You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P.

You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P. 256p. Scholastic. Sept. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545956246.
OrangeReviewStarGr 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.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing