Book Review: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

girl against the universe

Girl Against the Universe

Release date: May 17th 2016

4 stars

Maguire is bad luck. She has good luck charms and good luck rituals but nothing seems to stop bad luck from finding the people around her. She walked away with barely a scratch from an accident that killed her father, brother, and uncle. Through her therapist, she ends up meeting Jordy, an up-and-coming tennis star who has the appointment after her, and they agree to help each other with their therapy homework. Maguire knows it’s just a matter of time before her luck catches up to them and she hurts Jordy, but staying away from him is impossible.

I was really excited for this book since I enjoyed Paula Stokes other two contemporary novels that I read and I loved that this one would include tennis. It’s a sport I don’t see a lot of in books but I like watching it and I was eager to see how much of an impact it would have on the plot.

I felt for Maguire. The poor girl had been through so much and I couldn’t blame her for feeling like she brought bad luck to anyone who got to close to her. She was struggling with survivor’s guilt, PTSD, and OCD, did five-second checks for danger when she entered a room, kept a journal of all the times someone got injured in her presence. What most of us would likely brush off as coincidence, she would fixate on. It was great to see therapy, Jordy, and tennis slowly helping her open up and make friends and trust herself more. It was a slow process but that just made it more believable. Paula Stokes did a great job explaining Maguire’s thought process through her whole journey so her fears and coping mechanisms were understandable and I could see why they made her feel safe.

The book was full of quirky characters that I just loved it. From Maguire’s mother and step-father and two adorable step-siblings, to Jordy’s family, to the other girls on the tennis team, to Maguire’s therapist. Everyone had such distinct personalities that it was easy to tell them apart and I liked that they all had a different role to play in Maguire’s life.

The romance was a nice slow developing one. The attraction was there immediately but they went from strangers to their strange partnership of helping each other to friends to lovers. Jordy and his own growth arc were just as developed as Maguire’s even though the book was told all in Maguire’s POV, so I was really happy to have gotten such a great sense of who Jordy was and what he was dealing with. There was nothing about him that felt flat or underdeveloped. Together, they worked so well and I wanted them to end up as a couple.

The plot was surprisingly light and there were many laugh out loud moments. I was expected something a little darker considering Maguire’s past but Paula Stokes wrote it in such a way that the mental health aspect was taken seriously and didn’t feel diminished by the lightness and the humour.

I would definitely put this book as my favourite Paula Stokes book so far. I’m excited to see what’s next because each new book has bumped the last one down the list.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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5 Comments

Filed under book-related, books, favorite book, reviews, talking books, ya books

5 responses to “Book Review: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

  1. Great review! I’ve been interested in checking this one out because I’ve been hearing such good things!
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

  2. Nice review! I am so excited for this book!

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