes in the back of the book are very helpful, and indicate that while she is not herself deaf, she was raised by deaf parents and has learned sign language. My students are invariably fascinated by sign language but don't really know anything about the Deaf community, so this is a good way to raise their sensitivity. Cochlear implants are discussed at length; I had a student a few years ago who had those as well as an interpreter in class, and this would have been a helpful book to have had.There are other timely social issues as well, and Jilly's warm and supportive immediate family are lovingly portrayed. The online romance is conducted within the bounds of safety, and it's interesting to see how the connection changes when the children meet in person. The cover is very bright and attractive, and does show Derek's hearing aid. How much they have changed since the days of Cece Bell's El Deafo! Weaknesses: It didn't seem quite realistic to me that there was so much tension at the holiday meals, but every family is different. Even my own Uncle Mike is able to reign himself in during brief dinners with my family, which has a variety of different groups represented. Also, the mother baked pies on the day of the holiday to take traveling. I can't say I've even had time to do that! What I really think: Gino states (and this is from the E ARC) that "books and stories are tools for talking about contemporary issues", and this would certainly be helpful in addressing several different ones.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Billie

    Alex Gino has written another heartwarming and heartbreaking story of friendship and family and being different. Through the story of Jilly—whose baby sister Emma is born deaf—and her growing friendship with a boy she meets through the online fandom community for her favorite fantasy series, Gino addresses Black Lives Matter in a way that is sensitive and will make the issues easy to understand for readers. Gino doesn't just address the big issues around BLM, though, but also the daily "casual" Alex Gino has written another heartwarming and heartbreaking story of friendship and family and being different. Through the story of Jilly—whose baby sister Emma is born deaf—and her growing friendship with a boy she meets through the online fandom community for her favorite fantasy series, Gino addresses Black Lives Matter in a way that is sensitive and will make the issues easy to understand for readers. Gino doesn't just address the big issues around BLM, though, but also the daily "casual" racism and microaggressions faced not just by people of color but also by Deaf people and how important it is for those of us who are not members of those communities to listen and learn and get better. But Gino never gets preachy and the lessons imparted to Jilly and, by extension, the reader, always come from a place of love.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laura (bbliophile)

    I loved this book a lot, and it's definitely a very important read. I hope a lot of people will pick it up once it comes out. Full review to come.

  30. 5 out of 5

    American Mensa

    Best Book I Have Read in a Long Time! Jilly Pirillo is a normal 12-year-old girl who loves books, especially the fantasy trilogy, Magically Mysterious Vidalia by B. A. Delacourt. On the official website for the series, De La Court, Jilly has made lots of friends of different ages, genders, skin colors, and disabilities, like deafness. After Jilly’s baby sister, Emma, is born deaf, and meets some of her friends from De La Court in real life, Jilly’s world is flipped upside down. With topics like r Best Book I Have Read in a Long Time! Jilly Pirillo is a normal 12-year-old girl who loves books, especially the fantasy trilogy, Magically Mysterious Vidalia by B. A. Delacourt. On the official website for the series, De La Court, Jilly has made lots of friends of different ages, genders, skin colors, and disabilities, like deafness. After Jilly’s baby sister, Emma, is born deaf, and meets some of her friends from De La Court in real life, Jilly’s world is flipped upside down. With topics like racism and disabilities that separate people from each other, this book tells a fantastic story of how Jilly must adjust to her new life and figure out what she must do now and going forward after making mistakes that offend and hurt people. My favorite character was Jilly. She loves to read, just like me, and has a great personality! Even when things get hard and confusing, she finds a way to push through and resolve it all in the end. She faces many tough challenges, including how to be there for the people she cares about when they need it the most. Jilly represented and symbolized this book from my perspective. She is uplifting, smart, and thoughtful throughout the story. This book has many happy moments, is smart on how it approaches topics and weaves them into the story, and sad at many parts, too. One of this book’s best attributes is how it covers difficult, real life topics that are still going on like racism, LGBTQ+, and how people are viewed differently just because they have a disability. Jilly is Caucasian and hearing, while some of her De La Court friends are African American, deaf, and both. Some of Jilly’s racist family members and other family members, who are accidentally rude, offend her relatives and keep the family apart for special gatherings, even Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas! While these topics are uncomfortable to talk about for a lot of people, the author sheds light on these topics and even gives some ways to solve them and make them easier to talk about, all while telling a page-turning story. I gave this book 5 stars because it was a genuinely well-rounded book and one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I enjoyed reading a different type and genre of book, although I still love comedy, adventure, and mystery. I recommend this book for 11-15 year-olds, as well as adults. This book does have longer words and minor profanity, as well as topics that aren’t as meaningful and easy to understand at younger ages. I even recommended this book to my middle school’s library and the librarian thought it was great! Happy Reading! Review by Brooke Z., Age 11, Delaware Valley Mensa

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