There are no spoilers in this review.
After reading and falling in love with This Is How It Happened, I obviously had some expectations getting into my second Paula Stokes’ book, especially Girl Against The Universe. I saw this book making its way around the blogosphere, back when it was released and I only had heard great things. Expectations were pretty high by this point. Yet I’m thrilled to say that, slowly but surely, Paula Stokes is making her way on my favorite authors’ shelf.
Girl Against The Universe has one main character you will want to root for.
“Once I accepted the fact that I was bad luck, I shied away from group activities. And groups. And activities. I started spending a lot of time in my room, tucked under my covers reading books.”
Maguire, the main character in this story, believes she is bad luck. Bad things happen when she is around: car accidents killing her father, brother and uncle. Roller coasters breaking down, injuring her friends. House set on fire. We follow her story as she tries and get better, as she tries and change her luck, as she really wants to get on a plane to Ireland to meet her late dad’s side of the family.
Maguire is a character I wanted to hug all along. She believes she is at fault for so many bad things happening. She is shy, insecure, unused to get out of her shell. As the story goes on, she grows, gains confidence, friends, slowly overcome her fears and, step by step, with an incredible support of both her friends, family and therapist, makes progress and overall just grows. Without offering a love-cures-everything story OR a mental-illness-can-be-cured story, the author shows us a positive, gorgeous character-growth of Maguire’s character that you will fall in love with.
And side-characters you will fall in love with.
There is an amazing cast of characters surrounding Maguire, making for her an incredible support system as well as a great cast to follow. Jordy, the love interest in this story, was sweet and caring while also facing his own issues. I loved how Paula Stokes tackled with him the difficult question of having two-faces, one you show to the public and another, more personal, more real, remaining hidden.
The friends Maguire is making for herself in this story were pretty amazing, too. I loved how supportive Jade and Penn both were of Maguire’s fears and obstacles she had to overcome, always there to help her and make her smile.
Maguire’s parents were also present and accounted for: I loved seeing how Maguire’s relationship developed with her mother, but most importantly with her stepfather as the story went on.
Girl Against The Universe is realistic as – hell.
“Time doesn’t heal anything. It’s like drinking. The best it can do is help you forget, if you’re lucky.”
The portrayal of Maguire’s issues and slow progress was very realistic – well, as far as I can say, as I am not personally experiencing these kind of issues too much. I found Maguire’s trail of thoughts very vivid as she reminisced accidents, as she imagined everything that could potentially happen. I appreciated deeply how we got to see the way she thought, the way she had to verify everything… then slowly getting better and better.
I loved how her therapy sessions were included in the story and how positively these were shown, as well. Maguire was the master of her own growth in this story – it was not a love-cures-all kind of story, nor was it a story with a happy ending where everything is magically cured. It showed progress, growth, it showed that these kind of things just take time, patience and relapses. It shows how, surrounded by an incredible support system and by her inner strength, Maguire takes progress into her own hands and always, always does her best.
I wish I could write thousand of lines about this book – I think it deserves more, but I also think it’s a book you have to discover for yourself. Incredible character-development and growth, great cast of characters overall you’ll want to root for, a realistic, slow-building romance, a lot of tennis, a bit of wanderlust and rock-climbing, smiles and tears. There are tons of emotions in this book and I’d heavily recommend it for any YA contemporary fan.
Final rating: It’s a hurricane!
Thank you so much to the author for the review copy of the book. This did not, in any way, affect my reading experience and/or my rating.
Trigger warnings: panic attacks. The main character is dealing with PTSD.
Paula Stokes, Girl Against The Universe, Published by HarperTeen, May 17th, 2016.
Sixteen-year-old Maguire knows the universe is against her. No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when she’s around. Like that time the roller coaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch. Despite what her therapist tells her, Maguire thinks it’s best to hide out in her room, far away from anyone she might accidentally hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star who wants to help her break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for him is to stay away, but it turns out staying away may be harder than she thought.
I am thrilled to be giving away ONE physical copy of Girl Against the Universe to one lucky winner! This giveaway is OPEN INTERNATIONALLY.
- You have to be 18 or have your parents’ consent to give our your address.
- The giveaway will run from today, the 19th of January, to the 27th of January, Midnight G.M.T. The winner will be contacted by email shortly afterwards. If the winner fails to answer in 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.
BEST OF LUCK TO EVERYONE! CLICK HERE to enter the giveaway.
Did you read Girl Against The Universe? Do you want to? (YOU should!)
What’s the last 5-stars-book you’ve read? Let me know in comments!