Book Reviews, Books

Book Review: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Author: Paula Stokes (Twitter | Website)
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Publication House: HarperTeen




Maguire is bad luck.

No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time the rollercoaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.

It’s safest for Maguire to hide out in her room, where she can cause less damage and avoid meeting new people who she could hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star. Jordy is confident, talented, and lucky, and he’s convinced he can help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away is harder than she thought.

From author Paula Stokes comes a funny and poignant novel about accepting the past, embracing the future, and learning to make your own luck.

Purchasing Links: AMAZON | B&N | iBooks




Girl Against the Universe presented a unique story line and conflict which revolves around a girl named Maguire, thinking that the universe is conspiring against her. She firmly believes that she is cursed (because of several events that happened to her in the past) and performs all kinds of rituals to somewhat secure her luck and the people around her. See? I think, this is the first time that I’ve read something with this concept of luck. But mainly it delves into a certain mental illness/fear yet how the book was written gives off an air of lightness to it. It was actually a fun read. Maguire’s thoughts and logic were very easy to get into and I immensely enjoyed reading through it. I could’ve read this book in one sitting if only I had the time to do so.

GATU’s strongest points lie on how the book showcased family, friendship, relationships and Maguire’s self-journey. Every single one of those aspects that I’ve mentioned affected and aided the book to be shaped into perfection and for Maguire’s character to develop through its course. This book has one of the most realistic situations when it comes to dealing with deaths and someone stepping in as a step-dad. Her mother was very realistic. It was something that I expected from a person who encountered losing her husband and son. But you better watch out for Maguire and her step-dad’s interaction in this. I love the points that he raised on how someone being in his shoes thinks and feels like. I got all choked up. Being a step-dad is surely a tough position to be in. There’s one scene with the two of them that really stood out for me and which I consider as my favourite. It was realistic, adorable, definitely tugged at my heartstrings and made me want to hug his character.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s also a romance aspect in this story (Hello, Jordy!) but I love how it kind of took a back seat and was portrayed as something that encourages Maguire to do things that she normally wouldn’t do. It wasn’t like that typical distraction and overpowers the thoughts of the character. I also love the slow burn passion between Maguire and Jordy. They were just so cute, being helpful towards each other and figuring on how things work for the both of them. Oh another favorite of mine is how this book included a sport (which is tennis, yay for me!) in its story line and ultimately became a way for Maguire and Jordy to bond. It didn’t just brush up tennis but instead it feels very authentic with all the practices, games, moves and terminologies.

I tell you, there were times that my heart was pounding a bit faster than the normal because of the situations our dear characters were in. It made me feel like I was Maguire and I’m in the same situation as her. I was nervous. It affected me all too much. I was worried towards her reactions on things that she’ll be trying out. But the good thing was that Jordy and her new found friends were there. She’s very lucky to have them as her friends (vice-versa) and some sort of a source for her strength. They were able to understand her and even cheered her on. I was cheering her on too. In my room. I want her to succeed.

Reading the book page after page and seeing how she’s now overcoming her illness, there was this sense of empowerment that washed over me. If she could do all those things, then I’m pretty sure I could also do things that I’m weary about. Girl Against the Universe had me worrying, hoping, giggling, swooning and just about learning and realizing more about how life works. It was definitely a pleasure to read her journey and I’d love to recommend this book to you, guys! Go hunt this book down!



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