Review for Girl Against The Universe by Paula Stokes

Girl Against The Universe by Paul Stokes

TITLE: Girl Against The Universe
AUTHOR: Paula Stokes
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen
PAGES: 400 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 5 bows

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.

You know how there are books that you are desperate to read? Books you’d sell you’re first born child for? This was that book for me. This was the one book slated for release this year that I was most looking forward to. One of the perks for being on the Liars Inc street team was getting to read a small excerpt from this midway through last year. From that point on, this was all I really wanted to read. I know this will sound like bullshit, but that little excerpt put me in a book hangover. I would move on and read other things because I couldn’t just sit and pine over a book that wasn’t even finished yet, but if my mind wondered at all, it went right back to this story. Why wasn’t I reading that story about the bad luck? OH, RIGHT! It’s not out yet. When it was uploaded onto Edelweiss, I promptly downloaded it and devoured it. And then avoided writing this review because words are hard. How do I review a book I loved so intensely? Well, here’s my best attempt!

I sympathized with Maguire almost immediately. It’s easy to see why she believed she was bad luck for everyone around her. With so many bad things that have happened in her past, her belief becomes easy to understand. Even though I’m a relatively logical person who doesn’t necessarily believe in luck, I could completely see where she was coming from. It was more of the fact that she always came out unscathed than anything that really seemed to fuel this notion of bad luck. She just wants to keep everyone around her safe and the easiest way to do that is to refuse to interact with the outside world as much as possible.

This could have easily been a light-hearted novel that doesn’t delve too deep into anything substantial. I would have been fine with reading that, but Paula gives us so much more than that. She goes so much deeper than just a silly girl’s notion that she is bad luck. Maguire has real psychological problems that have to be addressed and dealt with. Maguire’s sessions with her therapist were what hooked me into this story so many months ago and it’s still what stays with me. Watching Maguire work through her problems is both hopeful and heartbreaking. There are so many simple tasks that it takes all her self-control to face. I applaud her for all the work she put in. Recovery from psychological disorders is not easy and it’s something to always be admired.

Then you have the romance, which is the perfect balance of sweet, ansty, and swoony. Jordy’s whole first interaction with Maguire had me shipping them. The way he tries to help her and encourages her just had me melting into a swoony puddle.

Basically, I loved this novel. Love does not even seem like a strong enough word, but it’s all I’ve got. I did’t think Stokes could do better than The Art Of Lainey. I adored that novel, but this one is even better. This novel makes me want to re-read it over and over again. Considering that I very rarely ever re-read anything, that should say it all!

****Thank you to Harper Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

5 bows
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