You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P!

You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P!

by Alex Gino


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Alex Gino, the Lambda Literary Award-winning author of George, is back with another sensitive tale based on increasingly relevant social justice issues.

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. The world is going to treat Jilly, who is white and hearing, differently from Emma, just as it will treat them both differently from their Black cousins.

A big fantasy reader, Jilly makes a connection online with another fantasy fan, Derek, who is a Deaf, Black ASL user. She goes to Derek for help with Emma but doesn't always know the best way or time to ask for it.

As she and Derek meet in person, have some really fun conversations, and become friends, Jilly makes some mistakes . . . but comes to understand that it's up to her, not Derek to figure out how to do better next time -- especially when she wants to be there for Derek the most.

Within a world where kids like Derek and Emma aren't assured the same freedom or safety as kids like Jilly, Jilly is starting to learn all the things she doesn't know--and by doing that, she's also working to discover how to support her family and her friends.

With You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P!, award-winning author Alex Gino uses their trademark humor, heart, and humanity to show readers how being open to difference can make you a better person, and how being open to change can make you change in the best possible ways.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

★ 07/23/2018
Twelve-year-old Jilly may know everything there is to know about the characters of Magically Mysterious Vidalia, her favorite book trilogy, but she has a lot to learn about people and dynamics in her own world. In a novel that carries a strong social message, Gino (George) traces the stages of Jilly’s enlightenment across multiple events. As Jilly becomes aware of racially charged microaggressions occurring within her family, and a number of police shootings target black teens, she finds her white parents unwilling to discuss either. Her growing friendship with a black, Deaf boy she meets online (“Big-D Deaf is about community and ASL,” he informs her) aligns temporally with the discovery that her infant sister has a hearing impairment, but she makes mistakes in her enthusiasm to learn about Deaf culture. For the first time, Jilly comes to recognize that people face different challenges—and sees how her own actions can impact situations for better and for worse. If the book’s dialogue sometimes seems to exist in the service of its lessons, its thoughtful handling of characters and dynamics offers fodder for further discussion about privilege in all its forms. As Jilly’s Aunt Alicia says, “Nothing changes if we don’t talk.” Ages 8–12. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary. (Sept.)

From the Publisher

Praise for George:
Winner of the Children's Stonewall Award
Winner of the Lambda Literary Award
A Children's Choice Book Awards Debut Author

* “Profound, moving, and — as Charlotte would say — radiant, this book will stay with anyone lucky enough to find it.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

* “Warm, funny, and inspiring.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* “There is pain in George, but not without the promise of a better tomorrow.” — School Library Journal, starred review
* “George is an appealing, thoroughly believable character and her best friend Kelly adds humor and zest.” — Booklist, starred review

School Library Journal

★ 09/01/2018
Gr 4–6—Gino offers a heartfelt and needed story about white privilege, intent vs. impact, and respecting cultural differences. Jilly Pirillo, a white 12-year-old girl, spends a good deal of time on the De La Court website, a fan fiction site based on her favorite book series. When Jilly learns that her new baby sister, Emma, is Deaf, she immediately thinks of her online friend "profoundinoaktown" (real name Derek), the only other Deaf person she knows. When she excitedly shares the news with him, she's initially disappointed when he seems annoyed and offended ("I didn't realize it was rude to tell him that Emma is Deaf. And I'm still not sure I understand why."). As she gets to know Derek better and begins to learn more about his experiences as a black Deaf boy, she's also witnessing her own family's reckoning with racism. Her Aunt Alicia, a black woman married to her Aunt Joanne, regularly experiences snide comments and assumptions by white family members. Jilly begins to take notice for the first time, slowing seeing how these "microaggressions" are related to recent news reports about black teens being shot by police. Her parents are also in the process of investigating speech therapy and cochlear implants for Emma. Jilly becomes increasingly aware of the very real challenges and dangers faced by people of color and members of the Deaf community—and slowly understands how these oppressive forces can intersect. In her attempts to help, seek advice, and advocate for what she believes is right, Jilly often stumbles and makes mistakes, unintentionally causing offense. Rather than shut down and tune out, Jilly listens and tries again, taking responsibility for her words and actions, and doing better once she knows better. VERDICT Gino's sophomore effort is every bit as affecting and important as their first novel, George. Jilly is a realistic role model, particularly for young white readers, on how to listen with an open heart, build authentic friendships, and use one's privilege for good.—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2018-06-25
Gino's second middle-grade novel shows a well-meaning white girl stumbling through difficult issues with compassion.Twelve-year-old Jilly has a lot going on. She's crushing on Profound, a Deaf black boy she meets in a chat room dedicated to her favorite fantasy series. Her newborn sister might be deaf. Her white parents gloss over news reports of unarmed black youth killed by police, but her aunt Alicia, a black woman married to Jilly's mom's sister, encourages Jilly to not ignore racism. Jilly wants to do the right thing, but that's harder than she realizes. She's excited to talk to Profound about her sister, but he doesn't like being reduced to only one of his identities. She learns to confront microaggressions at family holidays. She wants her parents to embrace having a deaf child but doesn't realize that Deaf culture and identity are more than just learning a few signs. Gino tackles all this and much more with grace, clarity, and thoughtfulness. There are occasional hiccups in the flow and awkward moments, but readers learn a lot along with Jilly and her mistakes in this engrossing and satisfying read. Gino describes their intention in an author's note: "this book is consciously written for white people as a catalyst to talk about modern racism and police violence in the United States" and to teach them "about their privilege and how to support marginalized people in their lives."A necessary and rewarding addition to any middle-grade collection. (Fiction. 8-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780545956253
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 05/05/2020
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 61,074
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

Customer Reviews