Girl Against the Universe by Paula StokesGirl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Girl Against the Universe

byPaula Stokes

Hardcover | May 17, 2016

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From the author of The Art of Lainey and Liars, Inc. comes a fresh, contemporary story about one girl’s tragic past and a boy who convinces her that maybe her luck is about to change. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen or Jenny Han.

Maguire knows she’s 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 her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch. But then on her way out of her therapist’s office, she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star, who wants to help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away, but staying away may be harder than she thought.

Title:Girl Against the UniverseFormat:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.25 inPublished:May 17, 2016Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062379968

ISBN - 13:9780062379962

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved Made You Up (Francesca Zappia)? Read This. I think this book is my favourite Paula Stokes book I've ever read! I mean, I've only read one of her other books, Liars, Inc., which was kind of meh. But I would compared how much I love this book to how much I love Made You Up. (Plus this cover is gorgeous!) Girl Against the Universe is awesome because it's all about accepting that you have little control over your life. The main character, Maguire, has lived her life in fear of hurting others. She believes she is unlucky because she was in a lot of accidents growing up where others were hurt and she was unharmed. But when Maguire goes to therapy and meets a boy, she learns to relinquish control and starts to live again. I think my favourite part of this book was the romance between Maguire and Jordy. Oh my god, they are so cute together! I couldn't stop smiling whenever they talked. I loved that Maguire was superstitious because it meant that I learned a lot about good luck charms of other cultures. I also liked that Maguire's parents were pretty involved in her life and really supportive. Jordy is a competitive tennis player, which is such an awesome character trait. I loved reading the scenes where Jordy was helping Maguire with her tennis playing abilities. I even liked their therapist, who wasn't at all a cringeworthy stereotype that is sometimes seen in YA books. I could see all the scenes in my head like a movie and I loved every second of reading this book. I would highly recommend this contemporary novel for anyone looking for a cute YA romance novel with talk of mental illness (specifically OCD and PTSD).
Date published: 2017-07-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Revew from Giselle at Book Nerd Canada A wonderfully written contemporary story about a teenage girl who suffers from OCD and PTSD from the deaths of her family members. I loved that it showed therapy in such a positive and productive way. What I found most refreshing was that the main character became brave and chose to fix her problems herself. I also just love her friends and her family. And the love interest wasn't too bad either. This was such a positive book and such a quick read!
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Addicting read! 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.
Date published: 2016-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A beautiful, hopeful story Girl Against the Universe encompasses everything I love about contemporary YA: a strong heroine who I easily related to; real-life issues; emphasis on family and friendships; and a romantic relationship that’s impossible not to root for. It also went above and beyond with its realistic portrayal of mental illness and therapy. After a series of incidents where people got hurt or even killed around Maguire, she believes she’s bad luck. She stays away from people and avoids forming attachments because she’s afraid of people getting hurt. When her therapist begins assigning her ‘homework’ so she can work through her fears, things start changing for her and she slowly begins living a more normal, functional life. I loved how this book dealt with mental health, and not only how it affects the person suffering, but also the people around them. It was difficult for Maguire to open up and reveal her fears, but her new friends were understanding and patient. Not everyone gets it; with some people, when you tell them about your issues, they might think you’re crazy or that being around you is too much effort. I’ve suffered from anxiety (particularly social anxiety) and depression for years, and there have been times when I’ve needed a lot of hand holding - I can’t go out on my own, or I depend on whoever’s with me to handle certain situations. I have a small group of trusted people who understand and know when to take charge and when to quietly step back and let me exert some independence. Those parts of the book especially resonated with me because Maguire deserved those friends and deserved to have people who cared for her unconditionally. Nobody wants their own brain to be their worst enemy, but for some people that’s how it is. Maguire’s story was hopeful and inspiring as she learned to overcome years of fears and anxiety. The overall message is one that’s so important, no matter how old you are, or whether you suffer from anxiety or not: bravery comes in all different forms. It isn’t always huge gestures or putting your life in danger or conquering something major. Sometimes it’s opening yourself up to possibilities, letting people in, and taking baby steps. There’s just so much to love about Girl Against the Universe. I enjoyed the tentative relationships Maguire formed, from her therapist to Jordy to her new friends at school and even to her own stepdad. The slow burn romance between Maguire and Jordy was so much fun to watch; the obstacles they had to overcome were realistic and made it easy to believe in them as a couple. Girl Against the Universe is a beautiful story. It’s funny, emotional, romantic, and it left me with an overall hopeful feeling. I laughed and cried, and I felt so proud of Maguire and her growth. I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason, whether you understand the reason or not, and I appreciated that theme in the book, even while Maguire worked hard to change her life and take back what the Universe had taken from her. If you’re looking for great contemporary YA with complex characters, I highly recommend Girl Against the Universe.
Date published: 2016-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this one! Actual Rating: 4.5* I pre-ordered GIRL AGAINST THE UNIVERSE because I had heard such EXCELLENT things about it from some trusted reviewer friends. And there was a great pre-order incentive for some signed swag so that was an added bonus! BUT THE BOOK WAS SO AMAZING THAT I WANT TO BUY IT A BILLION MORE TIMES AND JUST HAND IT OUT TO RANDOM PEOPLE WALKING DOWN THE STREET. The main thing about this one that I liked was that it looked at risk and taking chances and how your mind can play tricks on you but that shouldn't stop you from moving forward. The main reason I wanted to read this one is because it deals with a girl who has a mental illness and is trying to get better. Tick all those boxes and you've got me tbh. Maguire has a traumatic past and this causes her mental illnesses to come to the forefront and as events in her life occur, it just tacks on to what her beliefs are. And while she in theory knows it is a mental illness, that doesn't mean that she still doesn't have problems. So she goes to therapy to get help so she can conquer her fears and really live life. Good aspect #1 of a billion: Positive. Therapy. Depiction. Way too often in media therapy is seen as something "bad" or that the character doesn't actually get help from the therapist because they know themselves so much better or the therapist doesn't really care about the character and is just in it for the money. But that wasn't the case in GATU which I LOVED IT FOR. Maguire's doctor was invested in her life, her goals, and made sure that she was doing things for herself and not just for other people. He helped her take baby steps and larger leaps but was there to support her no matter what -- and even ensured she got in to see him when she had an emergency. POSITIVE THERAPY FTW. Good aspect #2 of a billion: While Maguire and Jordy did things to help one another to be stronger, they were also focused on doing things for themselves. They didn't need to spend 24/7 together or be constantly in touch, they just wanted to do what was best for the other person -- even if it meant some tough decisions for themselves. Maguire and Jordy were supportive of one another, allowed each other to take the steps they needed to cross off their therapy goals, and also pushed each other to do more than they were anticipating. They had such a healthy relationship. I love Maguire and Jordy. Good aspect #3 of a billion: Maguire. She did things for herself, asked her friends for help when needed, and made sure she was doing right by herself. She also grew so much as a character in terms of how she interacted with people and the risks she took, but she had the courage to do so deep down all along. I liked that she knew her limits and didn't push herself -- and that no one forced her to push herself -- but she still was able to do the things she wanted, even if it was really hard. Plus, she realized that not everything is solved in a day and that no matter what she will still have some issues to work out but she KNOWS she can do it now. I cry happy tears for Maguire. I would have liked just a tad bit more from the side characters, especially Kimber. I think she had a good dynamic with Jordy and that Maguire could have spent more time with her to understand her POV. She was kinda added in as a mean character with more depth because she cared about Jordy as a person rather than a player. I also would have liked more Jade and Penn because they were there and involved in Maguire's life and I just wanted more about what made them tick. I LOVED that everyone was super supportive of Maguire and her issues and that no one rolled their eyes or told her to suck it up. I loved how understanding everyone was and that they did what they could to make it easier for both Maguire and Jordy. If you are looking for a book that will lift your spirits up high and make you soar among the clouds, GIRL AGAINST THE UNIVERSE is the book for you. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to buy the rest of Paula Stokes books.
Date published: 2016-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This book has it all! I love this book. I LOVE THIS BOOK. Girl against the universe is about Maguire -- a teenage girl who is convinced she brings bad luck to those around her. Her past seems to corroborate her thinking, like when her father, brother and uncle all died in a car crash and she walked away completely fine. Her mother has her go to a therapist and there she meets Jordy -- a cute, aspiring pro tennis athlete. The novel follows Maguire and her journey through coping with her fears, falling in love and learning that we're all at the mercy of the Universe. Maguire definitely goes on a big self discovery journey in the novel that I really enjoyed being a part of and experiencing with her. Maguire is also a huge book nerd. Apparently she has like 500+ books? I'd love to see her book shelf. She's also really into tennis and I was excited by that because I was like OMG a sport I can understand! (I'm constantly confused by football references in books and in real life). I could definitely see myself being friends with Maguire and her crew. Jordy is adorable. He's an aspiring pro tennis athlete so he doesn't really go to school and instead does it online. He still has to go in for tests and things though. He goes to the same therapist as Maguire and he ends up helping to coach the girls tennis team that Maguire is trying out for. I love how supportive he is in helping Maguire with her therapy goals and really just how their relationship develops. Jordy has a sister named Penn and I definitely got a kick out of that since it also happens to be the name of a tennis brand. I love how therapy is depicted in the novel. The novel is divided into the different sessions that she attends at first until the story evolves out of the therapists office. The therapist explains things to Maguire (and by extension the reader) and in an easy way to understand especially for people who have never been to therapy. The plot definitely has its ups and downs as Maguire goes through the ups and downs of getting better. I was also really invested in Maguire and so I definitely cried at one point. It gave me AALLLL the feels. It was also super cool seeing Pili from In Love With Handmade as a character in the novel!! While this novel is not at all as mysterious and murder-y as Paula's lasts novel, she still casts her word magic over me and has me totally in love with this book. I adore Maguire and Jordy and the chemistry they have together. This book also has so many things -- sports, romance, tragedy, drama, great friendships and of course a journey of self discovery. I love this book and I definitely hope you do too if you decide to pick it up.
Date published: 2016-05-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Universe Says Get Yourself a Copy Already!!! Paula Stokes slays- in a really good way, I promise! Girl Against the Universe deserves all the applauses. This book has everything. Whether it's the heavier side of portraying mental illnesses or the lighter side of giving off cutesy fluffy feels, Paula does it just right. The writing in Girl Against the Universe is really easy to get into. Trust me when I say the pages will fly by when you read it. Paula writes straight into your heart with Maguire's story. It's low on drama with enough conflicts and struggles to keep the story going. There's humour, swoons and of course meaningful resolutions. The story is incredibly well-researched in my opinion. From the medical terminology spoken in Dr. Leed's office to the tennis and rock climbing lingos used in Maguire's new social life, they all felt authentic and logical. Maguire's good luck rituals had me nodding my head. This whole book was so engaging. There's this really great moment in the book where Maguire just gives in and lets go. I could totally relate to that impulse. You know it's probably a bad idea but you can't help but want to do it anyways. Bonus that it's a super swoony moment~ Maguire thinks she's cursed because of a string of heartbreaking events that has happened in her life. Things sucked and I really felt bad for her. Only, she begins to open up and strive for changes when she meets a dazzling cute boy at her therapist's office. Maguire's growth was tremendous. Slowly, she comes to realize that she can't control every thing that happens in her life. The Universe has dealt her some bad cards but it's not out to get her. In order to let go of her fear, she needed to take action. I love that we're with her every step of the way as she knocks down her walls. Jordy is amazing. He's sweet beyond words. I was giddy whenever he was on the page lol. Also, I can't get enough of Maguire and Jordy! They are the cutest. Their banter, the push-and-pull were perfect. The piece of paper Jordy gives Maguire towards the end had me swooning hard. He's definitely the ideal (book) boyfriend! I got to meet Nurse Pili and she is awesome <3 I was also very touched by how supportive Jade and Penn were. Even Kimber surprised me. Can I expect great things from them in the future? Pretty pleaseeee Paula? Girl Against the Universe is a thoughtful engaging read with wonderful characters one must meet. They will for sure teach you a few things but really just make you smile. Yes, the Universe wants you to pick up a copy already ;)
Date published: 2016-05-17

Editorial Reviews

“Absolute perfection. Completely magical. Girl Against the Universe is a poignant, beautiful story.”